New National Education Policy: Youngsters elated, but worry about Boards
Think of a school kid and even today the visual of a half bent child, due to the weight of his/her school bag, gains prominence in our minds. But, with the recently announced National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, this might not be the case anymore. Youngsters are ecstatic at the introduction of new features in the policy, namely smart classrooms, peer assessment, emphasis on vocational learning, simplification of board exams, bagless days and storytelling in classroom.
Elated that the heavy school bags will now make way for smart classrooms, Bhavini Khanna, a std 11 student, says, “Having bagless days is a great idea. Learning should be outside the textbooks as well, for allows students to develop more curiosity. And smart classrooms will provide a break from the monotonous look of the whiteboard and the marker; now all periods will be as cool as the computer class!”
What has received an applause from the youngsters is the endeavour to change the ‘ratta maar’ approach. Shagnik Roy, a std 12 student from Gurugram, says, “In some subjects, memorising 1,500 pages gets too hectic. So the reduction of rote learning is a positive thing.” But, like most students, Roy is also concerned about the Board Exams and confesses, “Over the years, we have come to rely on previous years’ papers. Now with these new changes, there is some fear of what will the new format be!”
The NEP aims to shift the focus of Boards towards testing a student’s core competencies. In addition, new teaching techniques are also gathering praise. “I hope now our history lessons, which were read out from books earlier, won’t put us to sleep. How cool will it be to see the boring chapters getting enacted like a story in the class,” says Tushar Bansal, a class 12 student from Kanpur.
And what has received a mixed response is the introduction of peer assessment in report cards. Anusha Kabra, a std 10 student, says, “It sounds interesting, but I feel that most students will have a bias, and it may hamper the right feedback. On the other hand, peer evaluations can also be easier as students will feel less nervous among friends. Let’s see how it works out.”
One of the aspect of the NEP that has been an instant hit with some is the introduction of coding and Artificial Intelligence as a subject at a younger grade. “Coding will be taught from class 6, and I think this is amazing! The younger we learn how to code, the more adept we will be at it. After all, India is the IT hub of the world and this change will play to the students strengths,” says Atishay Jain, a 12 grade student.
Rejoicing about the inclusive approach taken by NEP, Shourya Gupta, a class 12 student says, “The change in the rigidity of different streams and introduction of interdisciplinary programmes will rid all students of the age-old divide and stereotypes associated with ‘science students’ vs ‘humanities students’. Now all streams will get equal importance. How great is that? No student will feel limited now. If one wants to be a doctor and a singer, it’s possible now!”
Emphasisng on vocational learning has also re-focused the lens on learning more than what’s taught in the classroom. The NEP has introduced from class six to eight, to intern with local vocational experts such as carpenters, gardeners, potters, artists, etc. “Learning from gardeners, carpenters and the like is so interesting! We’ll finally be learning real life skills that you can use outside school,” says Kanishka Kapoor, a grade 7 student.
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha