Like election manifestos, draft NEP is merely a statement of intent -Satish Deshpande
-The Indian Express
The nation awaits the new born DNEP’s janmakundali to reveal its future. But we already know one of its possible epitaphs: It was just too good to be true.
What does the new National Education Policy (NEP) have to say about the future of Indian higher education? Before trying to answer this question, it is necessary to spend a moment or two on the roughly 500-page draft of the NEP (henceforth DNEP) that the new government unveiled on the day it took office. Ever since Kapil Sibal took over as the human resources development (HRD) minister a decade ago, relations between the academic world and successive Union governments have inhabited a triangle defined by morbidity, chaos, and toxicity. For most of this period, there seemed to be no overall policy, only an incoherent plethora of schemes that could be contradictory, overlapping or isolated from each other. Grand Tughlaqian projects predominated, and they tended to assume a clean slate, ignoring the entrenched mess of modalities and institutions already in existence. Abortive attempts to produce a coherent national vision document had only made matters worse.
Against this dismal background, DNEP 2019 appears to offer some hope. It is the first policy document of the past decade that at least looks the part. From the perspective of higher education, its main strength is that it has got its basics right — it appears to have a reasonable understanding of existing problems, and offers a plausible picture of possible solutions that may take us towards a better future. Indeed, the DNEP comes as a refreshing shock to academics long accustomed to policy documents that are rooted in a stubborn denial of basic ground realities.
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Tagged with: Draft National Education Policy