Prime Minister Narendra Modi, delivering the inaugural address at the ”Conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under National Education Policy” on Friday said NEP 2020 will lay the foundation for a New India, and will prepare students for the future with the knowledge that will be needed for the 21st Century.

The conclave was organised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and University Grants Commission.

In his address, the PM Modi said the NEP has been widely welcomed adding that policy is being perceived as one having no bias towards any one area.

The Prime Minister further assured all his support in the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020.

Detailing on NEP, he said, “Under this policy, when today’s students will join tomorrow’s workplaces, it will help India grow and take the lead in many areas.”

“The focus will be on understanding the subject, its practical implementation, critical thinking and innovative thinking. When a student is equipped with this, then it helps a great deal in a growing India,” PM Modi added.

Stating that as India is today rising rapidly and has a standing in the world, he said, the government is aiming for the country’s students to be global citizens and have a global standard.

“While that is important, it is also important to have a connect with our Indian roots. Keeping all this in mind, this NEP has been introduced,” the Prime Minister said in his address.

Speaking on the introduction of teaching mother tongue or regional language, PM Modi said, “When students are taught in their mother tongue or regional language, their understanding of the subject becomes that much better. So, till class 5 learning in the mother tongue will help greatly. Once understanding of a subject is there, then the future is solid.”

Teaching up to class 5 in mother tongue or regional language and lowering the stakes of board exams are part of the sweeping reforms in the new NEP unveiled in late July.

The PM further said while the old policy focused on ‘what to think’, the new NEP focusses on ‘how to think’.

He said the Central government with the new policy is focusing on reducing the workload on a student and focus on what is needed at every stage.

“A student will have the freedom to study what they like and what they are interested in and are talented in. And hence they will be able to select the subjects that they will study after a certain stage,” the Prime Minister said detailing the advantages of the new education policy.

“Students who want to leave a subject or course midway and take up another course, that will also be allowed under a certain process,” he added.

The PM asserted that with NEP, students will understand how the labour force works and the dignity of labour. “This is extremely important to see the contribution of the labour force. Students will see and learn from it.”

He said, the NEP has a focus to empower everyone and reach out to the student at the end of the line and added that the new form of education will help cover all and transform the society in the times to come.

The NEP will also play an important role in merging education with research – both crucial areas, the Prime Minister said and added, that it “not only focuses on empowering the students, but also empower the institutions of higher education.”

Quoting Dr APJ Abdul Kalam saying that the purpose of education is to create good human beings with desired skills in a discipline, PM Modi said, “A student can be enlightened by a good teacher.”

He said NEP 2020 will also give great importance to the dignity of respect of teachers, and Teachers’ training will have a big focus in this policy. “When a teacher is empowered, a nation leads.”

Concluding his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the NEP will also ensure that India’s talent base stays and contributes to take India to new heights. “This policy will play a great role in giving direction to India over the next century,” he asserted.

The Union Cabinet on July 29 gave its approval to a new National Education Policy aimed to bring about several changes in the education system from the school to college level.

Outcomes of the National Education Policy will be universalisation of education from primary to secondary by 2030, attaining foundational learning and numeracy skills by 2025, 100 per cent gross enrolment ratio by 2030, and two crore school children joining back.

It will also include preparation of teachers for assessment reforms by 2023, an inclusive education system by 2030, board exams only to test core concepts, and instilling at least one vocational skill in every child.

The key highlights of the New Education Policy is use of technology in teaching, learning and assessment, a single regulator for higher education, graded autonomy for colleges, and phasing out of the affiliation system in 15 years.

It also includes formation of the National Research Foundation, internationalisation of education and multiple entry and exit for students and an academic bank of credit.

The major reforms in school education includes universalisation of early childhood care education, setting up of a national mission on foundational literacy and numeracy, 5+3+3+4 circular and pedological structure and no rigid separation between arts and sciences.

Students will be taught coding from class 6, there will be vocational integration from class 6 as against from secondary level, and a gender inclusion fund for girl child development. Board examination will now be low stake and based on knowledge application.

The policy also mandates the medium of instruction till at least class 5 and preferably till class 8 and beyond in home or regional language, and 360 degree holistic report card – by children, by classmates and teachers.

Besides this, PARAKH – Performance, Assessment, Review and Analysis for Holistic Development – will form the standard, norm and guidelines for the schools so that it reaches the benchmark. Schools will have transparent online systems for self-disclosure for public oversight and accountability.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) will offer a common entrance exam for admission to higher education institutes, and a National Professional Standard for teachers to be prepared by the NCERT and the NCTE.

Meanwhile, educators across the country have lauded the National Education Policy (NEP) approved by the Union Cabinet for introducing many reformations in the Indian education system after 34 years.

Following the announcement of the policy, PM Modi on August 1 rew his weight behind NEP 2020 amid critique from certain quarters of the opposition including the Aam Aadmi Party.

Claiming that the NEP aims to increase enrollment ratio to 50 per cent by 2035, the Prime Minister said that it will turn job seekers into job creators.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has also been renamed as the Ministry of Education.