National Education Policy, 2020: Merging Cognitive with Creative
By recommending sweeping changes to the educational system, the NEP 2020 urges schools to explore technology like never before.
In July 2020, the Union Cabinet cleared a new National Education Policy (NEP) which proposed extensive changes to India’s existing educational framework. Most of us have read about the educational framework changes recommended.
The overarching message of the NEP 2020 is more unique though. In this iteration, the NEP stresses tapping the creative potential of every student. Let’s examine the significance of this.
What do school and college educations promise?
In India’s recent history, vocational skills–thereby the ability to get a job–were given particular emphasis, and rightfully so. With approximately 6.6 million people entering the workforce every year, and limited availability of jobs, educational frameworks were built to maximize the chances of employment. While degrees did mean a higher likelihood to find employment, they rarely attested to the individual’s knowledge, abilities, and skills. In fact, the ASER report of 2018 brought to light shockingly poor learning capacities and even poorer analytical abilities.
A subsequent manifestation of this was low employability. In 2014, the employability of fresh graduates was a mere 33%, with lower numbers recorded for those graduating from engineering streams. It was also observed that graduates from tier 2 and tier 3 cities showed lower employability than their peers from tier 1 cities. In the last 3 years, the employability of the country’s youth remained largely stagnant. This, and similar other findings, led to widespread calls for a re-engineering of the Indian educational framework.
When asked what would lead to greater employability, employers hinted towards greater domain knowledge, adaptability to the environment, learning agility, and a positive attitude.
It became fairly clear that an undergraduate degree could rarely be considered a testament to the student’s knowledge. It also became clear that employers were no longer looking for candidates with only domain knowledge, but for those who displayed critical, logical, analytical, and management prowess. In order to achieve this, however, the Indian education system would need an overhaul. It would require the creation of a system that looks at each student individually; a system that not only intelligently assesses academic strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly identifies inherent interest, learning preference, and creative and critical thinking abilities. It would seem that the 2020 NEP takes this into account.
How does the NEP 2020 attempt to achieve this?
The NEP makes an attempt to focus on the merging of 2 major aspects of a student’s development: cognitive and creative.
The NEP promises “no hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extracurricular activities, between vocational and academic streams, etc. in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies among, and silos between different areas of learning;”
In school education, the policy recommends easier Board exams, a reduction in the syllabus to retain “core essentials” and emphasis on experiential learning and critical thinking.
Highlighting the importance of the uniqueness of every student, the NEP asks schools to recognize, identify, and foster the unique capabilities of each student in both academic and non-academic spheres.
The NEP further recommends “extensive use of technology in teaching and learning”. Instead of looking at technology as merely a computer with an Internet connection to teach online, it can be seen as a tool to intelligently diagnose learning patterns and inherent talents, boost productivity, and master skills.
By breaking the norm of technology in schools and colleges being confined to online teaching, technological interventions in educational institutions can be far more instrumental in realizing the goals set by this year’s NEP.
What can schools do to implement these guidelines?
Let’s look back at the aspiration of recognizing the individuality of every student. With about 230 million students enrolled in school, this may seem like a Herculean task. Let’s instead consider a mid-size school in a city with about 1200 students.
If the uniqueness of each of the 1200 students were to be identified, and then encouraged, it would require to assess, analyze, and nudge each student towards exploring their unique strengths and weaknesses over a period of 14 years (K-12).
Even if a school decided to do this using traditional methods of written and oral exams, homework, and workshops, it would require a large group of extremely dedicated and motivated teaching and management staff to put in multiple extra hours to maintain and update such a system. Not only this, it would also require frequent PTA meetings, and extremely dedicated and informed parents to relay information when the student develops new extracurricular interests, begins to resent certain subjects, or shows particular interest in tampering with household electronics. And let’s not forget the large administrative support such a manually maintained and updated “uniqueness tracker” would require.
It is safe to say that something like this would fail without the support of technology. If the cognitive and creative have to merge, and the individual learning strengths and inherent talents need to be honed, schools must explore non-invasive technologies that integrate with the school’s functioning seamlessly. While the NEP is a step in the right direction, its success hinges on the efficacy of its implementation.
How does Myelin implement the NEP?
Myelin is a single-point platform to manage and propel students’ academic and allied success. Myelin’s key features are designed to achieve the guidelines set by the NEP.
Myelin’s AI-driven system maps learning patterns including:
- Which medium of learning the student best responds to
- Which subjects and extracurricular activities the student easily masters
- What the above patterns say about his/her interests and abilities
- Intelligent reports with in-depth analysis and subjective recommendations that replace traditional marks-based report cards.
Myelin’s community integration notifies students and parents of interest-based academic and non-academic events happening in the city. In addition, Myelin promotes healthy parental involvement by acting as an easy channel communication channel between them and the teachers
Myelin harmoniously blends into any school’s functioning enabling optimized operations for every member of the school from the management to external vendors.
2020’s NEP sets an encouraging benchmark for schools to aspire to. With intelligent technological solutions like Myelin, that benchmark is now within reach!