The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is the first step towards education taken by the government since 1986, replacing the National Policy on Education (NPE). It is safe to assume that over the past few decades, education has seen a growing need, and more importantly, demand, across the country.
The NEP 2020 aims to revolutionise education, but will this mean guaranteed employment for the educated?
Yes, the NEP tackles several important gaps in the present education system - it creates a more holistic approach, dedicates a much higher investment, focuses on gross enrollment; it is, on paper, ideal in every manner. One of the major practical problems that arise from the same is employment.
As per government statistics, the unemployment rate of educated persons in India was at 11.4%. Considering that half of India's population is under 25 and about 66% are younger than 35, this small percentage is a very large number. The United Nations (UN) even suggests that by 2027, India will represent almost one-fifth of the global workforce, which will automatically, and by far, be the largest in the world.
The policy definitely seeks to turn India into a global knowledge superpower, but until and unless fresh-out-school 18-year-olds are employable, the expectation of increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio will not necessarily translate to an increase in the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
India is in dire need of employment opportunities, and the heavily-debated New Education Policy plays a huge role in the creation of opportunities, in many ways.
Due to the rise in giving importance to vocational training, the significance of vocational jobs will also increase. For example, in Germany, vocational jobs are given the same respect as any other job. Once the condition of Indian economy improves, and parents stop telling their children "if you don't study, you will become an electrician/carpenter/cleaner" the demand for skilled vocational jobs will also increase.
Further, children will now have ample opportunity during their schooling to pursue their own areas of interest and develop their skills accordingly. The con to this lies in the fact that once their schooling is done, employment would become a huge issue, until and unless these non-STEM industries are developed and the demand for jobs is created.
Finally, the objectives that the NEP 2020 consists of can rationally be achieved only by increasing the value and quality of teachers, along with looking at e-learning as a primary mode of learning, and this in itself can be addressed by the creation of more employment opportunities.
- The first is addressed in the policy itself, making B.Ed., which is a four-year course, focus on the holistic development of teachers, encouraging more individuals to take on teaching as a career to help shape the future of India's youth. This would hopefully increase the number of opportunities for teachers to have growth-oriented and successful careers.
- The second creates a huge opportunity for the ed-tech industry in India, as this would help education reach students across the country, especially in the several locations where physical educational institutions are not able to help.
Further, the new holistic approach that the NEP brings about gives the ed-tech industry a new space to explore and grow in, creating more and more employment opportunities in the country.
In the best-case scenario, the NEP will truly revolutionise the education system of the country in the near future, and the ed-tech industry will experience a huge boom in terms of method, reach, employment, opportunity and so much more. Altogether, the ed-tech industry will definitely play a huge role in achieving the goals the NEP 2020 has set for the country in the coming years.
(The author is co-founder of QShala.)