New Delhi: Terming the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 as a revolutionary reform of the 21st century, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday expressed confidence that India would double the Gross Enrolment Ratio within the next 10 years from about 25 percent at present.
The wider geographical spread of higher education institutions, especially covering rural areas, and increased demand would be the critical factors that will help improve the Gross Enrolment Ratio in India, Javadekar said while delivering the key-note address at the Centenary Year Teachers' Day celebrations by Parle Tilak Vidyalay Association of Mumbai through a video link.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister said that students across the country have become aspirational and economic growth had pushed parental earnestness to provide good education to their children.
The Minister began his address by referring to Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak's views on education as the means of creating awareness and said that early childhood education, enquiry-based education, teacher training, and foundational and numeric literacy, have all been stressed upon.
About the NEP 2020, he said it will make both teachings and learning an enjoyable experience and also empower our youths. He said that the new policy lays emphasis on foundational and numerical literacy and that institutions like the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) will ensure access to education for all.
Javadekar underlined the importance of Early Childhood Education as the main characteristic of NEP, saying that "the 3-8 age group is to build cognitive skills, curiosity, and mental capacity".
He also said that education with subject understanding is important rather than rote learning.
"While activity-based learning is emphasised in the early stages, education in Classes 9 to 12 will focus on detailed, relevant, and new knowledge, which will induce the development of scientific temper among the children."
Javadekar said that research and innovation are the keys to enable Indian education mould globally-competitive citizens.
He said that 3,000 'Atal Tinkering Labs' are running successfully to encourage research-based innovations, which is essential for building an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
Speaking about the role of teachers in society, the Minister said: "A teacher does not simply teach through books or black boards. Ideal teacher is the one who instils values in students through his or her conduct." said the Minister, adding it will encourage teachers to become teachers by choice and not as the last resort.
Recalling his days as the then HRD Minister, he said that 13-14 subject experts had worked with great sincerity and zeal under the leadership of Dr K Kasturirangan.