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June 14, 2019 Friday 03:13:44 PM IST

'Draft New Educational Policy Comprehensive, Hurdles Likely in Implementation'

Rajagiri Round Table

The draft New Educational Policy released by the Ministry of Human Resources Development is very comprehensive and in keeping up with the changing dynamics of society but may face several implementational challenges, according to a cross section of experts who attended the 49th Rajagiri Roundtable titled New Education Policy: Vision on School Education held on 12th June, 2019 at Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology (RSET). Mr R Ramabhadran Pillai, Editor of Pallikkutam Magazine introduced the topic, welcomed and introduced the panelists.
Dr D Dhanuraj, Chairman of Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) said that the draft report addresses many issues facing the school education system. It recognises the fact that pre-primary education currently faces many problems and it is the responsibility of the state to develop this segment. It recognises the fact that the child of 3-6 years of age is ready to learn, imbibe new knowledge and the State has neglected this age group which can be the most productive period of initiation into the world of learning, Dr Dhanuraj said. "The report is trying to reflect on all the changes that are happening in the world, how technology can be effectively used to impart education in an interesting manner."
Dr M C Dileep Kumar, former Vice Chancellor of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit said that the biggest challenge will be in implementing the report recommendations across the country with diverse languages and cultures. There are bound to be objections from different quarters to change and how administrative efficiency can be improved is a question that should haunt policy makers. It is nevertheless a task oriented report and it would be better if a comparative study is done on the existing reports under implementation- the Kothari Committee Report of 1966 and the 1986 Education Policy report, he added. 
Ruby Antony, Vice Principal of Rajagiri Public School, Kalamassery said that the existing educational system based on the Kothari Committee and 1986 Educational Policy is no more sufficient to impart 21st century skills. In the last six decades it had helped create a large army of English speaking graduates, scientists and engineers skilled in maths and sciences and they were the envy of the world. But with globalisation of learning and advent of internet, the rote -based learning and exam based teaching methodologies were not delivering results. Our students were performing badly in  several international assessments. The 10 + 2 system with its emphasis on marks and the rush for getting admission into professional colleges had resulted in mushrooming of tuition and coaching centres. She said that the government schools were largely neglected and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan failing to deliver results the system itself was crying for change. The new draft polcy is a welcome step taken by the India Government and it involves a total restructuring of school curriculum and pedagody. 
Sajeev Kumar PP, District Member of All India Save Education Committee said that any new policy should take into account the social realities- the average income, life style, customs and traditions of our diverse nation that has 135 crore population. He also felt that there should be a rethink on whether we have attained the objectives set out in the Kothari Commission and the 1986 Education Policy.

Dr Dhanuraj said that the restructuring of the 8-12 grades in school into 8 semesters with a student allowed to take an examination any time during the year is a welcome step. However, he expressed the fear that since the report challenges existing institutional structures and authority including a regulatory body for the state, 99% of the recommendations may not be implemented. 
Dr Job Kuruvila was of the view that the report is excellent but most often educational reforms in the country or its attainments  usually talk about quantity not stressing on quality of education. Inputs in education are tangible but output is intangible. He felt  that the report is blind to the realities of India’s education system and unless 13-14% of GDP is allocated to education, much of the reforms cannot be implemented.
Dr PR Poduval, Former Director of School of Communication and Management Studies at CUSAT said that the real problem  in implementing this report was that resources are not there, teachers are not ready, parents are not ready and education has become a matter of politics. 
(This is the first of the four part series on the deliberations of the 49th Rajagiri Roundtable to be pubished in The major recommendations of the panel of experts will be forwarded to the Ministry of HRD before June 30 and also published as a comprehensive report in Pallikkutam Magazine July 2019 issue).