: 2022  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 175--177

National Education Policy 2020 and Ayush

Sanjeev Sharma 
 Vice - Chancellor, National Institute of Ayurveda Deemed to be University (De - Novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjeev Sharma
National Institute of Ayurveda Deemed to be University (De - Novo), Jaipur, Rajasthan

How to cite this article:
Sharma S. National Education Policy 2020 and Ayush.J Ayurveda 2022;16:175-177

How to cite this URL:
Sharma S. National Education Policy 2020 and Ayush. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 6 ];16:175-177
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Any country for its development depends on citizens and resources it is having. The use of the resources depends on the people of the country that how these resources can be useful for the individuals, society, and the country. However, if these are misused or exhausted may lead to many problems for the nation. Hence, people must be educated enough to understand the usefulness and limits of the resources they are having. World Bank in its context of the understanding the poverty has stated that “education is a human right, becomes a powerful driver of development, and one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. It delivers large, consistent returns in terms of income and is the most important factor to ensure the equality of opportunities.” It has been observed in many studies that families, societies, or countries where education is good, they grow and develop fast and the quality of life of the citizens improves dramatically. Hence, the education system of any country decides its progress, health, happiness, and prosperity.

Education in India remained a very much concerned and organized subject since the Vedic period and was continued under the observance and teachings of “Gurus” mostly in temples, gurukuls (schools), ashramas, pathshalas, or Matthas. In such system of education in gurukuls, etc., the main focus was on the holistic development of the pupils under the Guru (teacher) along with professional, vocational, and spiritual education. This type of education used the person to make useful for the society and ultimate aim always remained as Moksha (salvation). There was no system of formal degrees or certificates at that time and student trained by a perfect guru was acceptable to the society and administration as well. For higher studies, student used to study in viharas or universities such as Nalanda and Takshashila. In these universities, interested foreigners also used to come and studied the desired subjects or fields. There were provisions of stay, food, discussions, symposia, and conferences in all these universities, making these as a perfect place for learning and training. Due to such a vast educational setup, huge collection of textual collections and libraries, India also attained the status of Vishwa guru at that time. For Ayurveda learning and training also, the same system was in vogue and students used to learn the theoretical as well as the practical aspects from the gurus. Gurus were highly respected in the society. Later on, societies spread into different religions, hence, the education system also changed slowly and new types of places or institutions and systems came into existence such as madarsas, maktabas, buddhist temples or monasteries, churches which used to provide religious educations along with other spheres of education.

The Jesuits introduced India to both the European college system and the printing of books, through founding Saint Paul's College, Goa in 1542. The French traveller François Pyrard de Laval, who visited Goa c. 1608, described the College of St Paul, praising the variety of the subjects taught there free of charge. Like many other European travelers who visited the college, he recorded that at this time it had 3000 students, from all the missions in Asia. Its library was one of the biggest in Asia, and the first printing press was mounted there (source: Wikipedia). In the British era, today's school, college, and university system along with curricula with printed books started, which underwent several modifications and improvements to reach the present status of education. Post independence, India continued same educational system and there were gradual updates in the polices based on the recommendations of various commission and committees in order to meet the requirements of the nation.

After independence, the Government of India was sensitive enough to improve and update the Indian system of education at school, college, and university levels. Different committees and commissions were constituted by the Government of India at different times to suggest changes in the ongoing education system. In this sequence, the first postindependence commission was Radhakrishnan Commission (1948-1949) under the able leadership of Dr. Radhakrishnan and was also known as University Education Commission. It suggested to set up University Grants Commission for the integration of secondary education and higher education. It also suggested to develop democratic values, peace, and harmony. On September 23, 1952, a Secondary Education Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. A Lakshmanswami Mudaliar popularly known as Mudaliar Commission was constituted by the Government of India. The main focus of this commission was the installation of a higher secondary system. Emphasis on education and vocational guidance improvement in methods of teaching and system of examination, to focus on three language systems were among the main recommendations. This commission submitted its report in June 1953. The next Commission was the National Education Commission, popularly known as Kothari Commission (1964-1966). This was set up to examine the overall aspects of the educational sector in India to suggest and evolve the policies for the development of the education in India. Its report focused on education and national development. In 1986, a new education policy on Education was introduced by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, popularly known as The National Policy on Education-1986. The focal point of this policy was to equalize educational opportunity, especially for Indian women, ST, and SC communities. Child centered approach in primary education initiated and launched “Operation Blackboard” to improve primary schools nationwide. On June 13, 2005, the former Prime Minister of India Sh. Manmohan Singh constituted “National Knowledge Commission” which was a think tank of policies that aimed to improve the Knowledge-intensive service sectors. The main recommendations of this commission were Creation of Universities, Achieve Excellence, and Creation of Regulatory Institutions. Hence, it is evident that Government at different times has done their best efforts to bring the changes as per the domestic and international needs.

Despite all these efforts by the Governments, there seems a huge gap in the existing system of the examinations. Shreya Tandon, in her blog, writes about the present day education in India that “Till the date, Indian education has been plagued by the “Russian Roulette” examination system. Russian roulette is when you take a revolver, fill one of its chambers with a bullet, spinning the cylinder and pulling out the trigger while keeping its mouth on your head. The chances that one will survive are five out of six but that last will lead to a bullet in your head which is shot by you. Unfortunately, our examination system has become like this for ages which mean you will pass, you may even get decent marks but if you don't, you are out and you have a bullet in your head. Similarly, without even knowing the importance and having clarity in the subject matter, students were just expected to memorize the concepts and sit in the examination. Most of the students make it but the ones that don't and flunk become history or maybe a footnote to history. However, even if you are among the five lucky ones, there is no guarantee that you'll be placed in the best top shot places. In that case, where will you go with your marks?” Measures to seal the loopholes in the education system are essentially required and were long awaited. Moreover, the requirements in the education system are dynamic and periodical reviews of the existing system are essential.

The present Government, through the Ministry of Human Resource Development, launched the National Education Policy 2020. The objective of this policy is to bring the changes in the current dying 34-year-old policy in schools and the education system. This policy considers the ground reality of the country and has given the focus on creativity, innovation as well as personality development rather than to score high. Various measures have been suggested to reduce the drop-out rate of the students. This policy ensures the universal assess at all levels of school education, early child care, and education with new curricular and pedagogical structure, attaining fundamental literacy and numeracy, multilingualism and the power of the language, equitable and inclusive education school governance, holistic multidisciplinary education at the college level, and raised institutional architecture.

The unique feature of NEP 2020 is that it also talks about the integration of various systems of medicine practiced in India. It says that “Given that people exercise pluralistic choices in healthcare, our health-care education system must be integrative, meaning thereby that all students of allopathic medical education must have a basic understanding of Ayush and vice versa.” Hence, NEP 2020 gives an opportunity to integrate the medical education systems and to give a first-hand knowledge of each system of medicine practiced in India apart from his main system, in which he actually is studying. From the stakeholder's side, there are mixed reactions on this policy. In general, the Ayush sector has welcomed this step and has stated that this will develop an understanding of each system of medicine and will prevent unnecessary criticism by the practitioners of one system of medicine of other systems. Such practitioners will be handier and more useful at primary, secondary, and tertiary health-care settings. On the other hand, the practitioners of the western system of medicine have some reservations on this integration and have felt that precautions must be used otherwise this can produce pseudo quacks. However, at almost all other levels, this approach has been welcomed. The Government of India has also constituted an expert committee to suggest the way of integration. The report of this committee is still awaited. In fact, India is having good strength of medical professionals if Ayush doctors are also considered along with doctors of the modern system of medicine and are far ahead of the WHO recommendations. However, unfortunately, we are not ready to distribute and integrate healthcare to benefit the population of the country. There are conflicts to integrate the systems of medicine at every level and sphere, such as inter-disciplinary, intra-disciplinary, and transdisciplinary, which creates hurdles to provide smooth and uniform health care. NEP also states that there shall be much focus on preventive health care and community medicine in health education.

The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM) is doing its best efforts to redesign the curriculum and syllabi in light of NEP 2020, which will provide more practical exposure to the students. NCISM is also trying to come up with electives at graduation level and students will have many options to select the electives as per their choice. However, when we look at the school-level education and consideration of career opportunities, the student and parents at that level hardly consider Ayush as a career opportunity because of the absence of the awareness at that level. Hence, there is a need to include the relevant Ayush contents of Indian systems of medicine at school level from primary to secondary standards. This will create an awareness in the young minds and they at that level and they may consider the Ayush as career opportunity. Because in recent years, the awareness and demand of Ayush in general and Ayurveda in particular have increased manifold at the national and international levels. There is a huge requirement of quality Ayush workforce and medicines. This will only be possible if we produce the best trained Ayush human resources, medicines, and services. Hopefully, the new steps being taken by the Government of India for the improvement of the Ayush education sector will bring the best results.