Burden of school bag to boon of learning, NEP reflects aspirations of 21st-century youth: PM Modi

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Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the National Education Policy 2020 reflected the aspirations of 21st-century youth and sought systematic reforms in the system to allow students to realise their fullest potential.

Noting that the old education system had created a mass of educated who could not put the knowledge they had acquired to any practical use, Prime Minister on Saturday said the NEP 2020 aimed to change that approach and plug old loopholes, where students were forced to opt for subjects under pressure from parents.

“Through the NEP 2020, we are shifting from the burden of the school bag, which does not last beyond school to the boon of learning, which helps for life and from simply memorising to critical thinking,” said the PM hailing Indian youth for offering a range of solutions, including the Aarogya Setu application, face shields and personal protective equipment during COVID times.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing the grand finale of the Smart India Hackathon, in which students are competing to find solutions to a set of problems given to them by government and industry.

The Prime Minister said even today many students felt they were being judged on the basis of one subject in which they didn’t even have an interest.

“This approach has led to student acquiring degrees and still feeling empty. The NEP 2020 changes this approach,” PM said.

He also noted that among the most exciting things of the Policy is the emphasis on interdisciplinary study.

“This concept has been gaining popularity and rightly so because one size does not fit all and one subject does not define who you are,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that students could now learn math with music and coding with chemistry.

Inter-disciplinary studies gave you control and made you flexible, he said, terming flexibility as another hallmark of the policy and citing multiple entry and exit options to college students as an example of this.

PM also said the NEP was also big on access to education starting from primary education up to higher education where the aim was to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio to 50 per cent by 2035.

“The 21st century is an era of knowledge. This is the time for an increased focus on learning, research and innovation. And this is exactly what India’s National Education Policy 2020 does. This policy wants to make your school, college and university experience fruitful, broad-based and one that guides you to your natural passions,” PM said.

Hailing the NEP’s focus on the use of mother tongue for instruction up to Class 5 and preferably Class 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Language has remained a sensitive issue in India and regional languages have languished for years. The policy ensures Indian languages prosper and serve the purpose of national integration,” he said noting that the world’s top 20 nations on GDP use mother tongue for instruction.

Describing the nuances of the NEP, the PM said it invited world’s top institutes to set up campuses in India and help make India a global education hub.

The PM urged the youth to keep learning, questioning and solving problems and said the aim of government’s initiatives was to foster innovation, research and development.

The NEP 2020 would produce job creators rather than job seekers, PM noted.

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