Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' may have resigned from the Union Cabinet but his contribution in revolutionizing India's education landscape will forever be remembered. While one may not see him in the power corridors of the Central leadership for now, but the carefully-crafted National Education Policy (NEP) will remain etched for generations to come. The 61-year-old Haridwar MP, who served as the country's Education Minister from May 2019 till July 2021, struggled with his health concerns after coronavirus caught him off guard in April, 2021. In June, Pokhriyal was rushed to Delhi's AIIMS due to post-Covid complications, signalling more troubles in his health.
According to sources, Pokhriyal's health issues prompted him to tender his resignation as he did not want it to become a hindrance in his professional work, particularly in the time-bound implementation of the new education policy. If sources are to be believed, the parliamentarian could be given an important organisational role ahead of the five assembly polls due early next year, in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, and Manipur.
NEP - HOW THE BIGGEST CONSULTATION PROCESS WAS CARRIED OUT
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who spearheaded the National Education Policy, held one of the biggest consultation process in order to get an innovative and quality-oriented policy document. He successfully engaged with parliamentarians, state education ministers, secretaries, governors, and vice chancellors of universities across the country. Strenuous efforts were made to reach out to 2.5 lakh gram panchayats to include everyone's opinion, an official said.
Nishank, infact, went on to get the policy document translated into 22 Indian languages so as to receive a feedback from every corner of the country. He encouraged educationists, NGOs, social organisations and government institutions to organise workshops and seminars on the new education policy in their respective institutions.
According to officials, this massive exercise resulted in the collection of more than 2 lakh suggestions from across India and abroad. Considered to be one of the largest open innovative exercises, the wide consultation process took into account aspirations of various stakeholders. The futuristic policy was widely acknowledged not just in India but abroad as well.
"Infact, it is for the first time in the history of independent India that an India-centric education policy has been formulated, reflecting the strong resolve to make India a knowledge-based superpower," the official said.
The "innovative" policy was lauded by best universities across the world including Harvard, Cambridge and Michigan. Being scientific research-oriented, practical and innovative, foreign scholars also heaped praises on the new education policy. More than 100 top institutions of the world analyzed and appreciated various aspects of the ambitious policy, the official said.
"This new education policy will in fact provide a strong foundation to build a New India. It’s only through the successful implementation of this policy that we can fulfill the dream of making India a Vishwa Guru in future. Considering the important and central role of students in the implementation, the education policy focuses on providing them excellent training opportunities with a focus to transform them completely. Number of positive measures are being undertaken to make our students strategically competitive at global level," former Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told India TV.
BOARD EXAMS- HOW PATHBREAKING DECISIONS WERE TAKEN
It was for the first time in the history that board examinations, touted to be the most important in school education, were completely cancelled this year, in view of the safety and security of students amid a raging pandemic. But, what led to this decision?
The Education Ministry opened up its consultation process by taking onboard various stakeholders who together brainstormed, analysed the pros and cons in order to arrive at a decision in the interest of students. Officials said Pokhriyal, despite his failing health, continued to hold several meetings. He also invited suggestions from students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders. However, he had to be hospitalised after his condition deteriorated.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi constituted a high-level committee of top ministers, who met with state chief ministers, education ministers, and other stakeholders. Days later, the prime minister announced cancellation of Class 12 board examinations, saying that the students should not be forced to appear in such a stressful situation. He emphasised that the health and safety of our students is of utmost importance and that there would be no compromise in this aspect.
Lakhs of students and parents heaved a sigh of relief and showered praises on the government for taking a considerate decision in the right direction.