While speaking about the National Education Policy, the honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented:
“National Education Policy will set the foundation for 21st century India…We’re moving to an era where an individual will not be stuck to a single profession all his life. Thus, he will continuously need to re-skill and up-skill himself. We have kept this in contention while formulating the National Education Policy.”
The NEP is a policy formulated by the Government to regulate and promote elementary to higher education all throughout India, both in the rural and urban areas. The first NEP was formulated by Indira Gandhi in 1968 and the most recent one by Shri Narendra Modi in 2020. The NEP, 2020 approved by the Prime Minister replaced the 34-year old education policy and aimed at changing its focus on the transformational and aspirational goals of the 21st Century. The NEP 2020 aimed at a more holistic approach to education by realizing the full potential of India’s demographic dividend. The crafted visional document has left no stone unturned to realize the dream of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
The 12th Five Year Plan had estimated that only a small percentage of the workforce were receiving vocational education in comparison with other countries. The leaders of industries often complained about the huge gap between the traditional education imparted in schools and that what is required in the industry. Vocational education or skilled-based training is the need of the hour for the nation in order to strengthen its economy. Hence, a major clause of the NEP 2020 is on the development and promotion of skill training in India. Previously, only the youth were eligible to enroll in skill development programs. The recent NEP aims that by 2025, at least 50% of students should have exposure to vocational education through the school as well as the higher education system. Vocational education has been perceived to be inferior to mainstream education due to societal stereotypes, hence the latest NEP aims to integrate vocational education into mainstream education by introducing Skill Education as a subject in schools from class 6-12. That would normalize the status of vocational education in our society and ensure added skilled workforce.
According to the visional document, “Secondary schools will also collaborate with ITIs, polytechnics, local industry, etc… Higher education institutions will offer vocational education either on their own or in partnership with industry and NGOs.” This new initiative will become a huge milestone in the journey of “vocal for local.” Atmanirbhar Bharat and Vocal for Local tries to ensure that the young mass of India gets employed locally, which would in turn add to the country’s manpower and economy.
One of the most recent opportunities in the skill sector that cropped up owing to the pandemic situation is the Government’s initiative to train the mass to become skilled frontline workers. Under Skill India, a customized crash course for Covid-19 Frontline Workers in Healthcare will be provided to those interested to strengthen the Nation’s resolve. Training will be given to developing skills in basic care support, advanced care support, home care support, emergency care support, medical equipment support, and sample collection support. This would not only combat the pre-existing unemployment situation but also give jobs to a lot of people who lost their jobs, homes, and loved ones to the life-sucking virus and its effects.
Our Prime Minister, in one of his addresses to the nation, had commented how we can make use of the pandemic situation to make India a self-reliant country. One of the major steps the Government is taking to work towards the cause is slowly executing these new changes proposed in the Skill Development Programs in the National Education Policy of 2020.