Schools and universities in the UAE welcomed India’s new educational policy, hailing the reforms as ‘futuristic’ that will eventually make the country a great study destination for all.
On Wednesday, the Indian government approved the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which aims to revamp all aspects of the country’s education system, bringing it closer to the best global standards.
The NEP restructures school education by setting out age 3-6 years as pre school, de-emphasises ‘high stakes’ boards, introduces a SAT-like university entrance test and offers the option of a four-year bachelor’s degree at the undergraduate level.
Head teachers explain the implications
Academicians in the UAE following the Indian curriculum contended that the aim of the NEP is to enable an individual to study one or more specialised areas of interest more deeply.
Zubair Ahmad, head of operations, Springdales School Dubai, said: “The curriculum has undergone an overhaul. Class X and XII board exams were the only aim of life for many Indian students. Now, the focus has shifted to skills and abilities. This policy is the best thing that can happen to the educational system. If we integrate skill sets in the curriculum, students will shine more. Development of the teacher is another key aspect of this policy.”
Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-principal of Credence High School, said: “The NEP 2020 is a positive step. It is progressive and forward-thinking and we look forward to its implementation.
“Critical thinking, experiential learning, interactive classrooms, competency-based education and integrated pedagogy are what we have always been following in our school and it is heartening to see that these are the focus points of NEP too,” added Thapar.
Importance to skills
Commending the paradigm shift, head teachers said it also gives more flexibility in the choice of subject combinations.
Mohammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal, Gulf Indian High School, Dubai, said: “Less stress on board exams, common entrance test for college admissions, scrapping of MPhil between PG and PhD etc. are some of the best parts of the policy. For UAE schools, the skill and competency based learning approach will be easy as they already are practising them in the classrooms.”
However, he said the three-language system will be a major challenge for UAE students as they already have to learn Arabic. “Considering the multilingual background of our nation and the necessity of equipping our students for foreign universities, the importance of English should be retained,” added Kottakkulam.