Post Mortem

National Education Policy, 2020: Nagaland context

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/6/2021 1:05:51 PM IST

 Indian philosophy of education drew its bases from Vedic and Brahmanic virtues of life. The continuum of evolution of educational thoughts of many Indian philosophers provided the direction of higher ideals of life through the one and only instrument of education. The nucleus centres of education like Gurukuls got transformed into inclusive education much later. Making education relevant and useful to Indian masses is a consistent endeavour till today.

British India education did things for both good and bad for India. Good being opening of more liberal schools, and the bad being uprooting indigenous values of education. When the British came to India they found Indian education system worth close observation. To do that they uprooted the educational plant, lifted it to their face, had a closer look at it and left it exposed just like that instead of putting it back to the soil; and thus, the tree of education was left to be withered under the sun. British-India education system aimed at grooming a group of higher class who would form an elite group to be used in the affairs of the British administration. The sole aim of it was to rein in the masses by the Indians themselves.

Language Policy:

Through the Charter Act of 1813, the East India Company took to itself the responsibility for education of Indians. Lord Macaulay recommended teaching Indian scholars in English language, on the other hand, people like Princep, a British official, advanced his opinion in favour of Indian languages for transaction of education. But his proposal was repudiated by Lord William Bentinck. The entire library for indigenous Indian education was not worth a single shelf of Western library.(In my own rendition). That was the Anglicists’ statement. 

Post Colonial education tried to making education relevant to every section of people. Constitutional provisions on education guaranteed equal opportunities for every citizen of the nation. Economic, social, religious and cultural diversity of India, and sensitivity to such realities was amply reflected. Regional diversity on the nature of challenges and needs was kind of addressed in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976, wherein, education was placed in the Concurrent List.  By this Amendment states were allowed a space for modulating their circumstantial needs while adhering to the National core curriculum framework. One example of such provision is allowing the inclusion of local topics and issues nearer to the child’s environment and experiences in the curriculum. Castes and class system-induced discrimination continued to be the reason for educational inequality, and the vision for all-round progress of the nation remained just rhetoric. Therefore, to ensure justice in education, it was made a Fundamental right in the 1986 amendment of the Constitution. Violation of this right is punishable offense.  

Language issue in education is not new. Three-language policy was an old enshrinement in Indian education policy, in which Hindi is de facto compulsory. Non-Hindi speaking states in Indian Republic, including Nagaland, now have no option out but implement the Three Language Policy upto Grade 8 i.e. local/regional language, Hindi and English. at least one other language out of the many options such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odiya, Pali, Persian and Prakrit. Foreign languages, such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish. Etc. will be offered at the Secondary level.

On Mother Language, most of the Naga tribes have no standardized literature. This particular issue will be a road block to students’ academic achievement. Ura Academy has made a tremendous efforts in the development of Tenyide up to Post-Graduation level. The Sumis, the Lothas and the Aos have made minor progress in the development of study materials up to undergraduate level. The wide diversity of tribal languages in Nagaland is overwhelming in terms of appointing Language teachers, printing and publishing of school textbooks. Appointment of Language Officers (LOs) for at least the recognized tribes is foreseeable necessity for what it ought to be. Coordination of various Language Officers with their respective literature boards will be a must thing to paving way for undisputed adoption of the literature of text books. 

Classroom interaction up to Elementary i.e. Grade 8 is to be made in home language, meaning Mother tongue. The importance of Mother tongue is to be appreciated for its positive results. The first language at home is natal language, through this language the child is exposed to his immediate environment, and the child gets to understand his universe in relation to the existence of others of his kind. Teaching in the child’s own language at the elementary stage has the overarching importance in learning and retention. Next to the home, the language of a child’s peer group is mother tongue, and by the time the child walks to the classroom she feels at home when talked to in her mother language. Added advantage of mother tongue in lower stages of education is facilitating the sense of ease and fun while the concept of the content is comprehended joyfully. 

Our next target as we go up the higher rung of education is proficiency in the language of competitions.  Language skill is the language of one’s profession. The power of expression is vitally important, and that is both the beauty of speaking and writing. And therefore, mastery of language skill in both the expressions has unparallel advantages. In the context of our state, for now and the years ahead English will be our main tool of domestic and professional language. 

For clarification once again, on the primacy of mother language and English in education, formation of basic concept of the universe of a child is best achieved in one’s own mother tongue. Once the concept - both abstract and concrete, are comprehended and internalized, it can get along meaningfully through the continued interactions and analyses. Having acquired the conceptual framework of subject matter, the next need is to translate the knowledge into verbal and written articulation to the satisfaction of self and the people. Usefulness of the knowledge acquired is the main objective of education. Precisely, learning through mother tongue is advocated for in-depth understanding, and English is sine-qua non for professional proficiency. 

Equitability Of Education:

Equitability has been a consistent policy of education in India. In the context of our state there is no implicit or explicit exclusion in the enrolment at any stage. Education is inclusive and that sounds good. There is widespread availability of Primary and Elementary schools in every nook and corner of the state. The core issue here is the management of the available schools in the state. Absenteeism and proxy culture has vitiated the very objective of Primary education. VEC’s are rendered powerless owing to influences and obligations. Inoperative VEC’s are hardly revamped. Village schools no longer retain students. Many schools have more number of teachers than students’ enrolment. Quality education has gone compromised irreparably. The restructured pattern into a 5+3+3+4 corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11- 14, and 14-18 years respectively has in mind the development of mental faculty of children of this crucial age group. 

Quality Education:

Holistic education is the catchword of the 21st century. Skilling children and the youth consists the sole aim of the new education policy. The new world order needs the generation of critical thinkers, the inventors and innovators. India is now seriously vying for world power in knowledge resources. Skill is money, and robust economy is nurtured in the classroom. Let us go back to our village schools. The charm of the noises of those days are gone, the cheers of natural and spontaneous choruses have turned into silent and solemn places. Government schools with better salaries and better qualified have somehow slipped into a nonchalant entity. The new system of education ought to be envisioning two indispensable objectives vigorously i.e. universal enrolment and quality output. Losing the enrolment in Government Primary schools is a huge loss for the department. On the other side, parents are faced with untold financial difficulties. Insincerity and absence of devotion to attending classes has adversely and definitely affected the quality of Government-run Primary schools. Family economy is put in dire straits as parents are to migrate with children to urban schools, which they do without any means of sustenance.

Ensuring Universal Enrolment:

Ten years from now i.e. by 2030, every state must have 100% enrolment of children in schools. VECs will have to be fully empowered and responsible for 100% retention of those enrolled in the school. The role of VECs imply impartial application of rules and guidelines in matters of ensuring the attendance of teachers. Gao Burahs must stand firm on ensuring regularity of teachers in their village schools, and must not compromise in any manner, for active functioning of school in the village.

Getting Tougher:

True to the objective of quality Higher education, it is not only aspired and desired, but getting truly tougher in the NEP  and its practice. Some major changes are:

- Stand alone Higher education institute will move to multi-disciplined colleges and universities.   

- National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) will be set up as a standard setting body for setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognized school boards of India. Guiding the State Achievement Survey (SAS), and undertaking the National Achievement Survey (NAS), and monitoring achievement of learning outcomes. 

- Promotion of teachers will be decided by merit of performance. Periodic performance appraisal will be put in place.

- Pre-entry qualification for teaching in college and university will be a Ph. D degree and or above.

- State-wide body , State School Standards Authority (SSSA) will be set up to oversee school administration for accountability.

- SCERTs will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders. 

- Public and private schools will be assessed and accredited on the same criteria, benchmark and processes, emphasizing online and offline public disclosure and transparency.

- Undergraduate degree will be of 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications – a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a bachelor’s degree after 3 year programme. The 4-year multi-disciplinary Bachelors’s programme will be the preferred option since it allows the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choices of the student.

- Motivated, energized, and Capable Faculty. NEP-2020 recognizes that the success of higher education institutions is the quality and engagement of its faculty. HEIs will have clearly defined, independent,  and transparent processes and criteria for faculty recruitment.

- Regulatory Body like University Grants Commission (UGC) will be re-named as Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC), National Accreditation Council (NAC).

- For Teacher Education like B.Ed. will be offered at multi-disciplinary institutions.

- By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree that teaches a range of knowledge content and pedagogy and includes strong practicum training in the form of student-teaching at local schools.

Dr. K. Nishena Nekha, Principal, Zunheboto Govt. College. 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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