The objectives of the education system are not merely limited to producing a large number of degree holders in the technological era and globalization. Education system must inculcate human ethical values and produce responsible citizens. Presently the world is facing an array of conflicts, wrestles, instability and crisis mainly due to deficit of moral human values, principles and failures of modern materialistic education system. Existing education system is oriented more towards material values and achieving materialist objectives. Modern materialistic education system produces self-centered graduate beings indulged in a heartless mindless rat race for material and wealth accumulation. Such graduates are very much aware and vocal about their individual rights; however, they never bother about their own duties and responsibilities towards the society and the universe at large.
To maintain global peace, human-nature harmony, stability, human values, individual responsibility and Bhartiya belief of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ an overhaul of the entire education system was the requirement of society. Knowledge creation is not only to fulfill the formalities and to complete the degree. But, indeed the pursuit of knowledge (Jnan), wisdom (Pragyaa), and truth (Satya) was always considered in Indian thought and philosophy as the highest human goal. The learner and the teacher must be at the center of the fundamental reforms in the education system. This is reflected in the National Education Policy-2020 launched Government of India on 29 July 2020.
The Purpose of the NEP 2020 is “to develop good human beings capable of rational thought and action, possessing compassion and empathy, courage and resilience, scientific temper and creative imagination, with sound ethical moorings and values. It aims at producing engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisaged by our Constitution”. The NEP 2020 is indeed has the potential to make India – Atmanirbhar if implemented properly. It envisions to make India a knowledge driven society and become Vishwa Guru in the field of education.
NEP 2020 is a step in the right direction to revive the ancient Bharitya wisdom, Bharitya philosophy, culture, Indian languages. It has the vision to produce responsible human beings. The primary guiding light for NEP -2020 is “the rich heritage of ancient and eternal Indian knowledge and thought”. NEP 2020 is a timely intervention towards making our country a global superpower, the proverbial Vishva-guru, as India has already moved towards becoming the third largest economies of the World. The promotion of inner human values through education can best service to the entire human population. NEP has addressed the long pending demand from leading academicians and pedagogues by making use of mother tongue/ local language as medium of instruction in the primary and preferred medium of education till standard eight.
In ancient days India was known for its legendary and unique education system. Ancient educational institutes like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, Vallabhi, set the highest standards of multidisciplinary teaching and research and produced great scholars such as Charaka, Susruta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, Chanakya, Chakrapani Datta, Madhava, Panini, Patanjali, Nagarjuna, Gautama, Pingala, Sankardev, Maitreyi, Gargi and Thiruvalluvar, among numerous others. At that time, scholars from different parts of the world floated to Indian Universities. But no Indian scholar have found it necessary to go abroad to learn knowledge. With the invasion of Muslim conquerors nearly all the centre of higher learning were destroyed since 1197 A.D.
Ancient Bhartiya Vedic educational system from time immemorial recognized the ability and skills of different individual. Hence, not only the philosophy but also other disciplines like literature, science as well as vocational training and other multidisciplinary learning too were part of the curricula during the ancient times. NEP-2020 has also given emphasis on recognizing, identifying and fostering the unique capabilities of individual student; flexibility to chose learning trajectories and program according to own interest. No hard separation between curriculum and program to support for a multidisciplinary world in order to insure the amalgamation of various fields of knowledge. NEP-2020 has given emphasis on conceptual understanding, creativity and critical thinking, human ethical values and constitutional values.
The new education policy 2020 will help to re-establish teachers, at all levels, as the most respected and essential members of our society and ensuring livelihood, respect, dignity, and autonomy, while also instilling in the system basic methods of quality control and accountability. Society can play a very important role in the education system at grassroots level. Children can learn more from their surrounding environment; and behavior of the society can change the mindset of the young generation. Involvement of volunteers, support of active and healthy senior citizen, school alumni and local community member to achieve the purpose of NEP is highly innovative and welcome step. The outcomes of the participatory initiative will helpful to achieve the critical Goals of the Sustainable Development 2030 and determine the future of our country as a role model of Vishwa Guru to the whole globe.
*The Author is Dr. Sanjeev Sharma, Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi