New Education Policy: EdTech Industry leaders call it “Historic and Revolutionary”

By : |July 31, 2020 0

The “Education Ministry” announced the New Education Policy on Wednesday. With it, we saw that technology was at the centre of the reform. Thus, it means that the Indian education system is evolving; it is changing to match global standards. The New Education Policy replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education of 1986.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the makers. He called the framing of NEP 2020 as a shining example of participative governance. The New Education Policy has wide aspects. It included widening availability of scholarships, strengthening infrastructure for Open and Distance Learning and Online Education. He also said that the increasing usage of technology has received great attention in the NEP. These are vital reforms for the education sector, he added.

What are some best aspects of the National Education Policy?

1. A holistic Approach and Global Competitiveness

The best part of the NEP is that it welcomes a holistic education pedagogy. Indian students will have better competition with foreign students. Commenting on the reform, Mr Rameswar Mandali, Founder & CEO of SKILL MONKS said, “The new National Education Policy 2020 will help in driving revolutionary change in the Indian educational system while giving impetus to India’s vision to become the “Global Knowledge Superpower”. The restructuring of higher education institutions that aims to become multidisciplinary institutions with the focus to have 3,000 or more students will raise the standards of higher education in India by reassuring opportunities to more students.”

He further added, “Furthermore, NEP’s intent to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio including vocational education from 26.3% to 50% will drive positive change in our economy. A new approach of skill-based learning from an early foundation level of academics will help learners identify skill sets much earlier thereby empowering students to be future-ready.”

Commenting on the NEP, Mr Sumit Kumar, Vice President – NETAP, TeamLease Skills University said, “The new education policy has been designed keeping in view the target of 50% GER by 2035. It will achieve this earlier than the deadline as the proposed flexibility and modularity in the undergraduate programs, the introduction of the academic bank of credit, and emphasis on the use of technology will improve enrolments. However, the policy is more input-oriented and has not much emphasis upon the outcome which is employability or job readiness.”

On this, he added, “Introduction of online degree linked apprenticeship program would have ensured both the enrolments and the employability. Globally, higher education is merging with corporate learning which makes education relevant for both the students and employers. Returns on education (RoE) should be measured by job readiness. The policy should have looked at the role of employers in higher education through a tripartite arrangement. The US introduced the Student Apprenticeship Act to connect apprenticeships with higher education with a tripartite arrangement between the student, employer and the university. We are still emphasizing on numeracy and literacy in the digital world whereas ICT is the new basics in the learning system. We hope the amendment delivers on desired ROE.”

“The New National Education policy is a momentous decision taken by the government and we welcome the integrated approach which forms the core of the key reforms. The new policy will act as a melting pot for the phase-wise and end-to-end roadmap for coherent continuity of education in the country. It was a much-needed reform to keep the earlier NEP in sync with the challenges and requirements of the multidisciplinary driven digital world. This will benefit the next generation students and graduates who are going to lead our country in times to come, and this policy will equip them with the right skills and tools to deal with the current and future requirements.” said Dr Roshan Lal Raina, Vice-Chancellor, JK Lakshmipat University.

Mallika Valluru, Co-founder of Radius Edutech says, “We welcome the New Education Policy’s attempt at the inclusion of skill-based education. We hope NEP will also be inclusive in extending RTE to 18 years. Also, funding towards core Research and development could be more result focussed as it can help new streams of production come into life.”

2. Good thing that after 30 years of the advent of the internet, education in India is technology-based

Krishna Kumar, the founder and CEO of Simplilearn stated the New Education Policy as forward-looking and inclusive. He said:

“In India where we have all been conditioned to be marks driven, the new policies introduce a fresh perspective of focusing on practical knowledge and skills rather than textbook knowledge. This is indeed a progressive move which will aid in creating a skilled workforce for the future, closing in on the demand-supply gap. Another highlight is the focus on the use of technology for learning, teaching and the introduction of e-content with a special focus on regional languages.”

He further added that the pandemic has introduced a wave of demand for online learning. “With this move, there are new growth opportunities which await the edtech sector. Edtech players will now look at new paths to expand their learner base, explore new markets especially in Tier 2 & 3 cities, and introduce new offerings which will cater to the needs of this upcoming consumer segment. The future holds a lot of promise and is for sure to welcome the birth of new edtech players,” he said.

On a similar note, Mr Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Co-Founder, Toppr, said, “This is a much-awaited and welcome move. Toppr firmly believes that technology is the answer to bridging the gap in education. The 21st-century workforce will be way different from today. It will be centred around technologies that did not exist 20 years ago and technologies that are yet to be created. We at Toppr are excited to lead this change – whether it is teaching coding to school kids or giving a platform for schools to run completely online. We are always open to collaborating with the government to support schools and personalise learning for each student. This is a great opportunity for the edtech sector and with contribution from edtech startups, the education system would benefit immensely.”

Prateek Shukla. CEO of Masai School stated, “The New Education Policy is a long overdue but very welcome change! Given how much industries have evolved in the last few decades, this move will bridge the skill gap hopefully.”

He passionately talks about the introduction of coding at Grade 6. He added that it will not only prepare the students for Industry 4.0 but also equip them with problem-solving skills at the right age which will be valuable in all areas of life. “This also ties in to change in approach towards the separation of streams. Today roles are merging and we need cross-functional thinking and capabilities in the next generation of the workforce,” he said.

“However, the policy changes will result in expected outcomes only if we have quality teachers – interested in the roles. As of today, there’s a huge shortfall in skilled & up to date teaching workforce. The career path of teaching requires a major revamp to attract the right kind of people,” he added.

3. Change in the qualification of teachers

“The new education policy in 2020 is a welcome change! Increased focus on vocational skills, coding skills to start from school with a higher focus on technological curriculum, focus on accreditations and certifications and the formation of the HECI will allow for a shift in focus towards building real skills that offer employment opportunities. The mandatory certification of teachers with a 4 year BED by 2030 should also produce a higher quality of teaching staff.

Focussing on quantitative and analytical thinking with a problem-solving approach is a must for job-seekers to continue to be relevant to the Industry. The opportunity to complete a 4-year degree program with research is another key development that needs strong implementation at University level; the future of an entire generation and a country’s success depends on deep research abilities.”  said, Mr Robin Bhowmik, Chief Business Officer of Manipal Global Academy of BFSI.

4. No more Rat-Race or rote learning; only futurist skill-based

“The NEP is much needed-reform to our education sector. I feel that it contains some of the best of the education practices from across the globe while at the same time acknowledging the needs of our diverse country.  One of the salient features of NEP that institutes regional language/mother-tongue as the medium of instruction is an example of this. It will go a long way in restoring the importance of our unique, and diverse demography, culture, language and economics in this era of globalization,” said Mr Ravi Kaklasaria, CEO & Founder of SpringPeople.

He added, “Additionally, I also like the fact that the NEP prioritizes skill creation and employability over merely imparting knowledge. As I head an enterprise IT training company, time and time again I come to face how ill-equipped our young graduates are. They do not have any practical know-how that they can leverage as soon as they enter the world of work. I am elated that NEP is introducing Vocational training from secondary school, which will address the issue of skill readiness from a young, impressionable age itself.”

“The adoption of the New Education Policy is a historic event for India and it completely changes the paradigm of Indian Education,” said Mr Shantanu Rooj, Founder & CEO of Schoolguru Eduserve. He added, “the NEP has focused on creating a solid digital infrastructure which will help to massify education and improve accountability. Further to this, the idea to remove board exams for class 10 shall take off unnecessary stress from school children. The focus on the learning outcome along with a sea-change in the examination system. It shall bring a change in the mindset around the rat-race to just get marks.”

“Additionally, allowing more universities to launch online degrees has also been a long-awaited demand and this will now further improve opportunities in the ecosystem. However, the government needs to act upon its intentions and execute them – the gap between India’s potential and reality is not a god-gift but a result of the gap between intentions and execution. In the current situation, the NEP is largely revolving around traditional learners. However, as lifelong learning becomes a reality, the government will also need to think about the needs of the employed learner. Some of the key aspects that they will have to consider are – creating modular size courses, allowing stackable credentials, permitting round the year admission, online on-demand assessments, the inclusion of on-job training, capstone projects etc. This will help to create the right ecosystem for learning,” he said.

Mr Sridhar Rajagopalan, Co-Founder and Chief learning officer from Educational Initiatives commenting on the New Education Policy 2020, said,  “Most of these points highlighted in the New Education Policy 2020 are very good and match closely with areas that Educational Initiatives has identified as critical and works on. These include foundational literacy and numeracy – ensuring every child can read by grade 2 or 3 and do arithmetic operations by grade 5; gifted education programmes, focus on high-quality assessments and Board Exam Reform to make the Board Exam Questions based on understanding and application rather than recall.”

Talking about the language change in NEP, he said, “Education should in mother tongue or local language at least till class 5 after which should be in English- this approach has a lot of benefits. Pedagogical research has established beyond much doubt that children learn best if they learn in their mother tongue (or local language) in the primary classes. This does not mean that children should not LEARN English, it only means that English should not be the medium of instruction in the primary years. The medium of instruction should be the language that is most prevalent in the child’s surroundings.”

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