Embodying the great legacy of Indian tradition, inspired by the vision of Mahatma Gandhi, and committed to the Constitution, given by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 seems well-prepared to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. This is a significant change in the Indian educational policy owing to the changing needs of the country and the world, after 34 long years.
NEP 2020 is a democratic policy, coming into play after wide consultations from stakeholders from every nook and corner of the country. Another important development and the need of the hour is the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education. With the term ‘human resource’, one conceives human beings as physical resources devoid of human sensibilities and ‘sanskars’ (values). However, the term ‘education’ retains all the qualities of a human being including physical, cultural and of course psychological.
Perhaps the most revolutionary feature of NEP in terms of formal school education is to have regional languages as a medium of instruction till at least 5th grade or preferably till 8th grade and beyond. English will now be taught only as a subject. Researches of educational psychology as well as UNESCO Report 2008 suggest that one can cognise and communicate better, faster and easier in the mother tongue. Besides, it will prove to be a boon in strengthening Indian languages and culture.
Additionally, there won’t be any special distinction between academic curriculum, extracurricular activities and vocational education in schools. Vocational instruction, rather, will be an integral part of the former. Also, from grade 6, children will be trained in coding which is an efficient means of futureproofing them. Vocational education will continue to be a part and parcel of university learning too, a useful move to prepare the youth for selfemployment and entrepreneurship.
Inflexibility in stream separation at the higher secondary level has been done away with instead students will now have the luxury to choose two unrelated subjects. For instance, Majoring in Chemistry with a Minor in Performance Studies. A student of Science or Commerce will have the opportunity to study the Arts and Humanities as well. This system will continue at the undergraduate level too. Another major feature of NEP is the introduction of special incentives and provisions for meritorious SC, ST, OBC, women, ‘divyangs’, and EWS students. Efforts will be also made to provide larger numbers of fellowships and scholarships to these sections in private sector higher education institutions (HEIs), besides the public one.
At the higher education front, NEP opens doors for new possibilities. Apart from flexibility of streams, where students of Science, Commerce or Humanities would be allowed to study each other’s subjects, or inclusion of vocational education in college, a salient feature of the bachelor’s program is a multi-entry and multi-exit scheme. Currently, we have a three-year bachelor’s degree. In case a student is unable to complete said degree and has to leave mid-way, more often than not, money and hard work go in vain. Now even after completing one year or two years, if required, a certificate or diploma will be given. She or he can complete the remaining studies by coming back within a time limit. After three years of study, one will get a bachelor’s degree.
NEP however, has parlayed a four-year bachelor’s degree, a ‘Bachelor with Research’ degree, a necessity for those interested in pursuing post graduation and/or PhD. Such a four-year system has had positive effects in developed countries like America, Japan, and Korea etc. NEP also provides students the freedom to leave a course in between and take admission in other courses.
NEP also emphasises on holistic and multidisciplinary education. All single-disciplinary institutions such as Law, Agricultural studies, Rural Studies et al, will be converted into multi-disciplinary institutions. Premier engineering institutes like IITs will move towards a holistic and multidisciplinary direction with greater coordination of arts and humanities, an important step towards interdisciplinary research. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of the USA, one of the best Global HEIs, is a good case in this context.
NEP targets to invest 6% of GDP in education, a longcherished goal since the Kothari Commission. Overall, NEP 2020 has lofty vision and goals and will prove to be capable of meeting the needs and challenges of India in the 21st century. The only challenge would be its implementation.
Niranjan Kumar is a Professor in the Department of Hindi, University of Delhi.
HIRING ACTIVITY RISES 24% IN SEPT 2020 VERSUS A MONTH BEFORE
Hiring activity in India rose by 24% in September 2020 as compared to August 2020, as seen in the Naukri JobSpeak Index. At 1755, the job index marked a great improvement of 24% in September as against 1413 in August after the sharp drop in April 2020 due to Covid-19. “The last quarter has seen significant uptick in the hiring activity, growing at 14% compared to 8% decline in AMJ’ 20. While the hiring is yet to touch last year levels and is down by 23% in Sept’20 versus Sept’19 but this is also a marked recovery from a 35%-60% decline that we have witnessed in the last few months,” Pawan Goyal, Chief Business Officer, Naukri.com The 24% M-O-M growth is being propelled by industries like Pharma (+44%), FMCG (+43%), Education/Teaching (+41%) and IT (+32%). Further opening up of the economy with unlock measures and increased mobility has led to an improvement in hiring activities in industries like Real Estate (+44%), Auto/Ancillary (+29%) and Hospitality/Travel (+48%) versus August’20.
‘78% PARENTS NOT WILLING TO SEND KIDS TO SCHOOLS TILL COVID-19 OVER’
The Unlock 5.0 guidelines allow schools in different states to reopen from 15 October depending on the state government’s decision, but as per a study by SP Robotics Works from last month named ‘Kids under Covid’, 78% parents are ready to skip a school year, but not ready to send their children to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. With a sudden transition to online learning and prolonged screen time with no outdoor play and limited social interaction, the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown on children’s mental and physical health remains dubious. To arrive at the insights of this survey, SP Robotic Works conducted a survey over the month of July and August among 3600 parents and an equal number of children in the age group of 7-17 years
ARMY JOBS: 191 SSC OFFICER POSTS VACANT, APPLY NOW
Indian Army has invited applications for SSC Officer posts. Candidates who are interested can apply at joinindianarmy.nic.in. The number of positions vacant positions is 191 posts. Candidates can apply till November 12, 2020. Unmarried male and unmarried female engineering graduates, final-year engineering students can apply. The course will start in April 2021 at Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Opening date of application is 14 October, 202, while closing date of application is 12 November 2020. Candidates will be put through two-stage selection procedure. Those who clear Stage-1 will go to Stage-2. Those who fail in Stage-1 will be returned on the same day.
JAMIA HAMDARD ADMISSIONS: REGISTRATION DATE EXTENDED
Jamia Hamdard has extended the last date to fill and submit the online admission form to 25 October. Earlier, the last date of application form 2020 submission was 20 September. Candidates who wish to take admissions to UG and PG courses offered by the university can fill the Jamia Hamdard application form 2020 till the new extended deadline. Candidates must note that they also have to upload their qualifying examination mark sheet while filling the application form. Students who have passed class 12th exam can apply for its UG courses while those having a bachelor’s degree can apply for its PG courses. Aspirants can apply for admission to the university online at jamiahamdard.edu. This year, the admission process has been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic situation. The admission form submission deadline was extended as there were many students who were seeking admissions in engineering and diploma courses but were not able to fill out the forms timely
EDUCATION MINISTER INAUGURATES NEW NIT ROURKELA BUILDING
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ inaugurated the newly built Golden Jubilee Building of NIT Rourkela, Odisha, on Tuesday through a virtual platform. Speaking at the occasion he said that NIT Rourkela is a premier institution of our country and has been producing the best brains for the country. The newly constructed NIT Rourkela building is a symbol of the varsity’s prestige. Pokhriyal said that institutions like NIT Rourkela have a very important role to play in the implementation of the New Educational Policies (NEP). The minister also added the building amplifies the glory of Rourkela city as it is one of the tallest buildings around. The magnificent structure is indeed metaphorically and geographically, ‘the heart of NIT Rourkela’, added Pokhriyal. The minister also highlighted that the vision of having this building will fulfill one of the essential mottos of the Institute to enhance efficiency in the administrative functioning and amalgamate technology with this process to make it more people-friendly.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE TIME OF A PANDEMIC
The Covid-19 pandemic has turned out to be the most significant disruptive event witnessed by this generation. From mainstreaming remote working, cutting global travel to a comprehensive digital shift, the outbreak has changed the way businesses are executed. This transformational effect is not momentary; it is significant and is here to stay.
One of the most notable elements of this transformation is the way organisations have been forced to embrace digital marketing to be able to survive the crisis. As traditional marketing strategies stand curtailed due to the pandemic, businesses have moved quickly to embrace digital marketing and transform the way they attract and engage customers and clients.
As most people still stay indoors, malls and roads stand deserted, there has been a shift to a space where businesses and customers interact less physically and more through the online route. Digital services providers will tell you how there has been a surge in organisations seeking to create new websites or update existing ones, creating elaborate social media campaigns and launching new e-commerce channels. Intelligent content creation and SEO are other elements that are receiving a fresh focus from companies. Truth be told, organisations that embrace this transformation quickly and more comprehensively are the ones that are more likely to survive as compared to those who are resistant to change.
Here are some more changing phases of entrepreneurship are adjusting the “new normal”:
THE AGE OF WEBINARS
As live conferences and face to face engagement activities take a backset, organizations are working out new ways to engage with customers. Webinars have emerged as a very popular way of achieving digital thought leadership and getting quality leads. At the same time, customer engagement is also taking place with these digital discussions. That’s why there is a sea of webinars everywhere to spread the message. Even when the crisis ebbs, people are likely to continue to conduct a part of their thought-leadership events through webinars as more and more people realize that they serve the same purpose at a fraction of the cost. Webinars that have now filled the gap of traditional conferences are likely to become a mainstream marketing strategy in the new normal.
INCREASED USAGE OF DATA ANALYTICS
In a digital age, data analytics has always been a valuable proposition. However, as organizations increase their digital presence, the importance of creating useful databases has only increased. With more people spending longer time on social media, their chances of seeing ads on such platforms or coming in touch with content marketing blogs are greater. This is why organisations now need to create valuable databases, analyse them and use this information intelligently to reach out to the target audience. Tracking pattern of consumer behavior, tracking online traffic patterns, analysing which content retains the customer, and getting a break up of which products are enticing what type of customers are essential elements of data analytics that organizations need to use more to boost their online sales.
CONTENT IS THE KING
Businesses must focus on expanding social media presence by creating intelligent and attractive content. With the shift from outbound marketing to inbound marketing, it becomes essential to engage consumers in subjects they might find interesting. However, it is important to understand that content distributed on social media should not be totally promotional in nature as it kills consumer interest. Your content must be knowledge and awareness-based. It must engage consumers emotionally through human interest stories rather than blatantly promoting your product.
The writer is founder & chairman, ICA Edu Skills.
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