The Union Cabinet approved the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to bring “large-scale transformational reforms” in both school and higher education sector. The new education policy for the country comes after almost 34 years. It stipulates for a complete overhaul of the existing education system in the country.
The policy has come into effect after inputs and contribution of eminent educationists, policymakers, political leaders, students, teachers, and common people. The hard work of the HRD minister and his team prepared the ground for NEP 2020.
Among the key highlights of NEP 2020 is the decision to make home language, mother tongue or regional language as the medium of instruction up to class 5. This may create a long-term impact in nation building. Imparting school education in mother tongue or regional language may bring drastic change in the ongoing process of human resource development. Learning their local language will help children who experience a sudden disconnect with their mother tongue when they enter school. Not learning enough about mother tongue begins the process of detachment from their own society. Regional languages help inculcate human values and emotions.
Learning mother tongue will also help future generations forge a relation with their own social and cultural fabric. Secondly, it will help students learn more about their social practices and identities. Thirdly, it will keep a check on the process of erosion of their own self which begins when they enter school where they are suddenly thrown into learning English language. The term mother tongue and local languages together mentioned in the NEP 2020 will also reduce possibility of leaders playing politics over language.
The New Education Policy will help contribute towards developing atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). The policy’s emphasis on primary and secondary education may help strengthen the relation between social work and human agency. A person who stays connected with his mother tongue may also realise the importance of local products. In fact, the basic constituent of making of atmanirbhar Bharat lies in being fully aware and appreciating indigenous culture and society that can be attained by re-forging relationships with our own language. NEP 2020, if realised well, will contribute towards making India self-reliant.
(The author is Director, G B Pant Social Science Institute. Views expressed are personal.)