Education in India is a lucrative field and National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the thirty-four-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE). Living in an era where degrees are just not enough, there is a focus on skill-building in various spheres and art has been looked at as a subject and not just a hobby. The future of education revolves around this. We talked to top colleges and institutes about the new policy. Here Ajay Kumar Sharma, National Academic Director (Engineering), Aakash Educational Services Limited tells more. Excerpts:
DQ: Do you think NEP 2020 will help and empower the future of education?
Ajay Kumar Sharma: The National Education Policy is comprehensive in every sense. It effectively tackles the shortcomings in our current education system and paves the way for an even better future. The key aspect of this policy among multiple aspects is the interplay of education and technology.
Over the last few years, India has transformed itself into an information-heavy society and with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement for usage of technology in the field of education has increased more than ever.
One of the policy’s focus point to driving the education system will be the ‘extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access as well as education planning and management’. In the current scenario, both students and teachers are forced to re-imagine traditional, in-person teaching by making use of virtual classrooms.
The introduction of this policy at such a critical juncture is even more significant, as it details the vision of education for future generations and will be a critical tool for students and teachers to embrace the new normal and build a ‘self-reliant’ India.
DQ: How have you responded to the lockdown and how might it affect the way engineering coaching is taught in the future?
Ajay Kumar: Students of class XII were in the midst of their board exams when the news of the first lockdown came out, leaving the students in a tizzy. There was uncertainty and the students were unsure about the impending pandemic situation. The government acted timely and the confusion about board exams eventually faded away.
JEE(Main)-2020 was originally scheduled for April-2020 and our institute like any other was ready for executing what was already planned in terms of revision classes, conducting revision tests through Final Test Series (FTS) and Mock Tests, etc.
We went ahead with our plans and academic managers huddled to foresee and anticipate the situation. Within a couple of days of brainstorming, multiple plans were made ready depending upon the timings of the exams like JEE (Main) followed by JEE (Advanced).
The month of April is the time when new batches join and the students studying in class XI move to class XII. Plans were laid down and prompt instructions were issued to branch heads across all India. Multiple online teaching platforms were purchased, all the teachers were equipped with laptops, digitizers, and webcams.
Quick instructional workshops were organized by IT teams for the teachers through scores of batches and the teachers were made ready to take classes. While the teaching was resumed through online platforms, R & D teams were busy framing new questions for an elongated academic session.
It is worth mentioning that the best of the questions were framed during this time. It may have happened because of the fact that everybody worked painstakingly and was guided by exemplary leadership while working from home (WFH). PTM’S was also conducted online. The experiences acquired during the lockdown period will definitely prompt institutes to change their coaching manuals to exploit online platforms.
Some of the manuals may go ‘partly online partly offline mode’ and preparatory tests may be conducted online where a student does not have to come to the center to write his/her exams, thus saving their precious time in commutation and preserving their energy as well.