“Every Child in School”: NEP Opens Avenues In State Open Schooling

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– Ravindra Kumar Mishra

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the third education policy after independence, was released with an objective to make “India a global knowledge superpower” by bringing sweeping changes in school and higher education. It focused on overhauling school education, bringing school education access to all, bring back school dropouts into the mainstream and offering school to those who never attended school or are unable to attend regular school due to disability or any other reason.

In the NEP 2020, there has been a target to bring back about two crore out-of-school children into the mainstream through open schools, and open learning classes are a few proposed ways to achieve it. To realise this vision, the concept of open schooling is supposed to be strengthened by offering secondary education equivalent to class X and XII with an option of joining vocational courses.

As a result of schools having closed down, due to the outbreak of COVID -19, big shifts did not take place. Technology connects people with its limitations, and students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders have gone through a great deal of uncertainty. This contributed to the learning gap among children.

The second wave of the pandemic left thousands of children with a surviving parent or without parents. They may require support to continue their education beyond physical schools and rehabilitation so that they are prevented from being forced into child labour.  

With a Determination of “Every Child in School” and intention to translate the NEP objective into reality, the state government of Assam has come up in a big way by offering school education through State Open Schooling (SOS), Assam for dropped out, socially and economically disadvantaged groups of children, who did not catch the bus due to plethora of reasons, differently-abled children who can not afford to attend physical school and those who are out of school.

To begin with, SOS, Assam shall cater the need of classes IX and X in regular streams that may include vocational subjects.

The SOS, Assam has been activated, programmes are being created, which may need training and capacity building of stakeholders in a fashion to build a robust and smart future of the nation and attain the envisaged objective of NEP.

The path of SOS, Assam that has been stretched before us is both exciting and filled with challenges. The journey has begun. May it succeed in its endeavour!

The author is the former chief consultant, Ministry of Education (formerly MHRD), GOI. The author can be reached at [email protected]

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