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‘National Education Policy is holistic with focus on gender, disability’

‘National Education Policy is holistic with focus on gender, disability’

Finally, India has acknowledged the need to focus on basic issues such as gender and disability in its education system. Even as most experts said that the implementation of the recently approved National Education Policy (NEP) may take some time to roll out, many expressed satisfaction over the general vision and sense of direction. Bijayalaxmi Nanda, acting principal of Miranda House, is one of them.

Speaking to IN, she said that the new policy is holistic and visionary in nature and has taken into account the basic requirements of society which includes recognition of regional languages besides focusing on gender and disability.

“The NEP is by and large a very progressive document. It is holistic in its approach, though we do not know the fine print as yet,” Nanda said. “But it is time that we as a society showed empathy to each other and also remain connected… Whatever we have right now, it is inclusive and all-encompassing in nature.”

The focus on gender and disability has made her particularly happy, she said.

“We as a society need to focus on basic issues like gender and disability, and I am happy that finally we have taken note of these. However, to address these issues, we would require further participation and consultation from the civil society,” Nanda, a former Utkal University student, said.

Nanda, herself has been a champion for women’s cause, has extensively worked on researches involving feminism.

While many have raised concerns over skill development and training of teachers, Nanda said that the educators in India, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, have shown that they are ready for challenges and can rise up to any occasion.

“The pandemic has shown that we can adjust and rise up to any occasion. Our teachers have so wonderfully integrated to the new online teaching technique and skills in no time, this shows that we can do it and nothing is impossible,” Nanda said.

She added that a new policy has been announced and as a society it was important to show solidarity and co-operation.

“Let’s not try and find flaws unnecessarily. It is a new vision document. We as a society must embrace this and work towards making it work,” the educator said. However, she also said that there will be more clarity on the policy and its implementation once the standard operating procedure (SOP) is laid out.

The NEP, which was drafted by a panel of experts led by former Indian Space Research Organization chief K. Kasturirangan, was announced Wednesday. The policy underlines the importance of vocational education, universal access to education, breaking the stiff divide between arts and sciences besides focusing on regional languages.

Under the policy, India will also open its doors to foreign universities. The NEP proposes to set a new structure of grouping the learning pattern into 5+3+3+4 years instead 10+2 curricular covering children from the age of three..