Flexibility and differentiation: key factors in NEP 2019
by Dr Jawahar Surisetti, Education Leader and Futurist
Universal access to quality early childhood education is perhaps the best investment that India can make for our children’s and our nation’s future. The National Education Policy emphasises on the fundamental stage which views the early Childhood Care and Education, a pedagogical phase of play and discovery based learning for the toddlers, followed by three years of primary education which should be more discovery based learning between age 3 to 8.
Here are two major factors in the Draft National Education Policy 2019.
The key factors in Draft National Education Policy 2019 are flexibility and differentiation. Here are the important sections which undeline these factors:
4.1.1 Flexible curriculum:
The rigidity of the hitherto education that we provided at school level forced students to take up subjects which he was not interested. The “no hard separation” is the key that will allow transdisciplinary learning that can see overlaps in curricular and extracurricular areas to making learning interesting. For eg., Newton’s laws of motion being taught in the cricket field. It will not however be enough to have a flexible curriculum because if the teacher community is rigid in their pedagogy, then the amalgamation will not happen and the word of policy will be out of action. So the delivery system of the teaching learning process will have to undergo the metamorphosis before the flexible curriculum becomes a success. The flexibility in course and subject choices is a whiff of fresh air. A student who loves math but not physics has to opt for it because of the table d’hôtel system of education where the fixed items of the buffet is what you get to relish. By making the system a la carte, the passion and professional choices could be mixed instead of having to carry the burden of something which you do not want.
4.9 Assessment for transformation:
The stress and pressure on Board exams is well known. The modular system of these exams has the student at the centre of the system. The loss opportunity due to any reason in a single opportunity of a board assessment is suggested to be replaced by a modular system of exams where the student takes exams every semester of his secondary school and hence the two-year end exams that bottle the pressure for two years and release it at one go is eliminated. The imperative solution to a flexible curriculum is a flexible exam and that has been factored. Moreover the move from rote to understanding is a welcome move. Again the challenge is the parent and teacher. When CCE was implemented, the intention was to reduce the stress of the single board exam and the opportunity for the student to not just prove his written skills but all year round performance in all skills through quizzes, role plays, elocution, essay, assignment and models. But the teacher understood it as six exams in a year and the system failed. Done properly, it would have done wonders. With the parent community complaining about the reduced importance of board exams, the continuous and comprehensive evaluation system was reverted to the same old single exam. The need therefore is to create an ecosystem where parents and teachers are trained to get out of their “conditioned zones“ and help the children shape himself/herself in the new global perspectives instead of following their whims and fancies.
The onus is on sensitisation at school level to see the implementation of the progressive aspects of the NEP 2019 without a dilution of the spirit and essence of the vision. Principals, school leaders, education secretaries and parents will have to first internalise the spirit of the NEP and then proceed in the implementation. If done properly, it will be the new independence for India.
The new policy begins with the emphasis on Fundamental stage which views Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), a pedagogical phase of play and discovery based learning for the toddlers, followed by three years primary education which should be more discovery based learning between age 3 to 8.
Dr Jawahar Surisetti is an eminent education and child psychologist, TED Speaker and bestselling author. He has been lately adjudged as one of the top 24 policy makers of India by leading daily Indian Express. He advises the Government of India on policy issues and innovations in education, start ups and youth affairs . Known worldwide as the Think Professor for his Art of Thinking, he engages with 2.4 lakh children and parents across the globe through the UN expedition called Explora – exploring the minds of the youths. His two bestselling parenting guides “Mama & Me“ for parents of kids aged new-born to 5 years having sold more than 1.7 million copies worldwide and “Go To Hell or Come To Me“ for parents of teens released last year. His exemplary social enterprises have like MyBeti for the Girl Child, Religion of Youth for youth and Happea for the happiness of the world have been applauded by the UN and included in the SDG Report in 2017-18. His innovation Think Curriculum, for which he has been awarded a honorary doctorate by Columbia University, fosters thinking in learning . His 3412 lectures seminars and workshops till date in 76 countries of the world have received rave reviews for their effectivity and simplicity.