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New Delhi : PM Narendra Modi on September 11,, 2020, addressed the Conclave on ‘School Education in 21st Century’ under National Education Policy (NEP)’ here through video conference. A two-day Conclave on “School Education in 21st Century” organised by Ministry of Education as part of Shikshak Parv 2020 virtually commenced on September 10 2020.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that NEP is going to give a new direction to 21st century India and we are becoming part of a moment that is laying the foundation for building the future of our country. He said that hardly any aspect of our life remained the same in last three decades yet our education system is still running under the old system. The new National Education Policy is a means to fulfil new aspirations, new opportunities of a New India, he said.

The Prime Minister said it is legitimate that many questions arise after the announcement of the Policy and it is necessary to discuss such issues in this conclave to move forward.He expressed happiness that principals and teachers are enthusiastically participating in this discussion to implement the NEP. He said that over 1.5 million suggestions have been received within a week from teachers across the country on implementing the NEP.

He said that energetic youth are the engines of development of a country but that their development should begin from their childhood. He said that the education of children, the environment they get, to a large extent determines what the person would become in his future and what his personality would be.

The Prime Minister said that it is in preschool where children begin to understand their senses, their skills better. For this, there is a need for schools and teachers to provide an environment of fun learning, playful learning, activity based learning and discovery based learning to children.

In the National Education Policy, the PM stressed, the importance of replacing the old 10 Plus 2 with the system of 5 Plus 3 Plus 3 Plus 4. He said now playful education of the pre-school which is limited to private schools in cities will also reach villages once this policy is implemented, according to a PIB release. He emphasized that focus on foundational education is the most important aspect of this policy. Under the National Education Policy, the development of foundational literacy and numeracy will be taken as a national mission.

The Prime Minister laid down a goal for the children of the nation in Oral Reading Fluency. He said that it must be ensured that every child who crosses the third grade can easily read 30 to 35 words in a minute with comprehension.

He  also mentioned about the initiative taken when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Students from all schools were given the task to identify the oldest tree in the village, and then, write an essay based on that tree and their village. He said that this experiment was very successful, on one hand the children got information about the environment, as well as they got a chance to get a lot of information about their village. These experiments should be the core of our new age learning – Engage, Explore, Experience, Express and Excel.

PM Modi said that the children should be taken on study tours to historical places, places of interests, to farms, industries etc, as it would give them practical knowledge. The Prime Minister said this is now not happening in all the schools. He said because of this, many students are not getting practical knowledge.

The Prime Minister stressed on the importance of advancing our students with 21st century skills and listed out the 21st century skills – Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Curiosity and Communication. He said that students should learn coding from the beginning, understand Artificial Intelligence, join Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Data Science and Robotics.

The Prime Minister said that NEP also addresses another big issue – marksheet driven education dominating in place of learning driven education in our country. He said that the marksheet has now become like a mental pressure sheet. Removing this stress from education is one of the main objectives of the NEP. The examination should be such that it does not put unnecessary pressure on the students. And the effort is that students should not be evaluated by just one examination, but based on various aspects of student development like self-assessment, peer-to-peer assessment.

The PM said instead of a marksheet the National Education Policy has proposed for a holistic report card which will be a detailed sheet of unique potential, aptitude, attitude, talent, skills, efficiency, competency and possibilities of the students. He added that a new National Assessment Center “Parakh” will also be established for the overall improvement of the evaluation system. The Prime Minister said that one needs to understand that language is the medium of education, language is not all of education.

The Prime Minister said that when 75 years of independence are completed in 2022, the PM said, that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that every student of India should read as per the NEP.