Karnataka’s minister of higher education in conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now
GN Bureau | September 2, 2021
The National Education Policy (NEP), announced last year, will change the face of education in India, says Dr CN Ashwathnarayan, Minister of Higher Education & Information Technology and Biotechnology, Science and Technology, Skill Development, Government of Karnataka.
Karnataka, considered the IT hub of the world, has become the first state to implement the NEP. It also translated the policy document into Kannada and formed a task force for its implementation. Karnataka started the admissions process for the new academic year on August 23 and will implement the policy from October 1.
Karnataka has been a pioneer in the field of education with many institutions of higher education, centres of excellence and institutions of national importance located in the state.
“The education policy is completely student-friendly. It will change the face of education in India. And in collaboration with the innovation industry, technology is going to play a big role,” said Ashwathnarayan. He was in a conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now in a webcast as part of the Visionary Talk series organized by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
Watch the video:
While the NEP provides a time frame of 15 years to implement the policy, the minister said that Karnataka plans to implement the entire policy within 10 years and the process to digitise content as required in the policy began a year and a half ago. “Karnataka started implementing the comprehensive learning management system (eLeaP), in which all educational institutions are connected to the system. Almost 2,500 classrooms in government institutions are internet-enabled and turned into smart classrooms.”
He said so far, the government has provided more than 3 lakh devices to students pursuing education in government institutions and more than 2 lakh devices will be provided to students this year. This will enable anytime and anywhere learning for students with content par excellence. Assessment is also done digitally through these devices for students. Narayan said that along with that, the unified university and college management system (UUCMS) also has been brought in to ensure coordination between government and institutions so they are in the loop.
Responding to a question on addressing the digital divide in the NEP implementation and many students not having the necessary gadgets as well as bandwidth and network connectivity, he said the government is trying to ensure 100% net connectivity with upgradation of digital infrastructure in the state and 4G availability in more than 85% of the state’s geographical area. Learning programmes are also telecast on television.
“The state is in the process of providing computer labs in all schools across the state. The government of India and the government of Karnataka are giving top priority to bridging the digital divide,” he said.
On the question of funds requirements for implementation, Ashwathnarayan said NEP has made it very clear that 6% of GDP should be spent on education. “At present we have been spending 1.8% of GDP for education. We have been impressing upon the government and insisting that we need to increase the budget for education. If society needs to strengthen and equality has to be brought into society and economic needs have to improve, it can happen only through the knowledge sector, innovation, technology and science. If these things are not emphasised upon, the economy cannot grow.”
He said the government is coming out with many initiatives like policy changes, cyber laws and cyber security for its smooth felicitation. During Covid-19, with the entire world shifting from physical to virtual, this will be the way forward and the government is also working in that direction. With people migrating back to their native towns and villages, progress will happen at the smallest of places with promotion of technology.
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