The National Education Policy that replaces a 34-year-old system of education in India has not raised concerns about bias towards any one area and that's a "heartening" matter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today.
"The old policy focused on what to think, but the new National Education Policy focuses on how to think. This is a significant difference," the Prime Minister said at the inaugural address at the "Conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education" under the National Education Policy (NEP).
The NEP, approved by the cabinet at a meeting presided by PM Modi, replaces India's 34-year-old education policy and is aimed at paving the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems.
"Today, there are views and opinions coming from all across the India (on NEP). People are sharing their thoughts on this. It has been widely welcomed and one thing that has been observed is that no one is saying this policy is biased towards any one area... that is a great thing, a heartening thing. Now everyone's focus is on how this will be implemented," PM Modi said.
One of the main thrusts of the NEP is the recommendation that students should be taught in their mother tongue or regional language till Class 5.
"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," PM Modi said.
However, some educationists and states like Tamil Nadu have expressed concerns over the language move. Parents who have to move from state to state due to job transfers have also raised concerns.
The three-language formula in the new NEP is "painful and saddening", Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said last week, as he vowed not to implement the new policy. "Tamil Nadu will never allow centre's three language policy. The three language policy in the New Education is painful and saddening. The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) should reconsider the three-language policy," the Chief Minister said in a statement.
Among the key moves in the NEP are choice between three- or four-year undergraduate courses, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses and adding 3.5 crore seats in higher education institutions with a single regulator to oversee them. MPhil programmes have been scrapped.
The policy proposes a "single overarching umbrella body for higher education" that will replace autonomous bodies like the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).