New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the new education policy announced by the government emphasises on making 'job creators' instead of 'job seekers' and is an attempt to transform the 'intent' and 'content' of the country's education system.
Addressing the finale of the Smart India Hackathon, he said the National Education Policy-2020 facilitates inter-disciplinary study which will ensure that the focus is on what the students want to learn and will mark a shift from the "burden of school bag" to the "boon of learning".
The NEP is big on access to education and aims to increase gross enrolment ratio in higher education to 50 percent by 2035, he said.
"India's National Education Policy (NEP) reflects the spirit of new India. We are shifting from the burden of the school bag, which does not last beyond school, to the boon of learning which helps for life. From simply memorising to critical thinking. The 21st century is the era of knowledge, learning, and innovation. For years, the limitations of the system had an adverse effect on the lives of students. No longer," he said.
"The new policy reflects the aspirations of young India. It is not process centric, it is people centric and future centric. The NEP is not just a policy but is a compilation of aspirations of all 130 crore Indians," he told the students who participated in the event through video link.
The prime minister said that under the pressure of parents, relatives and friends, students tend to opt for subjects that others have selected.
"Even today many children feel that they are judged on the basis of a subject in which they have no interest. Due to the pressure from parents, relatives, friends etc children are forced to pursue the subjects chosen by others. This has resulted in a large population which is well-educated, but most of what they have read, is not useful for them," he further stated.
"Despite having a pile of degrees, individuals feel incomplete and lack confidence which affects their whole life. The new policy seeks to change this approach by bringing a systematic reform in education system and attempts to transform both intent and content of education," he said.
Elaborating on the emphasis in the new education policy on inter-disciplinary study, the Prime Minister said,"this concept has been gaining popularity. And, rightly so."
"One size does not fit all. One subject does not define who you are. There are no limits to discovering something new. Human history has many examples of stalwarts who have excelled in diverse areas. Be it Aryabhata, Leonardo da Vinci, Helen Keller, Gurudev Tagore," he said.
"Now, we have done away with some traditional boundaries between arts, science, commerce. If someone is interested, they can learn Maths and Music together, or Coding and Chemistry together. This will ensure the focus is on what the student wants to learn. Rather than what the student is expected to, by society. Inter-disciplinary studies gives you control. In the process, it also makes you flexible. In the new policy, flexibility has been given great importance. There are provisions for multiple entry and exits. No one-way streets for a student. The Under-Graduate experience can either be a three or four-year journey." he said.
Students will enjoy the advantages of an Academic Bank of Credit, which will store all the academic credits acquired. These can be transferred and counted in the final degree. Such flexibility was long needed in our education system, he said.
The prime minister said the new education policy will help Indian languages to progress and develop further. "Students will benefit by learning in their own language in their early years. The new education policy will also introduce the rich Indian languages to the world. This will not only promote knowledge and learning in the country, but will also strengthen its unity.
"While the policy focuses on local, equal emphasis has been laid on global integration. Top global institutions have been encouraged to open campuses in India. "This will benefit Indian youth in getting world class exposure and opportunities, and help them prepare for global competition as well. This will also help in building world-class institutions in India, making India a hub of global education," he said.
The NEP approved by the Union Cabinet earlier this week replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education framed in 1986 and is aimed at paving the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems to make India a global knowledge superpower.
Quoting the architect of the Indian Constitution BR Ambedkar that education should be accessible to all, Modi said that the new education policy is also dedicated to this idea."It emphasizes on creating job creators rather than job seekers. That is, in a way an attempt to bring reform in our mindset and in our approach," he said.
Hackathon is a non-stop digital product development competition organised by the HRD Ministry, where problems are posed to technology students to suggest innovative solutions. This year, more than 10,000 students are competing to solve 243 problem statements from 37 central government departments, 17 state governments and 20 industries.
Each problem statement carries a prize money of Rs 1 lakh except the student innovation theme which will have three winners, 1st, 2nd and 3rd, with prize money of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.