States have a significant role in NEP implementation at the grass root level: NITI Aayog CEO

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Saturday said that while the Centre has laid down the broad framework of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, it is only the state governments, which will have to carry on implementation of the policy at the grass root level.

“The state government has a very critical and significant role. They have to build up capacity and carry out exceptional reforms in this sector,” Kant said, adding, “They have to ensure improved access, ensure great equity and gender parity and they have to really restructure education.”

He was in conversation with Kapil Viswanathan, Vice-Chairman, Krea University at a webinar, ‘NEP : The Road to implementation’ organised by the Chennai International Centre.

“How much ever hard the Centre may try through a policy framework, it is only the states which will have to carry implementation at the grass root level and unless you don’t change anything at the grass root level nothing will change in India. Therefore, the challenge is really to make the states the key driver and take ownership,” he added.

Sharing his long experience as a civil servant in Kerala, Kant said the state was able to provide a good quality of life index simply because it has been able to provide a good quality of education to its people.

“The key to India’s growth is really about spreading education in the hinterlands especially in the eastern states of the country. If that happens these states take ownership, you will suddenly see a transformation in India,” Kant added.

Private sector participation

Highlighting the need for private sector participation, the NITI Aayog CEO said that without private sector and civil society organisations, it will not be possible to achieve the plans envisaged in the NEP.

He also added that a lot of disruption in the education system will happen on account of young start-ups, which will help India make a quantum jump in education. “Look at young start-ups like Embibe which tracks learning outcomes of children in Rajasthan using AI and then provides extra dose of education depending on the need of every single student or Byju, which become a big unicorn in such a short period.”

“You will have to partner with all of these players and civil society and create a win-win scenario for all of them,” Kant said, adding, “Great partnership is what the government needs to do to be able to achieve the very ambitious goals laid down in this policy and technology will be a very key factor.”

However, the senior bureaucrat also emphasised that digital access to only only a few people will lead to a lot of inequity and therefore online education should be provided in an affordable and equitable manner.

“Technology will eventually lead to thorough integration of online education, improved classroom processes, support professional development of teachers, Kant said and added that it should also enhance educational access for disadvantaged groups, streamline education administration and management and lead to better accountability to help India leapfrog in the field of education.

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