An online panel discussion on ‘NEP 2020: Opportunities and Challenges’ was organised and hosted by Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Ernakulam on 27 August 2020, with special focus on the multidisciplinary aspect of education, impact on the institutional governance models and emerging accreditation and evaluation processes. The eminent panellists included Dr. Chetan Singhai (Chief Consultant for the NEP 2020 and Deputy Director, Ramaiah Public Policy Centre, Bengaluru), Dr. K. Unnikrishnan (Academician and President, Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal, Kerala), Prof. Aseem Prakash (Professor of Public Policy, School of Public Policy and Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad) and Dr. Jayashankaran Natesan (Former Vice Chancellor of the Kanchi University). The discussion was moderated by Dr. Vanisree Ramanathan, Associate Professor from Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth.
The panel observed that while the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 envisages education in a continuum, working towards holistic education, integral evaluation and overall development of the individual, the challenge lies in bringing a mutual alignment between the philosophical principle of the NEP and its practical implementation. Dr. Chetan discussed the philosophical dimension of the NEP and highlighted the evidence-based approach in the formulation of the policy. Prof. Aseem Prakash pointed out the need for phasing out of affiliated colleges by 2035 either as autonomous or part of the university system to ensure a level playing field for private and government colleges. He also expressed interest in increasing public funding for educational institutions. Dr. K. Unnikrishnan spoke about the ‘joy of learning’ component in school education and opined that the NEP 2020 addresses the aspect of ‘cultural amnesia’ by adding ‘learning to be’ to the already existing ‘learning to do’, ‘learning to know’ and ‘learning to live’. Dr Jayashankaran Natesan presented his views on the practical challenges in the implementation of the NEP and its influence on accreditation.
With a vibrant discussion, the panel concluded that the NEP as a policy document is optimistic in goals of internationalisation and standardisation of education. Common regulatory regimes along with multiple controls require restructuring, interlinking and streamlining of procedures. Setting high end goals, the success of the NEP 2020 will be determined by implementing systemic changes. Approved by the Union Cabinet, NEP 2020 brings a paradigm shift in the Indian education system as it proposes holistic education towards attaining sustainable development goals. The panel discussion was an initiative of CVV to create awareness among different stakeholders in the education system.