The vision of the National Education Policy must be served by its implementation

Source: The Indian Express

Relevance: National Education Policy (NEP) has to learn from public policy challenges for transforming education in India.

Synopsis: To successfully implement the National Education Policy (NEP), India needs to learn from public policy challenges

About the National Education Policy:

On July 29 last year, the Government of India (GoI) announced the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 as a pathbreaking initiative to reimagine the future of education.

It “proposed the revision and revamping of all aspects of the education structure, including its regulation and governance, to create a new system that is aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st-century education.

Ever since the announcement of the NEP, the government is focused on laying the foundation for its implementation. But, before we work towards implementation, there is a strong need to understand why policies fail and what we need to do to ensure their success.

Public policy and its challenges
  • Public policies do not settle in equilibrium and are hard to predict: The history of the evolution of failed public policies is filled with predictions that went wrong.
  • Further, Public policies evolve and coevolve: The evolutionary nature of public policy needs to be recognised and accepted.
  • Apart from that, the public policies are embedded in complex systems. A complex system is one in which diverse agents linked in networks interact selectively following simple rules without centralised control, and from which emerge (often unpredictable) patterns, structures, uses, and functionalities. The Indian education system is also positioned itself in this complex system.
  • Public policies are subject to cognitive biases: The dominant thinking while designing public policy is a rational choice theory (assumes decision-making as a part of rational human behaviour). But it is time that we recognise that there are pre-existing biases, prejudices, and opinions.
  • Also, public policies are subject to reactivity and the Lucas critique. This will result in policy-altering behaviour after some time of policy implementation. Lucas critique is about the limitations of predicting the effects of change in economic policy through historical data.

To become successful, the NEP has to address the above challenges.

How NEP will get implemented?

The implementation of NEP should be based on the following five initiatives.

  1. There is an urgent need to establish a new organisational structure, the National Education Policy Commission, whose sole mandate is to work towards implementing the NEP.
  2. Accountability of public officials: India needs institutional checks and balances that will ensure that the NEP’s responsibility goes along with the powers and functions of the individuals and institutions entrusted with the tasks.
  3. Establishing institutional mechanisms and empowered steering committees, within the existing mandate of the Ministry of Education. The UGC and other such state and central level regulatory bodies can continuously monitor the implementation.
  4. Providing the necessary financial resources:
    • A special purpose vehicle (SPV) needs to be created to ensure NEP funds are available and that the implementation process is not delayed.
    • India also needs to promote private philanthropy for funding both public and private higher education institutions.
    • New and additional forms of tax incentives and other forms of incentives need to be evolved.
  5. Empowering institutions of eminence and other institutions: The policy of selecting and empowering “institutions of eminence” in India with a view to propelling them to become world-class institutions is a landmark and transformative idea. But there is a lot that needs to be done for fulfilling the vision of the NEP.
Print Friendly and PDF