Another key speaker of the NEP talk series organised by the Department of Sociology and Social Work Students Association and Socius, Applied Sociology Students Collective, was Dr Resmi P Bhaskaran, a trained applied economist specialising in policy research.
She brought up some glaring issues in policies through her presentation in a chronological manner to assess how we started and where we are now. According to her, policies provide a roadmap, and thus the NEP is an essential document because education has become an integral part of politics. In today’s dynamic environment filled with technology and progress, the concept of education has changed, and so have the aspirations of students.
According to her, this third National Education Policy should accommodate these changes in socio-cultural and political spheres. The quality of education influences the quality of democracy and thus influences economic, societal and political developmental processes through the right attitudes, values and knowledge.
She talked about the year 1948 when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a meeting with the education ministry to discuss the policy and utilised the chance to revolutionise the issue, just as we should today. She talked about the history of educational planning in terms of funding and the different committees created for the same.
She first analysed the first policy presented right after independence, when the economy was focused on reconstructing itself and its trajectory. As per statistics, nations at this stage that invested in education were more successful at this reconstruction, as they boosted the development of science and technology. The policy back then made education more of public responsibility than a private one due to costs.
She then discussed the second policy in 1986 and revised it in 1992, which focused on human resource development, female education, and scientific temperament. This policy faced the challenge of second-generation illiteracy and a population boom, and semi-skilled teachers had to be brought in, which also affected the quality of education. She also talked about the spillover benefits of widespread education.
Finally, she assessed the third policy, the NEP 2020, that adapted to the 21st-century goals for its planning. According to her assessment, the NEP considers the SDG goals but ignores imbalances in region-wise educational supply. She ended by saying that no document or policy is ever conclusive and must constantly be challenged.
This was followed by a question-answer session that covered budget allocation, education of the girl child and income disparities. Teethi Nag from 3MSOC delivered the vote of thanks, which concluded the session.