“Ultimately, we need to bring the best out of every student. The learning outcomes will become the measure of standard for an institution.”
In an exclusive interview, Karnataka's Education, Science and Technology Minister, Dr Ashwathnarayan, spoke to The Quint regarding the opposition from various quarters on the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
Karnataka, earlier this year, became the first state in India to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and government institutions in the state were directed to adopt the policy in the ongoing academic year, just a few months before the college admissions begin.
The sudden implementation of the education policy – which outlines a globalised, digital education system – caught education institutions and opposition parties in the state by surprise given the lofty ideas the policy entails of creating a multidisciplinary system and mandating teaching in regional language.
The state government has gone forward with the implementation of the education policy despite opposition regarding centralisation of education, the digital divide, and the fear of a decrease in cultural diversity.
Here are a few snippets from the interview:
How do you ensure that languages such as Urdu or Sanskrit do not lose their prominence in favour of English?
"We are allowing each student to take two languages. If the student has learned Kannada, it is mandatory for two years. Otherwise, it is mandatory only for six months. After that, you are free to take any subject you are interested in."
“With regard to the second language, it is the students' choice to learn English, Urdu, Sanskrit, French, German, they are free to take any language. In the open elective option, the student is free to take any language as well. It is their choice.”
How do you handle the local anxiety associated with the centralisation of education?
“In terms of education as well as administration, we are trying to get out of the affiliating system and give autonomy to every institution. The minimum that we are looking for is an autonomous degree-awarding institution. In the matter of the next 15 years, this concept needs to be removed. This is what our ultimate goal is.”
How do you ensure students, who have dropped out, are returning to complete their education?
There are no limitations and we want them to be part of the learning system. For example, if they have completed one year, they are good enough to be a receptionist. If they have completed the second year, they are good enough to explain any particular product. If they have completed the third year, then they are good enough to get into the shop floor and start work.”
That is the kind of training that will be given. Each year has got its own importance.