In this ever changing socio-political regime, we are mapping the progress made in the policy framework for creating a quality and efficient education system in the country. Continuing with the Right Approach, this week we are tracing the footsteps of National Education Policy and its development.
“The most important and urgent reform needed in education is to transform it, to endeavour to relate it to the life, needs, and aspirations of the people and thereby make it the powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation…”
-Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Commission, 1948
India, from the ancient times, envisaged the culture of learning and knowledge as an inherent part of the society. The knowledge commanded charismatic respect from the society and was a launch pad to move in the upper echelon of the society. The ancient India not only focused on education for attaining knowledge but they perceived education as a powerful tool for self-realization. The modern-day education system is resultant of the colonial effect. The Anglo-Indian education model brought in by the British remained in the system even after the Independence.
The post-independence era saw the emphasis placed by the government on education and they floated many schemes and policies for promoting the importance of education to the population. They believed in the idea that education is a necessity for the growth of society and economy and efforts must be made in pursuance of achieving the required growth. In light of this, many commissions like University Education Commission, 1948, the Secondary Education Commission, 1952, the Kothari Commission, 1966 were formed to analyse the then existing situation and formulate proposals to equip Indian education system with modern tools and technique. The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) was established in the year 1961 as an independent and autonomous advisory body for the Union and state with a primary role of advising on the formulation and implementation of educational policies. The Education Commission of 164 or the Kothari Commission recommended some changes in the then existing education system and based on the report the Union government adopted the National Education Policy of 1968. There were two major highlights of the policy, first being the fulfilment of compulsory education of all children below the age of 14, as mandated by the directive principles enshrined in the Constitution and second being the “three language formula” to be implemented in secondary education, it stated that the medium of instruction in school has to cover three languages, one being English, second, the official language of the state where the state was based and third, Hindi. The idea was to reduce the gap in the society and overcome the barrier of language in learning. After the 1968 policy, the need was felt to overhaul the two-decade-old education policy with a new national policy on education which was adopted in the year 1986 (revised in 1992) laid special emphasis on social integration of depressed classes into education which included women, scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes. It brought in policy for providing scholarships to students from depressed classes, enabling them by hiring more teachers from SCs and STs and develop infrastructure in rural areas for making education accessible to many in the society. It widened the canvas of Open University system with promoting IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University).
The National Policy on Education intends to cover equity, relevance, efficiency, quality, content, and process and tends to attain Universalization of Elementary Education under the motto of Education for All. The draft National Education Policy, 2016 is under consideration of Parliament. In the next blog, we will mark the changes and vision which government is proposing under the NEP, 2016.