Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ held a virtual meeting Director General UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay in New Delhi today. They discussed key issues of mutual importance including National Education Policy, India’s response to COVID Pandemic especially in the education sector, among others concerning India UNESCO cooperation. Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education, delegation from UNESCO and senior officials of the Ministry were also present in the meeting.
Shri Pokhriyal said that under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Ministry of Education Government of India has ensured that education reaches even the last child in the remotest part of the country. In this context he mentioned about initiatives undertaken to ensure continuity of education for children across the country. Such as under Prime Minister E –Vidya scheme, DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) platform was started to continue education for students (with internet access). While One Class – One Channel programme ‘SWAYAM PRABHA’ was initiated for providing education to children without internet access.
Stressing that concerted efforts were taken to ensure no lose of valuable academic year, he mentioned about Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY), an initiative for differently-able children. He also spoke about MANODARPAN, the government’s initiative to provide online psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for their mental health and emotional wellbeing. This has helped over 12,500 Students, he said.
The Minister also mentioned that competitive entrance exams for almost 2.3 million students, the largest entrance examinations in the world were conducted successfully and safely during the covid pandemic. Highlighting the crucial role played by Indian educational institutions during the trying times of pandemic, Shri Pokhriyal said these institutions transformed the challenges posed by COVID into opportunities. They came up with innovations like the low-cost portable ventilators, affordable and AI-powered COVID-19 test kits, affordable and effective PPE kits and masks. These innovations proved instrumental in providing healthcare facilities to not only India but also to over 62 countries, he added. He said that two vaccines by India has helped not only India in fighting the covid but has also helped the entire world.
Minister emphasized that Year 2020 will be remembered for National Education Policy 2020 of Government of India. It aims to transform the educational ecosystem for over 340 million students of the country. It is based on the foundations of Equality, Equity, Access, Affordability and Accountability. It seeks to fulfill our Prime Minister’s vision of making India a ‘global superpower of knowledge’ and his ‘mission’ to create a ‘global citizen’. He emphasized that Indian Government is working on the mantra to “reform, perform and transform” the education landscape of India.
He mentioned that NEP’s aim to achieve 100% GER in school education by 2030, and 50% in Higher Education by the year 2035 will bring additional 35 million students into the fold of higher education. He also shared that Gender Parity Index in Higher education in India has crossed 1.
He noted that NEP-2020 recommendations are in accordance with the SDG Goal 4, “Education for All’. He said that as recommended in NEP, Government will soon bring out school textbooks with more emphasis on environmental education.
To mark the important occasion of ‘commemoration of 75th year of India’s independence ( “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”), Minister proposed holding an event at the UNESCO Headquarters highlighting India’s journey through these 75 years.
Director General of UNESCO Ms. Audrey Azoulay appreciated the response of the Indian Government in mitigating the challenges of covid and ensuring continuity of education during covid pandemic by providing education to the students through different mediums of TV, Radio, online etc. to the last student of the country. She remarked that India’s response to covid was remarkable in terms of scale and diversity. She requested the Union Minister to share the experiences and best practices relating to education sector of India with member states of UNESCO. She congratulated the Minister for bringing out the New Education policy which is visionary and capable of transforming the education sector. She remarked that important concepts under NEP like strengthening administrative capacities, Socio- Emotional learning, Environmental awareness, etc are very crucial for development of students. On behalf of UNSECO, she extended full support in implementation of National Education Policy.