This event in Chennai today, 22nd June 2019, a seminar on National Education Policy 2019 (NEP), initiated, finalised with a panel consisting of eminent scholars from the Educational field, 74 religious organisations, 217 popular eminent persons. The seminar started with a prayer song and the welcome address was rendered by Sri. Chakravarthy ji, Secretary, Vivekananda Vidyalaya schools and Institutions, who welcomed the august audience, Smt. Thangam Meganathan, Chairperson, Rajalakshmi Group of Institutions, Dr. K.R. Nandakumar, State General Secretary, Tamil Nadu Nursery Primary Matric and CBSE Schools Association, Swami Mahamedhananda, Editor, The Vedanta Kesari, A Cultural & Spiritual Monthly Magazine of Ramakrishna Mutt, Sri. Malan, Journalist, Professor R. Srinivasan, Educationist, Madurai, Swamini Yathiswari Ananta Prema Priyamba, Secretary, Sri Sarada Mahavidyalayam Arts and Science College, Ulundurpet.

In his speech, “he welcomed the chief guests for the occasion, the audience, Vidya Bharathi always has been an Institution for the betterment, set higher standards, very proficient in the educational field for the country. He reminisced the past where various recommendations from commissions from 1992 onwards have been studiously implemented, now the latest being 2019 NEP, seminar has been conducted so that various groups are formed to take it to a positive progress”.

“The change in the pattern of education which is 5+3+3+4 taken at a higher level by an independent board, where it is worth mentioning that in the agricultural field of the total colleges comprising of about 9% where only 1% students come to study there. Swami Vivekananda said, for Education, if students can’t come to cities, education should go to villages. It’s high time a revival in the educational system is done through teachers’ selection, promotion process. Palwadi has good quality of education imparted by teachers”.

“Education should be a good framework for research foundations, where he quoted from Constitution What Dr. Ambedkar had said, How Good Constitution when made, implemented and carried by bad men, it becomes a wasted effort, likewise, even when the Constitution made is poor and bad, but if it has good men to carry the work then It becomes a very good effort. Same way education should be handled by good men to carry the legacy and future of India”.

In her Presidential speech Smt. Thangam Meganathan said, “Education can be managed only by going to school, where various recommendations have been made to this effect from 1968-86, 1992 and now the latest. Education is akin to Akshayapatram where, when we serve ourselves, we serve the world. According to the vedic system, education is ingrained in culture. Education is all about observing all around us and reflects civilisation. More than earning and survival it is thought of to be how one treat others by being educated.

With the brain development happening within the first 5-6 years, whatever value based education is imparted, it lasts a life time, later the parents can’t fret about their children being value less, while being educated, as it has already eroded their values, resources, thinking.  This policy coming at the right time now, she recollects professor Ramaswamy’s words, “UNCOVER THE PORTION”, the change in Education is good for children, parents, teachers as it sows the seeds of value for tomorrow to society and country.

Even the tough subjects should be taught with playfulness so that children develop affinity and not fear and they are happy to learn. Excellent institutes with excellent teachers should be provided, with an autonomy, where regulations should be light but tight. With the help of technology there should be transparency, 100% youth literacy and promotion of regional languages. There should be world class Institutions, with good teaching, good research and employment avenues, access to continued education”.

Next speaker Sri. Nanda Kumar said, “Apart from various commission’s recommendations, he welcomed the new pattern of 5+3+3+4 years of education. The flexibility in this year’s policy, students can choose the subject for exams as the classes go higher. B.Ed. is a must for teachers, Hindi not being mandatory, he suggests that the language needs to be learnt. Tuition fees in private schools have been made reasonable. Private schools’ curriculum, academics have been made holistic.
He narrated the advantages, the flexibility to write exams in local languages, no importance given to extra-curricular activities, teachers should be qualified, trained every year. To combine all state schools with less attendees, NCERT pattern to be followed substituting SCERT, for good fundamentals. Good basic foundation education standard to be set and then comes the secondary level of education. Yoga will be taught as a separate lesson. No mediators will be encouraged between school and parents. Good facilities should be given for students so that they don’t get dropped out, as the ratio from 30 students to 1 teacher it’s come down to 25:1 which is worrisome. Our ancient language Sanskrit should be made compulsory”.

Swami Mahamedhananda in his speech said, “Educational Policies made are always good but lacks implementation.  Rote learning is a temporary phenomenon, where the student himself will not be able to remember after a week or ten days’ time what he has learnt. Understanding the concepts is stronger than memorising. Breakfast and Mid-day meals the nutritional food, given to children where, it is linked to the food cost and will be maintained to benefit them. It is really an apathy that parents expect the teachers to do wonders on their children, to make them good man, which they failed to do. He believes in roping in parents to bring them back.

Children apart from studying, should be trained to skilled in small menial jobs like changing tube lights, taps, so that they become self-sufficient. Languages should be taught as a fun course and in the field of education, politicians should stay away. Exams should be conducted on the core concepts, where they have the national tutors programme, where a good student teaches his own class mates and juniors where the tutored will get a State Certificate. This would encourage the students, as while teaching too they learn the subject in depth.

There are two views, Horizontal and the vertical, Horizontal being the cut throat competition, to compare one with another, whereas vertical, would be to compete with oneself and co-operate with others, rather than to compete. He is appalled by the lack of focus, ethical reasoning, missing at the middle school level, values like seva, ahimsa, honesty, hardwork and spiritual orientation are missing too. The first Commission made in 1947 professed LCDS, loyalty, courage, discipline, self-sacrifice.
Morality and Purity are understood as, what I am outside, social etiquette is Morality and purity is what I am, when I am alone. Knowledge without purity makes a man a devil. Here he mentioned the para and apara Vidya essential for students to differentiate, para is the inner or the spiritual knowledge where as apara is the worldly, outside or the material knowledge. Since the children are growing towards more on the outside rather than inside that’s the reason why relationships are suffering.

He propagated the prophecy of Swami Vivekananda, across the world spirituality through yoga and meditation, where one through these, controls his mind, through which happens self-control. In comparison to science and religion he said spirituality is science”.

Sri. Malan, in his speech, said, “Every human being is born to learn, the basics of education is learnt from birth, to hear words, which gets formalised at school level. Neurologists say that a human brain develops within 0-6 years, which is about 85% growth. There are two things that has to be learnt to manage, skill sets, emotions. The brain has two functions which is maintenance and cognitive stimulation. Here the growth of brain depends on four factors, they are, Nutrition, Physical activity, Psychological-family and society, skills and emotion stimulation. Where lack of one affects the growth of a child, so all the aspects have to be taken care of.

As far as tamizh people are concerned this education policy is like having done a cataract operation to remove the curtain of ignorance that this National Educational Policy 2019, has come in good stead. Here he is very awe of Early Childhood Care Education, which is the foundation of learning, self-supporting skills, towards healthy mental and physical well-being. Whereas Integrated Child Development Scheme-ICDS, anganwadi, with bad infrastructure, they are not teachers per se but good community building people.

Mental strength can be attributed to know what is right and wrong, how to mingle with other children, share their thoughts with parents, effective communication. Physical strength can be taught by education through play, internal play-puzzles, logical thinking, external play bommalaattam or any outdoorsy games. Literacy can be taught by number, counting games, colouring, shapes recognition, drawing and music, language buy words and sentences.
The greatest hindrance faced is no words, no sing-song way, by-heart method of telling things is not learnt till eighth standard, that’s because of lack of participation by family, unlike our Hindu culture and to learn one’s mother tongue has to be made compulsorily. He quoted Bharathiyaar’s sooth saying that once English language paves in that by itself will take away the importance of our own regional languages. Our vision needs to be broadened and Sanskrit is mixed in all the languages in India. It is a cause of worry that teachers’ professionalism is backward as compared between Centre and State which is 2:1. National Merit scholarship is given when one students teaches other students in the class”.
Sri Srinivasan, in his speech said, “English language from time immemorial has been thought of to be a partition creator. This National educational policy is not only a modification, evolution but a revolution. He dreamt a day when media would be free from political affiliations then only the true and real news would reach to people. Why educate oneself? When there are educated employees and uneducated employers. Gandhi ji apart from all the qualifications as a barrister, still learnt the ways of life from his house-help, wife, mother, ultimately it is the family and society which teaches one values of life though education takes a back seat.

VASK-value, attitude, skill and knowledge are the basis which education also has its own share of contribution. When compared Tradition Vs Modernity, he said from the past, what one has gone through is wrong, then it is MODERN. It is time to revert back to our own regional languages learning without giving English language the importance that it had gotten. Sri. Kasturirangan ji has made this NEP 2019 as INDIA CENTRIC EDUCATION SYSTEM.

For a country to get empowered these are the essentials, abundance growth in nature, people, culture. But the scenario now is, education is solely read for the purpose of earning. Liberal education paves a way to study what course he or she wishes for, probably we could think of implementing it. BBC has noticed how children go and come back from school happily rather than keeping a sullen face to go to school. Education should be fun, lively and not to be feared. Unlike the western world, India has got the median age group of 29 years, where they are populous with grey economy.

It is imperative that we go back to our native identity, education, where English language alienated our native languages, places and country itself. We should inculcate children to talk in Indian languages at home, as the system of exams have been set to be answered in bi-lingual as per NEP 2019. We would then only feel rooted to our culture, language. Every other country takes pride to communicate in their own native language rather than English.

With no extracurricular, which is being brought into the main streamline, no educational load being added on, with aiming at no school dropouts, this NEP 2019 has brought about a bi-lateral between the states where the native language of one can be taught in the other. Medical education has been brought to be flexible with multiple entry and exit. There is all the more need to learn multilinguals, with emphasis on phonetics. Through language, other states and country should be one, is the aim. We should have a common language, religion and enemy as told by Sri. Ramachandra Guha.

We should revert back to our story telling roots, so that children will learn a lot of our past, glorious puranas. It is the land, people, values which constitutes our country and in all the states of the India it is the same way, that it is always thought of to be MOTHER AND FATHER ARE THE FIRST LIVING GODS”.

Swamini Yathiswari Ananda Prema Priyamba in her speech said, “It is time we have to be self-confident about our glorious past history, NOW, how it has to be implemented as a tool to revive our educational system, to suit our country. It is sad that teaching quality is always good while comparing with private school teachers to Government school teachers. When asked about this trend it was found that many outside factors go into the attitude of Government teachers like mood changes as they are being hypnotised by media, political, communal forces. As Tamil Nadu is different from other states, it needs to be de-hypnotised.

In the first chapter of Arthashasthra of Chanakya’s, the irony is that it is felt that no one teaches the young ones how to think. When a student is asked to do something from young age he had lost the capacity to think which by itself created a problem, that much later, at an advanced age he thought to himself that he never had the capacity to think before he could act. Education should be so that it develops the thinking capacity in one and at any given mental state of happy-sad, good health-sickness, good-bad times to control the mind. Words, thoughts, actions and deeds should be ethical, moral and social.

For good education to be imparted, the teachers should be strong mentally. While undergoing teachers training, a novice trainee teacher should not be left alone to handle difficult students, but the trainer should assist her and should not remain indifferent to the situation. The problems are not there with system, schools, but with the delivery channel. Real teaching would lead to real exposure. Drivers and teachers are same in one way, they should be very strong mentally to face any difficult, unforeseen situations. It is true that more than mother, father it is the teachers who should be treated as gods”.

The seminar concluded with vote of thanks, the decisions taken in the NEP-2019, passed with everyone’s’ concurrence vocally.

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