Poetry is life, every individual is a poem, their emotions, words, and putting life into words is poetry. Poetry is dedicated to others, it is born with a new vision and that vision takes people far. The New Education Policy 2020 (NEP) also has influences of poetry. It reflects the poetry of 33 crore Indian students, the poetry of their guardians, this country’s 1,000 university vice-chancellors, their subjects; the country has 45,000 degree colleges – all their emotions are reflected in this. We have reached out to more than 250 lakh villages, and they are together with us in this poetry, creation and policy.
This is a policy for the whole country, from the Gram Pradhan to the Prime Minister, from the village to the Parliament, from the state legislator to the Parliamentarian, from the Education Minister to the Chief Minister. We held consultations with students, teachers, scientists, NGOs. No one in the world has had so many consultations for a policy, it is the biggest innovation (navachar). There is participation from everyone. We put the draft in the public domain for seven-eight months, so that no one can say that they weren’t consulted. It is the policy of the country and we want to initiate a better future, because a child is the future of the family, the future of the country. We believe in the phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family), that’s why we worry about the entire world.
After we put the draft in the public domain, we got 2.25 lakh suggestions. Each of these were analysed and after a lot of brainstorming, separate committees were formed for school education and higher education. About 20 such committees were formed with experts on the panel. Only after the manthan (churning of the ocean), can you extract the amrit (nectar). Who won’t want to partake of it? I am happy that 99 percent of our country has happily accepted it (the policy).
Education is both a Centre and state subject. Six per cent GDP is not just of the central government, it will be done together by the state and the Centre. We will fulfill this aim together, because every state would want its children to study well. I speak with the chief ministers and education ministers of states regularly. The New Education Policy has come after comprehensive consultations. When the prime minister of our country talks about Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, a 20 lakh crore-package has been directed towards it. Some days back, when the PM was conversing with the country’s educationists, 1,000 university vice chancellors and 45,000 degree college principals and teachers, he said that we need to implement it together. He said I am with you. The day our economy reaches 5 trillion dollars, that day 6 per cent will be a lot. We will take this forward with the states and fulfill this aim.
Educationists and researchers have said that children have the maximum ability to learn between the ages of three and six years of age. My committee had also stated that up to 85 percent of a child’s development happens between the ages of 3 and 6. People are happy that our children will get to study in their mother tongue. One expresses best in her own mother tongue, and that’s why we have said the mother tongue will be the medium for primary education till class 5- some states want to do it till Class 8, others even further.
Some people have misconceptions; we are not against English but we are saying that the 22 languages in the Eighth Schedule of our Constitution should be strengthened, else they will perish. UNESCO has expressed concern over languages in India which are becoming extinct, and has also said that one’s mother tongue should be the medium of education. The US, Japan, Israel, Germany, these are all developed countries, what is the medium of education there? It’s their mother tongue. We are not against any language, learn English too, but we should do justice to the child and his talent. When we carried out our consultations, (we found that) people who have spent their entire lives in the field of education, they too believe that if you have to hone a child’s talent, then primary classes should be conducted in her mother tongue. Which state does not want to teach its regional language? I doubt there would be any state that wants its language to die. Teach in any language that you want; what is the problem with teaching that child ten other languages, children have a lot of potential to learn.