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Can’t let learning losses accumulate, no language imposition: Vinay Sahasrabuddhe on NEP 2020


Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, the newly appointed chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on Human Resource Development, said the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will lead to de-Macaulay-isation of education in the country. In an interview with Anubhuti Vishnoi, he backed the focus on teaching in the mother tongue and said even foreign universities could tweak their syllabus to suit the Indian ethos when they come in. Edited excerpts:

On the NEP and challenges ahead
This is an epoch-making policy as it takes us towards complete de-Macaulay-isation of education. No policy is free from implementation challenges, but this government has shown that it has the political will to implement. People who have vested interest in the status quo may create problems.

On political backlash regarding imposition of Hindi and mother tongue
Hindi-related worries are totally unfounded. The Prime Minister himself, and many in the government, have made it clear that there is no intention of imposing any language on anyone. So far as mother tongue is concerned, what is wrong with that? If we Indians do not insist on strengthening our languages by using them, who else will do it? The French and Germans learn in their own languages. Similarly, we have to facilitate learning in Tamil, Kannada, Marathi or Assamese. In fact, this policy will help us convert our languages into languages of knowledge.

On political hurdles to a single higher education regulator & foreign universities
Those who want to merely play politics will always find a pretext to oppose ideas. There is fundamentally nothing wrong in both these proposals. When foreign universities come, they will also tweak their syllabi to the Indian situation. Our Chanakya-Niti, or Bharata’s Natya Shastra can go places.

On rewriting of the curriculum and alleged ‘saffronisation’ of textbooks
This is an old issue, being raked up conveniently by some who believe in manufacturing controversies from nothing, simply to strengthen a vote bank. With leaders of non-BJP parties talking about Ram Path Van Gaman and welcoming reconstruction of Ram temple, I am sure wiser counsel will prevail.

On House panel’s stocktaking on Covid-19’s impact on education
The impact is very serious and more so because of uncertainty about Covid-19 and when it will end. We cannot have complete normalcy on campuses till such a time. State government institutions and parents are all apprehensive and would like to avoid risks. So, people are working through online method. But teaching and learning processes involve coming together under one roof and interacting with each other. Online knowledge dissemination has obvious limitations.

On students who don’t have internet
The government is conscious of these issues. The school education department is already engaged in ground survey on the same and is taking the help of All India Radio and community radios to reach out to students. We have also noticed many new experiments in India as well as in other countries. In Andhra Pradesh, they are facilitating interaction through dedicated helplines and the IVRS system. Himachal Pradesh has started a campaign called Har Ghar Pathashala.





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