On the New Education Policy 2020

Last month, I spoke at a webinar organised by Pinnacle, a discussion club put together by the current and ex students of Dept of Political Science at the Goa University. I am sharing my notes and the full video of the webinar for those who are interested. It was an honour to be doing this alongside Dr Manisha Priyam whose work on education policy has been unparalleled.

I spoke as someone who has a stake in this policy as a student in the Indian higher education system. Also, having been in Delhi since 2014, I have seen the intersection of bureaucracy, education, and political establishment from a close distance and formulate my observations from that standpoint. My response to NEP was based on following points.

  • Too many adjectives / Does Not Cite Sources 
    • It would be a good exercise to strip the text of its adjectives and read it again. This manner of writing alone increases the magnitude of expectation one has from the policy.
  • Replacing a conventional UK based model of Higher Education to an US based model.
    • Felt like it. Scrapping of affiliate colleges, MPhil degrees etc. Much of the text seems like a welcome change to the education system. But it’s an uphill task on implementing it. Not sheerly because of its scale, but also keeping in mind the inertia of our educators, bureaucracy, and political establishment. However,
  • No definite road map for implementation
  • No measurable parameters of outcomes
    • Without the road map or no measurable outcomes, the policy reads like a wishful thinking.
  • Decentralization?
    • Another national body to fund, regulate, accredition. No mention how State and the Centre will be partnering in realizing this policy.
  • Recent success stories don’t find a mention. Instead we are recounted models from distant past. JNU/ AUD/ Bandodkar and Primary Education in Goa.
    • It is not like these models have not been implemented in India before. Public universities have been running on these very models but those are not cited as success stories. Despite the disproportionate media attention that JNU gets, it’s a success story by any stretch of imagination. Have been to universities in Europe and USA, and JNU is no less at the fraction of their cost. Similarly AUD. University of Mysore. BHU.
  • In what environment will this policy be realised?
    • Devil is in the detail. In an environemnts where univerities are becoming law and order sites, how does one realize the policy? Not just JNU. Many campuses across the country that we don’t hear about. Due to the undue attention that JNU has. Cosmopolitanism. World class?

  • Problematising the idea of Mother tongue.
    • Languages are not inherent or coded into genes. We should rather unburden language from the duties of motherhood that it claims.
  • Language have been reduced to a marker of regional identity. How does one reimagine it?
    • Linguistic reorganisation of states recognizes the diversity of Indian linguistic culture but often elbows out the linguistic multiplicity.
  • Non standardised languages, scripts, Romi Konkani. Bhojpuri.
    • What happens? Someone in Pernenm or Saxxti learning Antruzi Konkani. Haanv Thai Gello, Haanv Tinga Gello, Meeya Thay Gellay. Three sentences that mean the same but only one would be correct. How do we account these problems in policy, pedagogy, and assessment?
  • Medium of Instruction issue in Goa
    • Outcome of not recognizing Romi Konkani as a legitimate  language. We are acting out of our impulses of cultural nationalism and a post-colonial anxiety. Let’s leave out education and people’s futures out of it.
  • English has an aspirational value.
    • Everyone should have the right to aspire and government must provide the means to realize them. Cannot place the burden of conserving vernacular languages squarely on the class of people who cannot afford privatised english medium schools.
    • Learning in English or Learning English –My own example. Access to literature, cinema, tv shows. Remove privileges and it becomes a hurdle. Redistribute these opportunities.
  • Language as a bridge to access  modernity. 
    • Possible to rethink languages, medium of instruction, and the entire policy with minimum or no cultural nationalism?
Reads old newspapers and researches on Goan History.

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