NEP 2020: Vice President Naidu hails new policy, teachers differ on language
The National Education Policy 2020 was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. It proposes to replace the 10+2 structure of school curricula, and scrapping of MPhil programmes.
The National Education Policy (NEP), unveiled by the government on Wednesday, is generating a lot of buzz. While many in the government and otherwise are welcoming the change in the education sector, others, including teachers, have varied views.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday expressed happiness over NEP 2020 and called it a major step forward to enhance access to quality education for children and youth.
“Diversity and respect for the local context as well as a recognition of the importance of India’s classical languages will undoubtedly give learners a holistic world view. The focus of NEP 2020 on ethics and human and Constitutional values would go a long way in the creation of enlightened citizenship essential for deepening our democratic roots,” Naidu said.
Calling the NEP-2020’s vision as “truly global and essentially Indian”, Naidu said that it exemplifies India’s timeless quest for welcoming noble thoughts from all over the world.
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The man who headed the panel which drafted the NEP 2020, said no language is being imposed on anyone. Former Isro chief K Kasturirangan said that a flexible approach has been proposed with a three-langauge formula.
“Adopting local languages as the medium of instruction till Class 5 is important in the early phase of education because the child’s strengths in understanding the principles and in displaying creativity manifests better in the mother tongue as well in the local language,” said Kasturirangan.
The policy was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
“Children have a great ability to pick up multiple languages in early age. The policy talks about a flexible approach in three-language formula. How it will be implemented in states its their decision. No language is being imposed in the policy,” said Kasturirangan.
However, some school principals believe students who will be taught in the mother tongue or regional language up to class 5 may face difficulties in coping with the syllabus in upper classes where medium of instruction is English.
“We first have to distinguish between language and literacy. Language is speaking and is natural for our brains. Literacy is reading and writing which is to be learnt by our brains,” said Vishnu Karthik, Director, Heritage Schools.
He said that children’s brains are designed to learn multiple languages and the more they are exposed to many languages, the more they can absorb them at an early age. “Thus, teaching in only one language is not the best use of the critical learning windows nature has given for learning languages. Teaching only in English or only in the mother tongue is not a good practice. Rather a healthy mix of 2-3 languages is good for children in primary school,” he said.
Alka Kapur, Principal of Modern School in New Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, said that English is a universal language and in the guidelines it is written that it can be used wherever possible. “It is not clearly stated if ‘wherever possible’ means subject or place. English should be one common language as everyone wants their child to know the language and I think if it is taught at the foundation state it would be very nice,” she said.
“Regional language along with English language would be a good idea as the English language is a window to the world and every child from the foundation should be focused to learn English,” she added.
Replacing the 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to age groups 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years respectively, scrapping MPhil programmes and implementing common norms for private and public higher education institutions are among other salient features of the new policy.