Dharamshala: Recently the Indian government introduced the New Education Policy 2020 wherein several changes in the Indian education system are expected.
Launched on July 29, the National Education Policy 2020 aspires to make India “a global knowledge superpower”. Due to the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic, the academic institutes all over India has remained closed and the new academic session is likely to begin from September/October, Likewise, the new NEP 2020 will be implemented accordingly when the new session begins.
To discuss more on the subject, Education Kalon Dr. Pema Yangchen speaks with Tenzin Wangchuk of Tibet TV on the NEP 2020 and how the changes in the policy are likely to affect the Basic Education Policy for Tibetans in exile.
Following is the English translation of the interview with the Kalon, originally conducted in Tibetan.
Tibet TV: The government of India has recently introduced the New Education Policy 2020. Before we discuss the key points of the NEP 2020, would you tell us how significant it is for a country to have its own Education policy?
Kalon: Education is an all-encompassing factor for the advancement and development of a nation. Without education, no country and administration can achieve substantial progress of any kind. Education is instrumental in bringing about growth and changes in the minds of people to ensure a moral living. It is highly imperative that equal opportunities of education must be provided for the youth. In order to create and maintain a systematic education system, the significance of education policy comes into play.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always supported modern education but in conjunction with the education of ancient knowledge about compassion and non-violence. NEP 2020 aims for generating fair and equal education opportunities to all.
Tibet TV: The new Education Policy is introduced after 34 years since its formation in 1968 and 1986. What do you think led to the formation of new policies?
Kalon: If you refer to the context of the Education Policy in India, there have been many education commissions in India in the aftermath of Independence, however, none of them have performed satisfactory and thorough research except for the Kothari Commission appointed under the leadership of Dr. D. S. Kothari. The Commission gave a special attention to the equal education opportunity for both men and women. Gradually the Education Policy in India was formulated in 1968 and reformulated in 1986. Normally, the policy needs to be revised every 10 years but the NEP 2020 was formulated after a long time and this policy is said to meet the academic needs of the 21 century.
Tibet TV: Can you explain the key points of the new Education Policy?
Kalon: The new Education Policy has made several changes in the education system of school and Higher education. For school education, the new policy will replace the existing 10+2 system by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. It will bring the uncovered age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for the development of mental faculties of a child. It will also have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre-schooling. The policy has simplified class 10th and 12th board exams where the students will be tested for core competencies rather than memorised facts. They can also take the exams twice.
The policy also emphasises ‘foundational Literacy and Numeracy‘, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools. The vocational subject is to start from class 6 with internships. An important change brought by the new policy is the implementation of Teaching up to at least Grade 5 in mother tongue/regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
For higher education, the policy enables undergraduate education to be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. The policy now cancels the M.Phil course and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D. level will now be interdisciplinary. The policy also establishes the transfer of credits for students who wish to continue higher education in different institutes. Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities will be set up as a model of multidisciplinary education standards in the country.
Tibet TV: Among the changes, an important change brought in by the new education policy is teaching up to class 5 in mother tongue/ regional language. How do you think this change will affect the Tibetans schools in India?
Kalon: The guidelines in the policy do mention to have mother tongue/ regional language as the medium of instruction, however, it does not mandate to imply the change as there is an option to continue with the existing medium of instruction and so the Tibetan schools can continue with its existing medium of instruction i.e in the Tibetan language.
Tibet TV: How is the National Education Policy 2020 different from our Basic Education Policy and what are its benefits to our education policy?
Kalon: The education policy we have implemented in the Tibetan schools are aligned to the particular needs and requirements of the Tibetan students, however, we are obligated to coordinate with the guidelines of education policy of India when the Tibetan students enter class 10 and 12. It is then, the Tibetan schools will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation, and academic standards. As for class 8 and below, the basic education policy has enabled adequate flexibility and privileges due to which up to now we have successfully managed to implement the basic education policy in the Tibetan schools.
Watch the full interview here.