The New Education Policy Draft is Structurally Incoherent, Incomplete & Inconsistent

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been painstakingly taking forward the current disposition with his characteristic energy, enthusiasm and uncanny experimentation, is finding it difficult to sail through the rigidities of the self-serving eco-system. He took the opportunity to shake the shackles at a NITI Aayog meeting calling for a transformational policy deck rather than the one accentuating a snail paced incremental one. It would be really painstaking for him to observe that despite his best intentions and punishing personal work schedule the establishment remains affixed to the status quo. Nothing could have been more contrasting than the recently released draft of the New Education Policy. It is nothing more than an evasion & emasculation of national aspiration in one go.

The Education Policy of a nation state is considered over and above other policy statements due to the very fact that it lays down the national aspirations in the most unequivocal, eloquent and visionary terms. A nation is nothing but the aggregate congregation of its populace which strives for the higher and ennobling ideals of human existence and in turn reverberates the other sectors & domains of human endeavor thereby.

It thereby assumes greater importance in the national life of India, the land which has been known for its time tested esoteric as well as elemental knowledge traditions and which happens to be the seat of one-sixth of humanity and the natural leader of non-evangelical ways of life across the globe. Interestingly, the onerous responsibility of crafting a newer policy doctrine under a nationalist regime having closer allegiances to the spiritualized view of India, got bequeathed to the bureaucratic establishment. What has come out in the form of a 43 page document is an uninspiring monologue which somewhere puts serious questions about the intellectual decay which this vast landmass of unprecedented civilizational antiquity has somehow been subjected to.

If even after an 18 month of national canvassing spanning the entire enumeration of 2, 50,000 Gram Sabhas, 6600 blocks, 600+ Districts, 36 States, 74 National/Zonal Consultations and 12 Video Conferences, the outcome is presented as "Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016", it looks more sinister than strange.

An abridged draft shorter than its consultative documents:: A drafting exercise in sheer haste
Interestingly, the themes and questions for Policy Consultation on Higher Education as well School Education are drafted much better than that of the final policy outcome document which has been tom-tommed as "Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016" signaling a characteristic preemptive defense from the very beginning.

The callous travesty to the entire exercise can be ascertained by the very fact that while the draft policy documented has been abridged in a mere 43 pages, the themes & questions had been posed in a much more elaborate fashion encompassing over 82 pages. Even on the character level, the consultative document on higher education had 84,088 characters while the one on School Education encompassed 34,329. This totaled to 1, 18,417 characters which is significantly higher than that of the draft policy document at 1, 17,819 characters.

Policy documents the world over boast of their superfluousness elaborating a singular point in gory detail so as not to miss out on the innate spirit and candor of the subject matter at hand. The National Education Policy which claimed to have undergone one of the most elaborate consultations has somehow failed to live up to the visually explicit qualifier of intellectual verbosity of being an original serious work. A closer scrutiny of its inner content and propositions would debunk it as a national waste and shame if not a crisis of talent and vision.

In a country which boasts of world's lengthiest constitution, to get such an abridged commentary on a policy directive as important as that of Education, somewhere does cast aspersion on our contemporary capabilities.

Gross Mismatch between Consultative Themes & Eventual Policy Framework Outcomes
The 20 odd consultative themes under Higher Education and 13 odd under School Education have been encapsulated in a mere 21 pointers of NEP Framework in the presented draft. It's generally a logical practice to adhere to the framework of original consultations while drafting a final report so that the complex narrative is not missed at.

The following grid tries to map the original themes of NEP consultation with that of the eventual draft policy framework chapters.

Consultative Themes

Policy Framework in Draft NEP

Higher Education

HE1. Governance reforms for quality

4.14. Governance Reforms in Higher Education

HE2. Ranking of institutions and accreditations

4.16. Quality Assurance in Higher Education

HE3. Improving the quality of regulation

4.15. Regulation in Higher Education

HE4. Pace setting roles of central institutions

---

HE5. Improving State public universities

---

HE6. Integrating skill development in higher education

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HE7. Promoting open and distance learning and online courses

4.17. Open and Distance Learning and MOOCs

HE8. Opportunities for technology enabled learning

---

HE9. Addressing regional disparity

---

HE10. Bridging gender and social gaps

---

HE11. Linking higher education to society

---

HE12. Developing the best teachers

4.19. Faculty Development in Higher Education

HE13. Sustaining student support systems

---

HE14. Promote cultural integration through language

---

HE15. Meaningful partnership with the private sector

---

HE16. Financing higher education

4.21. Financing Education

HE17. Internationalization of higher education

4.18. Internationalization of Higher Education

HE18. Engagement with industry to link education to employability

---

HE19. Promoting research and innovation

4.20. Research, Innovation and New Knowledge

HE20. New knowledge

School Education

SE1. Ensuring learning outcomes in Elementary Education.

4.3. Learning outcomes in School Education

SE2. Extending outreach of Secondary and Senior Secondary Education.

4.4. School Education

SE3. Strengthening of Vocational Education.

4.8. Skills in Education and Employability

SE4. Reforming School Examination systems.

4.5. Curriculum Renewal and Examination Reforms

SE5. Re-vamping Teacher Education for Quality Teachers.

4.10. Teacher Development and Management

SE6. Accelerating rural literacy with special emphasis on Women, SCs, STs& Minorities through Adult Education and National Open Schooling Systems.

4.7. Literacy and Lifelong Learning

SE7. Promotion of Information and Communication Technology Systems in School and Adult Education.

4.9. Use of ICT in Education

SE8. New knowledge, pedagogies and approaches for teaching of Science, Maths and Technology in School Education to improve learning outcomes of students.

---

SE9. School standards, School assessment and School Management systems.

4.13. School Assessment and Governance

SE10. Enabling Inclusive Education – education of SCs, STs, Girls, Minorities and children with special needs.

4.6. Inclusive Education and Student Support

SE11. Promotion of Languages.

4.11. Language and Culture in Education

SE12. Comprehensive Education – Ethics, Physical Education, Arts & Crafts, Life Skills.

4.12. Self Development through Comprehensive Education

SE13. Focus on Child Health

---

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4.1. Pre-school Education

---

4.2. Protection of Rights of the Child and Adolescent Education

While a lot of the initial themes have been done away with, the reference to the one which have been taken up is not in sync with the original titles. The sequencing is also out of order. A systemic order is largely kept out when a mammoth exercise of such nature is undertaken so that the focus can be kept on the core content, rather than corroboration. This tactic of creating a diffused comprehension deck is generally done where two parties are involved with the aim of outsmarting each other. Does a credible exercise as that of a national policy making, especially in the domain of education, call for such a skullduggery?

The casting aside of the key consultation thematics is also a matter of concern as it leaves the policy deck incomplete on a number of key narratives. 

Despite having a might consultative framework as that of MyGov, the policy framework would have been enunciated around the key consultative themes inline. This would have ensured a continuity of comprehension and would have brought about the policy document in an evolutionary manner. 

When the draft policy is ridden with such structural fallacies, what to talk of a deeper scrutiny of its internal content which would probably need 21 odd separate analytical pieces having cross references to the consultative documents alongside the policy framework. 

These 21 odd pieces would follow suit subsequently. 

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