FOSA webinar delves deep into India’s New Education Policy

FOSA webinar delves deep into India’s New Education Policy
FOSA webinar delves deep into India’s New Education Policy

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details FOSA webinar delves deep into India’s New Education Policy in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - By Hassan Cheruppa

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — A recent webinar organized by the Jeddah Chapter of the Farook College Old Students’ Association (FOSA) had an in depth and critical analysis of India’s New Education Policy (NEP). Muralee Thummarukudy, chief of Disaster Risk Reduction in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and Rashmitha Ramachandran, senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, were the main speakers.

Highlighting the salient features of NEP, they hailed the major reforms that are going to be implemented in the pivotal education sector after a gap of nearly three and a half decades. The speakers also called for addressing some serious concerns raised from various corners with regard to the omissions and commissions in the policy.

FOSA Jeddah Chapter President Ashraf Meleveettil presided over the meeting. Farook College is the largest government-aided, autonomous residential post-graduate institution in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

In his keynote address, Thummarukudy, an internationally renowned expert in disaster response, observed that though the policy is absorbing some of the best models in the world, most of these models had been introduced in many parts of the world long time ago.

“The NEP would have been a revolutionary one if it had been brought in 30 years ago as many of the things in the policy had been introduced by many advanced countries a couple of decades ago,” he said.

Thummarukudy cited that there are many key elements in the policy that are beneficial for students and are instrumental in helping colleges and universities thrive.

Referring to its advantages for students, he said that the policy gives students more mobility with the freedom to transfer from one college and university to another, as well as to pursue their studies in major along with vocational courses of their choice.

He said that one of the major advantages of the policy is the proposal to introduce a National Academic Bank of Credit where students can benefit from the credit transfer system in their learning process and facilitate mobility of students between institutions without losing their accumulated learning credit.

“There are around 800 universities in India where it is very difficult for the transfer of students from one to another. The new policy will put an end to this with the launch of the bank following the pattern of the Bologna Process that promotes intergovernmental cooperation between 48 European countries in the field of higher education,” he said, noting that this mechanism helped Europe to make higher education more inclusive, accessible, attractive and competitive worldwide.

Thummarukudy noted that giving thrust to digital learning in the policy could be counterproductive in achieving the lofty goals of education in realizing the students’ holistic development.

“Education is not simply learning some subjects and acquisition of knowledge but also socialization of youngsters that cannot be achieved by the digital education alone.

“The more important aspect is that teachers shall always be there as role models helping their socialization and over all mentors of personality development along with facilitators in acquisition of knowledge rather than simply following the 600-year old role as a repository of knowledge,” he said.

Among the advantages of NEP include creation of a uniform national testing agency to conduct standardized test in the pattern of Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and taking into account of other factors apart from performance in tests for university admission, he said.

Thummarukudy spoke in detail about the structural changes that would be brought about by the new education policy. “The new policy will bring about substantial transformation and comprehensive reorganization in the entire structure of learning process covering undergraduate and graduate courses, educational institutions and their autonomy, as well as in the regulatory system with the creation of an apex body of the Higher Education Council.”

Referring to the concerns raised, he said that the policy would be implemented after comprehensive multilevel deliberations and review within a span of five years. Referring to myriad challenges, he doubted the possibility of achieving the goal of the policy to enable students to acquire three languages before eight years of age at a time when there are an estimated 100,000 single-teacher schools in the country.

“The policy is an idealistic one but its modus operandi is crucial. The policy came too late, but it is most welcome as it brings about massive changes in this vital sector,” he said.

Earlier, inaugurating the Zoom session, Rashmitha Ramachandran cautioned that all the stakeholders should be vigilant against defective implementation of the policy in way infringing on equal opportunities and other basic tenets of India’s constitution, federalism and pluralism.

“The thrust in the policy for digitization triggers concerns about equal opportunity for all in education and negation of opportunities for the underprivileged classes as there is no access to electricity in around 200,000 villages out of the total 600,000 villages in the country. It could also lead to surrendering the education sector to corporate forces in the name of digitization,” she said.

Though education is in the concurrent list, imposition of dictates on the part of the central government would contravene the spirit of federalism, Rashmitha said, citing the example that state governments are forced to comply with the national disaster management act even though public health is in the total jurisdiction of the state as per the constitution of the country.

She also shared the concerns over the fate of minority educational institutions, as well as that of languages like Tamil, Pali and Arabic while implementing the policy and imposing the hegemonic role of Hindi. “There are also concerns about an impending move for mysterious mixing of modern science with the ancient Indian mythology,” she added.

In his concluding remarks, Dr. Ismail Maritheri of King Abdulaziz University underscored the need for absorbing the best elements of the new policy and addressing the apprehensions pertaining to the loopholes in the policy and its fair approach to stakeholders in the country.

“Inculcating the core values of humanity, pluralism, tolerance and coherence in the younger generation shall be pivotal in leading the nation and people into an enlightened era of educational uplift and peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Earlier, FOSA Jeddah General Secretary Zahid Koyappathodi welcomed the gathering and Treasurer Nasser Feroke proposed the vote of thanks. Basheer Ambalavan, C H. Basheer, Ameer Ali, Ashraf Komu, Saleh Kavot, Rasak master, Iqbal CK Pallikkal, Salam Chaliyam, Adv. Shamsudheen, K.M. Mohammad Haneefa, Haris Thoonichery, Suneer and Moidhu Palayat were among the organizers of the event. Liaqat Kotta was the master of ceremony.

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