Three years of National Education Policy-2020 and Vidya Bharati
Vidya Bharati with its 6 years of toil collected inputs from across fifty thousand plus villages and more than one thousand seminars and symposia conducted in almost all the districts. We submitted more than four thousand pages of material and concept-note papers, especially regarding school complexes, special education zones,community-school bondage, the social orientation of the school, and service to the society along with man-making initiatives and quality education. We are happy that many of our recommendations could make it to NEP-20, which was brought into the public domain on 29 July 2020. Many of the path-breaking recommendations with the Bharatcentric approach were well appreciated and welcomed by Vidya Bharati.
II-During the first year of NEP-20
Vidya Bharati decided to take NEP-20, to the common people, academia, intelligentsia, educational managers, and other stakeholders in a big way, because the involvement of all these groups is essential for implementation. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, we tried to reach as many as possible through virtual meetings in a big way.
a) Bharatiya Shiksha Darshan and Manovigyan: The Bharat-centric approach was not known to the academia or Bureaucrats, even though there was a mention of it. Hence Vidya Bharati did supply 8 articles on Bharatiya Shiksha Darshan (Philosophical foundations) and Manovigyan (Psychological foundations) to the Ministry of Education, NCERT, and SCERTs.
b) Our training system re-oriented: Our trust and focus were on the implementation of NEP. Hence in order to equip all our stakeholders with NEP details and to empower them, the Vidya Bharati training system was revamped and reoriented. 1500 master trainers were upskilled and updated to undertake further training of our teachers across the country.
c) Focus area groups: As per the directives of NCERT, our resource persons were in all 25 groups for preparing state and national curriculum frameworks and played an active role in providing needed inputs.
d) Vidya Pravesh: Our templates for ECCE were submitted with minute details to the ministry. Vidya Pravesh – Three-month play-based preparation module for children entering grade - I – was developed with our team effort as a part of the NIPUN Bharat mission.
e) Rapport with government and other organizations: Meeting the education machinery of the government every month to provide inputs both at the central and state levels. We were asked to be on the panel of the Confederation of Bharatiya Industry (CII), National Academy of Audit and Accounts (NAAA), and different organizations to detail NEP and unfold these suggestions.
III. Achievements during 2nd year of NEP-20:
Post-corona period has witnessed a high speed and accelerated activity regarding the implementation of NEP-20
a) Inputs to curriculum framework: Following the bottom-up approach Vidya Bharati gathered in a big way inputs from different stakeholders including teachers, parents, students, neo and non-literates, experts, scholars, NGOs, etc. both by virtual and face-to-face methods. Out of 16 lakh inputs received ours would be at least 1.5 lakhs. Our teachers have supported DIETs in their surveys as well.
b) Our presentation before the steering committee: 8 Vidya Bharati academicians met on 21st Feb 2022, the steering committee with 5 PPT presentations which included 4 stage-wise and one general, providing inputs along with best practices to be included which was received very well. At the end comment of Padma Vibhushan Dr. Kasturi Rangan was that the steering committee has ideas, that were already implemented in Vidya Bharati schools. He was emotionally attached to Vidya Bharati and has been maintaining contact thereafter.
c) A technical team of NCF visited our schools: 4 members viz. Shri Jitendra Sharma, Shri Sobhan Negi, Shri Rakesh Tiwari, and Shri Gajanan Londhe visited Vidya Bharati schools in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab between 7th and April 2022. Best practices and processes were observed and recorded to submit a 20-page report to the steering committee in May with the caption – “Inputs from Vidya Bharati schools for National Curriculum Framework”. All important points in this report can be found in NCF.
d) NCFECCE – foundation stage with Vidya Bharati inputs: NCF foundation stage was released on 20th October 2022, with all our guiding principles and practices. Our concepts of Sarvangeena Vikasa (Allround development), Samagra Vikasa (Holistic Development), and Panchakoshatmak Vikas (Five-fold personality development) could find an important place in this framework.
e) Virtual lab for textbook writers: Vidya Bharati in order to be preparing in advance conducted online labs for textbook writers and content generators during January and February 2022, in 9 subjects in which more than 950 participated and got trained. f) 14 face-to-face labs for teachers: We conducted 14 labs on 14 subjects to more than 1200 subject experts, editors, content generators, and subject teachers between April and July 2022. The highlight of all these labs was that higher educational institutions of reputation voluntarily hosted with a very good set of resource persons.
g) JADUII PITARA (Magic Box) launched: Jaduii Pitara was launched by the ministry on 20th February 2023, a learning–teaching material for the foundation stage. This was the inspiration from Shishu Vatika of Vidya Bharati, a bag-less activity driven and spiritually rooted education by play and toy-based learning, which was well received.
IV. Progress report of 3rd year
During the year under report, we had to rush through with more initiatives as the time was very short and the whole process is to be completed by March 2024.
a) Textbooks for standards I and II: Based on the syllabus designed by us, our team with the help of NCERT and the technical group prepared textbooks for classes I and II which were released on 4th July 2023.
b) Anganwadi workers training: Vidya Bharati was given the responsibility of training, Baal Vatika I, II & III standards on the lines of Shishu Vatika to Anganwadi workers in some states, for which separate books were printed by respective state governments with our inputs.
c) Subject-wise approach before NCF committee: At their request, our team of 6 went with subject-wise approaches, with a special mention of history, in the draft document of the National Curriculum Framework of Secondary Education.
d) Chapter-wise suggestions and corrections: During the same meeting in May at Bangalore, we submitted chapter-wise corrections and suggestions for the draft NCFSE-2023. A total of 6 documents consisting of observations, missing pedagogical methodologies, and how it can be more Bharat-centric. The resultant effect was that the team appreciated the contributions of Vidya Bharati right from the beginning. They heaped praises for our recommendations being logical, objective, productive, and purposeful and are in contact with us.
e) NCFSE-23 is ready with our inputs: In continuation of the specialties of NCFECCE, the national curriculum framework for secondary education has suggested some of our best practices. Pancha koshatmak Vikas was explained in detail, along with value education, rootedness to Bharat, school culture, school processes, and different traditional PPRAMAANAS (Pratyaksha, Anumana, Upamana, Arthapatti, Anupalabdhi, Shabda) as sources of knowledge. School is a center of social change, school assembly practices were also mentioned as per our thought and practice.
V. Way Ahead
a) With a lot of struggle and continuous rapport we could reach this position of inserting most of our suggestions and recommendations in NEP-20 and NCF-2023 documents. Now it is for us to follow the next level of framing the syllabus and writing textbooks which needs very close monitoring because the textbook is the guiding book for the teacher and learning material for students. Hence, we wish that high-powered committees be constituted for the National Syllabus and Learning Teaching Material Committee (NSTC) and National Curriculum Framework Oversight Committee (NOC) which is an absolute necessity for continuing the work hitherto done.
b) Curricular area sub-groups for textbook preparation have to be taken up by NCERT immediately for which our role is to be defined and clarified before we move further in this regard.
c) We are ready with a list of subject experts, content generators, and editors for textbook writing. The syllabus gets ready by 30th September 2023 and textbook writing starts in October, for which we are prepared.
-D. RAMAKRISHNA RAO
(Akhil Bharatiya Adhyaksh, Vidya Bharati)