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Centre to up ‘PM Shri’ schools to test National Education Policy- Mrit News

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Minister says all languages are equal; Centre will take States along on policy decisions

Minister says all languages are equal; Centre will take States along on policy decisions

One percent of the total 11 lakh government schools in the country will be upgraded to “PM Shri” schools to serve as an experimental laboratory for the National Education Policy [NEP], Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on June 2, while also clarifying that “no language is less than Hindi or English” and that the Centre will work with State governments to frame policies like “five fingers coming together to form a fist”.

“There are a total 15 lakh schools in the country, out of which 11 lakh are government schools. Of these, 1% schools will be ‘PM Shri’ schools under a new scheme, which will be framed after consultations with you,” Mr. Pradhan said at the National Education Minister’s conference in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, which saw representations from 32 States and Union Territories.

He said that while Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas were exemplar schools, there was a need to go a step further. “’PM Shri’ schools will be a laboratory for the NEP. It will set benchmarks for readying the youth of the 21st century,” Mr. Pradhan said.

The Minister said that since “colonial rule was established by subjugating the education system”, it was now time to come out of “slave mentality” and de-colonise the system so that India could have knowledge-based leadership.

The Minister also tried to assuage concerns raised by States like Tamil Nadu over the imposition of Hindi and said, “No language is less than Hindi or English. All languages are national languages, whether it is Gujarati or Tamil, Punjabi or Assamese, Bengali or Marathi.”

The NEP also mentioned the need to promote local languages and mother tongues, including tribal languages, and reviving them with the help of technology, he said.

Mr. Pradhan spent a considerable amount of time during his speech dwelling on the need for the Central and the State governments to work together while taking policy decisions.

“We have gathered here to learn from each others’ experiences and turn them into a cumulative force. This is like five fingers coming together to form a fist so that 40% of our population, which is between the age of three to 23 years, can become 21st century’s global citizens,” he said.

Mr. Pradhan spoke about how, during his travels around the country, he had learnt of innovative methods adopted by different States in the field of education, such as Karnataka’s efforts to ameliorate learning losses during the pandemic; or in Odisha, where in a village, learning material was being disseminated in the local tribal language; or in Delhi, where patriotism is being promoted in schools; and of Haryana’s teacher training policy.

“You know best what are the requirements of children in your house. You will show us the way and we will work together,” he stressed.

Speaking about budgetary provisions this year for the use of technology in education, he said ₹1,000 crore had been allocated, which would be used to introduce 200 TV channels, and this would include a channel for each class from Class 1 to 12, with programmes for different class periods as well as virtual laboratories.

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