The new National Education Policy (NEP) will give due importance to every language in the country, doing justice to students and forcing those who do politics over language for spreading hate to shut shop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.
Delivering the inaugural address at an event to mark the third anniversary of the launch of the NEP, Modi said judging students on the basis of their language instead of their capabilities is the biggest injustice to them.
"The National Educational Policy will give due respect and credit to every language in the country.... Those who do politics over language for their selfish interests to run their 'nafrat ki dukaan' (business of spreading hate) will now have to shut shop," the prime minister said.
"Education in the mother tongue is initiating real justice for the young talent in India. It is also a very significant step towards social justice," he said at the "Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Samagam".
Taking note of the multitude of languages in the world and their importance, the prime minister underlined that several developed countries have got an edge owing to their focus on local languages.
Giving the example of Europe, he said most countries make use of their own native languages. Modi lamented that even though India has an array of established languages, they were presented as a sign of backwardness and those who cannot speak English were neglected and their talent was not recognised.
"What can be more unfortunate than this... Children in the rural areas were the most affected. The country has now begun to shun this inferiority complex with the advent of the NEP. Even at the United Nations, I speak in Indian language," he added.
Modi underlined that subjects ranging from social science to engineering will now be taught in Indian languages. "When the students are confident in a language, their skills and talent will emerge fully," he said.
The prime minister said the world is looking at India as a nursery of new possibilities and several countries are approaching the government for setting up Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campuses there.
"The world is looking at India as a nursery of new possibilities. Many countries are approaching us to open IIT campuses there. Two IIT campuses - one in Tanzania and one in Abu Dhabi - are already about to start operations.... Various global universities are also reaching out to us, expressing their interest in setting up campuses in India," he said.
Modi said the NEP aims at making India a hub of research and innovation and has given equal importance to traditional knowledge systems and futuristic technology.
He also asked schools to make students aware of subjects such as disaster management, climate change and clean energy.
During the programme, the prime minister released the first instalment of funds under the PM SHRI scheme.
The schools under the scheme will nurture students in a way that they become engaged, productive and contributing citizens for building an equitable, inclusive and pluralistic society, as envisaged under the NEP.
The prime minister also released education and skill curriculum books translated into 12 Indian languages.
The two-day Akhil Bhartiya Shiksha Samagam is being held at Bharat Mandapam at the old Pragati Maidan here.
The prime minister highlighted the steps for integrating vocational education with general education and the ways of making education more interesting and interactive.
Pointing out that the facility of labs and practicals were limited to a handful of schools earlier, he threw light on Atal Tinkering Labs where more than 75 lakh students are learning about science and innovation.
"Science is simplifying itself for everyone. It is these young scientists that will shape the future of the country by leading significant projects and turning India into a research hub of the world. Any reform requires courage, and the presence of courage leads to the birth of new possibilities," Modi said.
The prime minister gave examples of software technology and space tech and said that it is not easy to compete with India's capability. Speaking about defence technology, the prime minister said that India's model of "low cost" and "best quality" is sure to be a hit.
Modi emphasised that "building capable youth is the biggest guarantee of building a strong nation" and parents and teachers play a major role in that.
"I appeal to teachers and parents to prepare students for confident curiosity and flights of imagination. We have to keep an eye on the future and think with a futuristic mindset. We have to free the children from the pressure of books”, he said.
The National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the government in August 2020, replaced the 34-year-old National Policy on Education. It aims to pave the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems to make India a global knowledge superpower.
Teaching up to Class 5 in the mother tongue or regional language, lowering the stakes of board exams, a single regulator for higher education institutions (except for law and medical colleges), and common entrance tests for universities are part of the sweeping reforms in the new NEP.
Replacing the 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to age groups 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years, respectively, scrapping MPhil programmes and implementing common norms for private and public higher educational institutions are among other salient features of the new policy.