Vivek Prakash, Co-founder & CEO, Codingal

Vivek is a Co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Codingal, an online coding platform for K-12 (school) kids. He co-founded Codingal with IIT Dhanbad alumnus Satyam Baranwal in September 2020, with a mission is to help children fall in love with coding at a young age. The platform has already empowered over 100,000 kids by motivating them to start learning coding via competitions. Before Codingal, Vivek co-founded HackerEarth in 2012 and served as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). HackerEarth is one of the largest platforms for computer science students and software engineers to participate in coding competitions and online hackathons. Today, HackerEarth is a household name in the developer community.

Last year, the Union Cabinet of India passed the National Education Policy 2020, which replaced the 30-year-old National Education Policy 1986. The NEP 2020 was widely celebrated for being progressive, inclusive, and miles ahead in its vision. However, it’s important to ask how effective the policy and its implementation has been in the first year after its launch.

In the last 30 years, the government has taken significant corrective steps to bring in the necessary changes to our education system but none of the policies were able to create an impact at the national level. The only significant development since the NEP 1986 has been the ‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009’, which laid down the legal structure for achieving universal elementary education.

The NEP 2020 is the first education policy that aims to address the many growing developmental imperatives in the education sector in our country. The policy establishes a children-centric pedagogy and has an ambitious goal of transforming the education system in India by the year 2040.

It’s been a year since the implementation of NEP 2020, let’s find out what are the most significant Hits, Misses &, discuss the Way-forward for the education system in India,

Hits

Making early education more inclusive

The NEP 2020 replaced the 10+2 structure in school education. It modified it with a new pedagogical and curricular restructuring of 5+3+3+4 covering ages from 3 to 18 years, aiming to build a strong base for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).

The NEP 2020 provides inclusion and provision for learning newer and emerging technologies, bringing in a much-needed change to the Indian education system. The biggest reform introduced in the NEP is the initiation of coding classes for school children from Grade 6 onwards. A year on, it is clear that this farsighted move has already set India on a path of growth and success.

Establishing the National Research Foundation (NRF)

One of the top agenda of NEP 2020 was the establishment of the ‘National Research Foundation’ (NRF); to promote in-house research institutes and create a research ecosystem. Subsequently in the Union Budget 2021-22, an outlay of INR 50,000 crores was allocated for the National Research Foundation (NRF) which shall be given over the period of five years.

Misses

Scanty adoption by state governments

India has a federal governing structure where Central and State governments enjoy separate legal authority over different departments. In a country as vast as ours, passing an amendment is one thing and ensuring its implementation at a holistic level is a different ball game altogether.

Even after one year of the passing of NEP 2020, only 2 States in India have ensured its implementation; namely Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Such a slow rate of implementation by the state governments is hampering the overall development to be felt at the national level.

Long-term goals for NEP                                         

NEP 2020 aims to transform the education system in India by the year 2040. That is roughly 20 years from today. A better strategy would be to target short-term quantifiable goals coupled with timely reviews. This will help to take corrective diversions and head towards achieving the desired targets.

Shortage of quality teaching workforce 

Although the policy proposes the minimum teacher education degree requirement to be changed from a two-year B.Ed degree to a four-year B.Ed program, by 2030, not much impetus is given to the quality of education especially when it comes to teaching newer methodology. The need is to equip teachers with new teaching methodologies as per international standards along with emerging technologies.

The way forward

For NEP 2020 to become a success and deliver the intended outcome, major priority needs to be given to improve the adaptation and implementation of the policy at a National level. It is imperative to ensure a nation-wide adoption of the policy to simultaneously reach out to the majority of the population.

Regular training and development courses for the teachers should be made compulsory, and that should be at par with the international standards of education. Internal teams should prioritize establishing short-term targets coupled with yearly and half-yearly reviews. This would prove beneficial in achieving the cumulative larger goal of the policy.

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