ROLE OF TEACHERS IN IMPLEMENTING NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY, 2020

By- Aaditya Sinha

There is a film named “Aarakshan” (English: Reservation), although the film was supposed to be on a very controversial and complicated topic of reservation, it became a social commentary on the educational policy of India which is also a very important topic.

In that film, a dialogue actually got stuck with me. The character of Amitabh Bachchan, principal of a private-trust based College said, “WHY DON’T WE HAVE AN I.T.S. (INDIAN TEACHING SERVICE) JUST LIKE AN IPS OR IAS”.

When I heard about “National Educational Policy 2020 (NEP)” recently, I understood that the intention of this education policy is to actually make India’s education a global role model, which we were in ancient times.

We all know that one of the World’s first University was located in Nalanda (Modern day Bihar, India).  After reading and watching some videos on the policy I understood one thing that the policy looks really promising, but for implanting it coherently we need a very adequate system to hire “Teachers”.

Without teachers, the whole idea of NEP will collapse. I mean to be very honest, even the CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) system which was a process of assessment passed by the Right to Education Act (2009) was also very good on paper.

Just think of the idea to have examinations all over the year so that there would be no burden on any student in any exam was a very exemplary idea. However, being a student myself who gave my 10th Boards exam on that basis, I can say that this process was executed in a very flawed manner.

The idea was to make students actively participate whole year and not just “one day before the exam” but it became a system where the idea of having “Knowledge” collapsed, as it was on the teacher to take assignments or projects, and we all know that any assignment which has to be submitted is actually made by just one or two students of a class (Stereotypically girls).

NEP: The requirement of teachers

National educational policy is a policy that is not made at any specific interval in our country. It was first created in 1968 to make a structure of education in our country. It was then again created after nearly 2 decades in 1986 and was modified in 1992 and now in 2020.

So, this has happened only 3 times since our country got independence (and one modification in 1992). In the NEP, the requirements of the teacher are quite clearly mentioned that after consulting with NCERT, there would be a new and comprehensive NCFTE (National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education) that will be made in the year 2021. It is now decided that by the year 2030, only those teachers who have had an education of 4 years integrated B.ED course would be given the position.

NEP 2020: Why NEP has been created in 2020?

One thing which came to my mind after hearing NEP 2020 was that why after almost 3 decades the NEP has been formed again. It could have been done in the early 2000s when our country was emerging as a global market post-liberalization period in our economy.

However, then I got to know that it was in the manifesto of the BJP 2014 election campaign where they talked about the “Improvement of the quality of education” and other things. In 2019 a committee was formed and it got completed in 2020.

In the new education policy, one thing which was widely appreciated was the fact that now “Coding”[1] will be taught from class 6th which currently happens only in either 12th (that too very basic, and not everyone studies Information Practice in the 11th and 12th ) or while going to Engineering colleges.

There also, mostly who are doing their graduations in “B. Tech. (IT or CSE)” learn coding in detail. The reason why the Indian government thought about teaching coding from the elementary school is probably because of the reason that especially post COVID-19 pandemic we have to create a new “Digital space”.

Today we want to pay online, study online, shop online and even go on a date online. Although even before pandemic these things existed, so, indirectly we are doing hard work to study coding and to built apps or software to make our life easy.

In other words, if we want to just pay even an amount of say 1 Lakh from our debit card, we don’t have to go to the bank now, so indirectly we are becoming lazier by understanding “Higher or say more intellectual skills”. It might even become a bane in the near future but that’s not the point here.

The point is that now low skill jobs are vanishing slowly and only high skill jobs are sustaining in this era of “Artificial intelligence”. Now, the thing which is very important to understand is the role of teachers in implementing this virtuous policy.

For teaching, for example, coding in 6th standard, we need those teachers who have studied coding, but if you think logically this looks very gloomy at the moment because those who are teaching currently there would be very few teachers who know how to code, because as I said the current education policy doesn’t have the subject of coding till standard 12 (that too very basic and not for all). So, it is quite clear that if we want to teach coding to students in 6th standard we have 3 options:

  1. Teach students from virtual medium or say by an online medium, or
  2. Hire professional coders or say computer teachers specifically for this role, or
  3. Train the teachers in coding.

Now, all the 3 options have some pros and cons, while in the 1st option the best thing would be if the government collaborates with online teaching giants like Unacademy then the gap between public and private schooling will become narrower (which is also an agenda of NEP, 2020).

In the 2nd option, if a professional coder will teach the students, then also the gap between public and private schooling will become narrower and they will teach them face to face and not online which is still considered to be a better option.

The 3rd Option I think would be the best because in this we can actually merge both 1 and 2 because in this option the teachers can learn coding from online giants and also by the professional coders or computer teacher and then they can teach the students.

However, this is just my suggestion but I believe the purpose here is to create a democratic environment between the teacher and student, where any student can ask anything, (of course in a humble and respective tone) from the teacher. I wish, there would be an environment, where the students can even suggest something to the teachers.

However, as I talked about the dialogue of the film regarding forming of a new service, I.T.S. (Indian Teaching service), according to me it is the need of the hour, especially after the NEP, 2020 because the sad reality is that today no one wants to be a teacher (at least in a school), they just become a teacher to either support them while giving exams of BANK-PO or even UPSC. If we can make an environment, where everyone wants to become a teacher then only I think this NEP can succeed.

Conclusion

The NEP 2020, looks very promising at the scripting level, however, in order to implement this policy as it is written, one thing is for sure, that the government will have to think about hiring good teachers, and also to think about the “Concept of Emotional Intelligence”.

In emotional intelligence, we talk about how to understand the emotion of ourselves and other people. As I said, in order to actually make a world-class education system, we need a collaborative effort from both teachers and students, there has to be a democratic system between the student and the teacher, where the student without any fear can ask the teacher anything about the subject or can tell their concern to the teachers without any hesitation.


[1] Coding is a study in which one learns different languages of computer which is based on binary numbers and algorithms.


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