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Experts sceptical about National Education Policy
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, June 20 - Speakers at a discussion organised by Gauhati University (GU) recently on the draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2019, were sceptical as to whether the policy would be able to achieve the gross enrolment ration (GER) in the stipulated time. Some of them also asserted that some of the provisions of the policy as regards to Assam are vague, said a delayed press release here.

The discussion, held at the conference hall of the GU New Academic Building, was attended by about 110 faculties from different academic departments and GU officials and also from other institutions. The meeting was also attended by Prof Bhabesh Ch Goswami, Vice Chancellor of Cotton University.

Speaking on the occasion, GU Vice Chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika highlighted the importance of the draft policy. He touched upon the issues like vocational education, higher education, adult education etc. He underlined the importance of gross enrolment ratio (GER) as well as expenditure of GDP in education.

However, Dr Hazarika raised doubt as to whether the GER could be achieved by NEP in the stipulated time. While appreciating the draft, he admitted that a lot of redundancies have been removed by the draft policy but a lot of further discussions and modification are necessary.

Vice Chancellor of Cotton University Prof Bhabesh Ch Goswami observed that the draft consisted of innovative ideas. But, with regard to Assam, certain specific considerations are required as some provisions are vague.

Dr Dulumoni Goswami, on behalf of the Department of Education, GU, has presented the main points of the draft policy. He explained the major four parts of the draft namely – school education, higher education, additional key focus areas and transforming education.

In his speech, Prof HP Sarma, Rector of Gauhati University, commented on the ‘5+3+3+4’ structure. He said that the secondary stage period is very crucial for the students because in this stage basically after class 12, the students have to appear different examinations.

Prof Dilip Kakati, Dean, Faculty of Science, said that the report is silent on the criteria in segregating the universities into Research University and Teaching University. Transparency and clarity on the criteria is very important as it is related to the grants allocation in future. He appreciated the concept of four-year Bachelor of Liberal Arts (BLA).

Prof MP Bezbaruah, Department of Economics, said that the standard of quality may be in risk due to the provision of providing autonomy to the colleges.

Prof JP Tamuly of the Department of ELT, suggested the reconsideration of the complexity of NE with regard to three language formulae because of the presence of linguistic and cultural diversity. He laid emphasis on providing concrete steps on how mother tongues are to be given the right place. The draft is silent regarding bilingualism and the importance of comprehensive and cognitive aspects.

Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta of the Department of Political Science, highlighted various issues related to the three language policy, fund allocation to private and public institutions, less importance to English etc.

Earlier, GU Registrar Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta welcomed all participants and detailed out the objectives of the draft and the structure of the school education; that is – 5+3+3+4. He pointed and discussed four important characteristics of NEP – flexibility, multidisciplinary, exit and entry points and interconnectedness.

Professor and Dean Saurav Pran Goswami, Prof Anita Tamuly, Prof Asha Kothari Choudhury, Dr Poli Vaqulin, Prof Alpana Borgohain, Prof Jayanta Krishna Sarma, Prof MP Borah also took part in the discussion, which was moderated by Dr Anubha Lahkar. The GU suggestions on the draft NEP, 2019, will be sent to the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development.

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