A grant has been offered to create umbrella structures in education budget in nine cities across the country and Jammu & Kashmir need to have one Umbrella Structure for joint monitoring, vigilant planning and collaborative implementation of New Education Policy 2020. Hon’ble Lt. Governor Shri Manoj Sinha Ji on NEP 2020, besides quoting Nelson Mandela, said, education can breed prosperity, peace and harmony in the society if we use this tool efficiently and effectively. This is the time we need to make initiatives for such tools and set up dedicated Functional Education Council for monitoring and implementation of NEP-2020 to achieve envisaged objectives and to set the existing system right.
Hon’ble Minister for Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Ji has recently recommended for constituting a Task Force for coordinating of NEP implementation between higher education and school education departments to facilitate the smooth transition of students from school education to higher education. This policy, if implemented well in time can move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education which would prepare young generation for diverse jobs which they may take up over their lifetimes. Another important aspect of Education Budget will be to focus on research and development, which need to be strengthen in the UT too. We earlier requested to have one multidisciplinary institution – Srinagar Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology (SAINT), in the valley of saints to cater to the research needs of all Universities and Medical Colleges of the valley. In budget, out of 15000 Model schools which will act as a mentor and model for NEP implementation, Jammu & Kashmir need to set up at least 30 School Complexes in each district as a model in phased manner. We need to have strong will power to accomplish our goals and we have tremendous capabilities and can imagine new possibilities. Will power is a combination of courage and determination and it has been observed scientifically that this power can be strengthened and increased. Many of our officials at the helm of affairs are blessed by this virtue.
Better than Standardized Aptitude Test (STA), we have been able to set up National Testing Agency (NTA), for conducting Common Entrance Tests for Professional Courses of the country. A young institution conducting examinations of aptitude and subject knowledge based test in many languages working round the clock is gaining credibility and trustworthiness. Thousands of colleges and hundreds of universities each were devising their own entrance examinations; NTA has been performing beyond our imagination under one umbrella– thereby drastically reducing the burden on students and the entire education system. It needs to be further strengthened to conduct all Board and University examination, the States and Union Territories have to provide infrastructure only for online and offline examination, abolishing the terms “Controllers of Examinations”.
If NEP 2020 is implemented on priority, the new norms of the policy will reduce regulatory hassles, promote autonomy and benefit students and education providers. Granting autonomy, constituting Board of Governors (BOGs) of institutions/ universities is blessing provided members of the Board need to be imaginative, visionary and above all daring. The emphasis on concepts, ideas, innovations, research applications and problem-solving can make learning enjoyable and engaging through this policy. It will help our students to develop scientific temper, creativity, the spirit of service and 21st century capabilities across the range of disciplines. The science education is must and it should teach students the scientific method to differentiate between good science and pseudo-science. Apart from above the state government shall go for partnership up to class 5th with private education providers, giving them a helping hand in establishing language and mathematics laboratories. Many bright brains from adjoining areas of Ladakh, few of them in NIT Srinagar, it is a visionary initiative of the government to establish Central University in Leh to make higher education accessible to them.
Dr M A Shah is Associate Professor, P.G Department of Physics, National Institute of Technology Srinagar (NIT Srinagar)