Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha hopes that the youth in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) will emerge as catalysts of a nation-wide change on account of their talent in diversified fields.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a land of extremely talented people. The youth of J&K have excelled in every field. Today, when we are witnessing a new dawn in Jammu and Kashmir, we want the youth of this state to be the pioneers of change. And, I think the new Education Policy will help them realize their true potential and make their dreams come true”, Mr Sinha said on Monday while addressing a conference on the National Education Policy-2020.
“In the National Education Policy-2020, the development of skills, experience-based learning and rationality with special focus on issues like accessibility, equality, quality, affordability and accountability of education attention has also been given to encourage critical thinking”, Sinha asserted at the conference on ‘Role of NEP-2020 in Transforming Higher Education’.
The conference had President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides Union Minister for Education, Romesh Pokhriyal, Governors and Lieutenant Governors, Education Ministers of States, Chairman, Committee for Drafting New Education Policy and Vice Chancellors of different universities.
“We live in an era where research and innovation are the keys to success and development. We want to make Jammu and Kashmir the centre of knowledge, enterprise, innovation and skill development”, Sinha emphasised. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to make India self-reliant. This is possible only when we make our youth self-reliant. And vocational training will play an important role in this regard” he asserted.
According to the LG, there is a general but flawed belief that vocational education is inferior to mainstream education. He said, “The new education policy aims to change this perception and for this, it has been said to teach vocational subjects from Sixth Standard itself”. “With the new education policy, we will empower our youth so that they contribute significantly in nation-building”, he affirmed.
Pertinently, earlier in a meeting with Vice-Chancellors of the universities across J&K on August 14, Sinha had asked them to prepare a roadmap for bringing qualitative improvement in the overall functioning of the universities and adopt J&K-centric changes as per NEP-2020.
Including the University of Kashmir, the University of Jammu, two universities of agriculture sciences and technology, two Central Universities and two Cluster Universities, one each in Kashmir and Jammu, there are 11 universities in Jammu and Kashmir. In addition to that, the super-specialty hospital Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) is a deemed university which conducts PG courses and post-doctorate specialisations in medicine and surgery.
Underlining the importance of integrated development of children, Sinha suggested that extracurricular activities such as NSS, NCC, sports and music needed to be made part of the curriculum so as to enable the students to benefit from these activities.
Sinha observed that NEP-2020 could be effectively implemented if institutions were given freedom to redefine teaching positions as per need. He stressed on the need to lay special emphasis on students’ feedback on teaching. The students’ feedback, he asserted, was globally practised as it would lend perspective to the teaching of pedagogical standards and practices of the universities.
“Universities may be asked to explain how they have used students’ feedback. If they do not have this practice, they must implement it in a generic manner. The NAAC assessment requires this but universities tend to not implement this seriously, worrying that it could be misused against the teachers”, he added.
Sinha greeted the Prime Minister and the Government of India for approving NEP-2020, which has replaced the 34-year-old National Education Policy. He also complimented the Prime Minister for renaming the Ministry of Human Resource Development as the Ministry of Education.
“I personally believe that education is the biggest catalyst for change. When education is the guiding force behind human development, humans are no longer limited to a 'resource'. They become ‘assets’ for the society”, he maintained. He said that education, as a holistic approach, broadly focused on the development of human consciousness, while education in terms of human resource development looked to be just a means to employment.
“This journey of becoming assets from mere resources is possible only when we ensure value-based education to our children. To understand your value system, you need to understand your roots, your tradition and rich cultural heritage, and to understand all these, you should know your mother tongue. The importance given to the mother tongue in the new National Education Policy will help our youth in this regard”, he added.