Mangaluru: Educational policy should aim to imbibe constitutional values – Dr Sukumar Gowda

Mangaluru: Release of an Analytical Report and Recommendations on ‘New Education Policy’ was held at the Press club, Urva here on November 23.

Addressing the mediapersons Educationist Dr Sukumar Gowda said, “Education has always been important and it is crucial for the entire development process of a country, its welfare and progress. Progress is a continuous, never ending process. Advancements in a particular field of activity leads to opening other doors to proceed steadily towards progress. The Government of India drafted the education policy in 1986 and revised it in the year 1992. During these last 22 years, we have slowly but steadily marched on the road of planned progress. According to sources, the Government of India will formulate a new education policy in the month of December, 2015.

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Students Islamic Organisation of India organized around 19 discussions on the New Education Policy in different cities, conducted an online survey and consulted around 20 Educationists to draft recommendations for the new education policy.

The Draft Education Policy recommendations are categorized into School Education, Teacher Education, Vocationalization, Language Policy, Higher Education, and Technical Education and Research in Higher Education.

Specific Recommendations

School Education
• Educational policy should aim to imbibe constitutional values, particularly the four core principles of the constitution.
• The policy should aim to provide equitable quality education to all children without any stratification and discrimination.
• To achieve social inclusiveness and national integration, curriculum should reflect the plural culture of India. It should cultivate scientific temper.
• The policy should aim to provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 18 years.
• The new education policy should ensure that physical activities in school are promoted for the health and well-being of pupils.
• Mother tongue should be the medium of education in primary school.
• The new education policy should aim to address the issue of commercialization of education.
• Protection of environment & natural resources should be the major objective of school curriculum.
• Restructure and rebuild the Indian education system on the lines of the Neighborhood School System to ensure equitable and quality education to all children irrespective of their sex, caste, place of birth, social and economic status.

Teacher Education
• Undertake monitoring exercise in a mission mode across states to inspect teacher education institutes and make recommendations within a stipulated time frame.
• Assist states in developing realistic estimates of requirement of institutional capacity to meet the growing demand for professionally qualified teachers at all levels of school education.
• Take necessary steps to ensure that states augment institutional capacity for pre-service education through the expansion of the state system of DIETs and more importantly through the undergraduate system of higher education.
• All new teacher education institutes should not be stand-alone. They should be located in colleges of undergraduate studies and in universities. In a recent initiative, Bihar has invited undergraduate colleges of education in the state to offer teacher education programmes.
• Existing institutions that are essentially stand-alone will be required to make the transition within a stipulated time frame of a maximum of 3 years. Support will be required towards such a transition within each state.
• Deployment of faculty from departments of social sciences, sciences and other fields should be encouraged so that teacher education does not remain stand-alone even within undergraduate college and university campuses.

Higher Education
• Higher education should be focused in developing primarily the ‘core competence’, i.e. the skills necessary to live in a complex, very interacting and continuously changing society. Core competences are the capability of learning, listening, interacting, communicating, proactiveness, problem solving, understanding other cultures & religions, etc.
• Curricula and the teaching methods need to be changed and shaped for the new objectives. A greater flexibility in curricula is necessary, as well as more personalised interactions between students and teachers. Education must not remain a theoretical learning but the transfer of knowledge must be integrated with practical experience.
• Development of all young people is a national responsibility, be it in state run institutions or central institutions, and there cannot be any discrimination between the two. All benefits that are thought to be essential for a central university should be made available to the state universities (YPC 2009).
• Private initiatives in the field of Higher Education are not driven by the sole motive of profit. They should not confine themselves only to commercially viable sectors of education such as management, medicine & accounts but should also encompass areas of social and natural sciences by establishing comprehensive universities (YPC 2009).
• The system of higher education must recognise that there is bound to be diversity and pluralism in any system of higher education and avoid a uniform one size fits all approach.
• Universities should be required to revise or restructure curricula at least once in three years (NKC, 2006).
• Examinations, which test memory rather than understanding, should be supplemented with internal assessment system.
• We should nurture the tradition of philanthropic contributions through changes in incentives for universities.
• The UGC supports access & expansion by financing development of the central universities, recognition of new State Universities and Colleges, regulation of private and deemed to be universities & establishment of community colleges. According to UGC data, there are a total of 39671 Govt. & Private Colleges are functioning in the country (data 2013-14). There is a need to examine the match between requirement, expansion of Higher learning institutions & quality of these institutions.
• Since government financing will remain the cornerstone, government support for higher education should increase.
• There must be a well-funded & extensive National Scholarship Scheme targeting economically underprivileged and students from socially disadvantaged groups.
• The elements of infrastructure that support the teaching-learning process, such as laboratories, libraries and communication technology, need to be upgraded on a regular basis.
• The government must facilitate and fund more research in humanities and social sciences to educate people to foster personal and social growth.
• NEP should aim at enhancing equity & inclusion in higher education by establishing more higher learning institutions in minority and backward community dominated areas.

President of SIO Karnataka Labeed Shafi, Asst Professor, PA Engineering College Mohammad Rafeeq, Abdul Basith and Ashiq Hashash were also present.

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