August 4, 2020
Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent & leadership on the global stage. Universal high-quality education is the best way forward for developing & maximizing India’s rich talents & resources. India will have the highest population of young people in the world over the next decade, and its ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities will determine the future of the country.
The world is undergoing rapid changes in the knowledge landscape, With dramatic scientific & technological advances such as the rise of big data, machine learning & artificial intelligence, many unskilled jobs worldwide may be taken over by machines while the need for a skilled workforce in areas such as mathematics, computer science, data science, climate science, biology, chemistry, physics, agriculture, social sciences & humanities will be increasingly in demand. The growing emergence of pandemics will also call for collaborative research in infectious disease management & development of vaccines, and this calls for a need for multidisciplinary learning.
Education thus, must move towards less content & more about learning about how to think critically & solve problems, how to be creative & multidisciplinary, innovate, adapt & absorb new material in novel & changing fields. It must develop all aspects & capabilities of learners & make education more well-rounded, useful & fulfilling to the learner, and of course individuals for gainful employment.
It was in this context that the gap between the current state of learning outcomes & what is required was felt by the Indian government. Hence, major reforms have been announced right from early child-care to higher education. The aim is for India to have an education system second to none by 2040, with equitable access to the highest quality education for all learners regardless of social or economic background.
The fundamental principles that will guide the new education system & individual institutions are as follows :
- Recognizing, identifying & fostering the unique capabilities of each student by sensitizing teachers as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic & non-academic spheres
- According the highest priority to achieving Foundational literacy & Numeracy by all students by Grade 3
- Flexibility, so that learners have the ability to choose their learning trajectories & programs, and thereby choose their own paths in life according to their talents & interests
- No hard separations between arts & sciences, between curricular & extra-curricular activities, between vocational & academic streams, etc in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies & silos between different areas of learning
- Multidisciplinary & a holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and sports for a multidisciplinary eco-system, in order to ensure the unity & integrity of all knowledge
- Emphasis on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning & learning from exams
- Promoting creative & critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making & innovation
- Promoting Ethics and human & constitutional values
- Promoting multilingualism & the power of language in teaching & learning
- Promoting Life skills such as communication, cooperation, teamwork & resilience
- Focus on regular formative assessment for learning, rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s coaching culture
- Extensive use of technology in teaching & learning and removing language barriers
- Respect for diversity & respect for the local context in all curriculum, pedagogy and policy
- Full equity & inclusion as the cornerstone of all educational decisions
- Synergy in curriculum across all levels of education
- Teachers & faculty at the heart of the learning process – their recruitment, CPD, positive working environments & service conditions
- A ‘light but tight’ regulatory framework, while encouraging innovation & out-of-the-box ideas
- Outstanding research as a corequisite for outstanding education & development
- Continuous review of progress based on sustained research & regular assessment by education experts
- A rootedness & pride in India
- Education is a public service – access to quality education must be considered a basic right of every child
- Substantial investment in a strong, vibrant public education system