Overcoming Challenges: Adapting to National Education Policy 2020 in Nagaland

Kevisato Sanyu
Founder, NagaEd (nagaed.com)

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has been making headlines in Nagaland recently, with an increasing focus on its implementation. This includes Commissioner & Secretary for School Education & SCERT, Kevileno Angami’s call for schools to keep updated and upgraded, District Education Officer (DEO, charge) Dimapur, A Mughali Sema’s reminder of the upcoming rollout of components and activities in line with the NEP 2020 and the recent notice in the Morung Express that the Union Ministry of Education had released a pre-draft of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for school education that will make second-hand books outdated and redundant. 

As the NEP 2020 comes into increased focus in Nagaland, it has been met with both optimism and scepticism. While the policy envisions a more inclusive, flexible, and skill-oriented education system, its implementation in remote areas like Nagaland presents unique challenges that warrant closer examination.

One of the primary challenges is the diversity of languages and cultures in Nagaland. With over 16 major tribes, each with its unique language and customs, implementing a standardized policy becomes inherently difficult. The NEP 2020 emphasizes mother tongue-based education, but with such linguistic diversity, providing adequate resources and teacher training for each language is a monumental task. Furthermore, the need for English language proficiency to compete in the global job market cannot be ignored. 

Another challenge is the lack of infrastructure and connectivity in Nagaland’s remote regions. The NEP’s ambitious goal of achieving 100% digital literacy and integrating technology into classrooms poses considerable difficulties in areas where basic amenities such as electricity and internet connectivity are unreliable. Developing the necessary infrastructure to facilitate digital learning requires significant investment and collaboration between the government, private sector, and local communities.

The third challenge lies in teacher recruitment and training. Nagaland faces a shortage of qualified teachers, particularly in rural areas, which hinders the quality of education. The NEP 2020 mandates regular teacher training and continuous professional development, but implementing these provisions in remote regions may prove difficult due to logistical constraints and limited resources.

Lastly, the unique socio-political context of Nagaland, marked by a history of insurgency and political instability, raises concerns about the policy’s long-term sustainability. Ensuring that the NEP 2020 is adapted to the specific needs of Nagaland’s diverse communities while addressing the region’s distinct challenges, requires continuous engagement, dialogue, and collaboration between policymakers, educators, and local stakeholders.

Despite these and other challenges, there is a mandate for its implementation and therefore we must focus on activities within our control if we are to keep in step with the policy’s execution across the country. Here I outline three steps that we can take to address these obstacles and contribute to the successful implementation of the NEP 2020.

1. Engaging in Community Outreach and Collaboration:

To implement the NEP 2020 effectively, we must engage with local communities and stakeholders. By forming partnerships with community leaders, parents, and local organizations, schools can better understand the unique needs and cultural nuances of their community. These collaborations can help us create more inclusive and contextually relevant curriculums, as well as promote a sense of ownership and involvement in the educational process among community members.

2. Investing in Infrastructure and Connectivity:

Nagaland’s remote regions often grapple with a lack of essential infrastructure, such as reliable electricity and internet connectivity. To facilitate digital learning, as envisioned by the NEP 2020, we must invest in upgrading infrastructure. This can be achieved through public-private partnerships, collaborations with non-profit organisations (Smile Foundation, eVidyaloka), or by seeking support from international development agencies (Oxfam India). By providing stable electricity, robust internet connections, and up-to-date facilities, schools can help bridge the digital divide and ensure their students reap the benefits of technology-enhanced learning.

3. Prioritising Teacher Recruitment and Training:

The success of the NEP 2020 hinges on the quality of teaching, which makes addressing Nagaland’s teacher shortage crucial. Schools can play a vital role in recruiting and training qualified educators, particularly in rural areas. Schools can collaborate with teacher training institutions and organisations such as Teach for India and encourage teaching staff to find professional development opportunities through DIKSHA-Nagaland. There are also international programs such as Cambridge Teacher Support Service that provide opportunities globally. Taking these steps ensures our educators receive regular, high-quality professional development opportunities. And thereby enabling them to effectively deliver NEP-aligned curricula.

We have a unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in addressing the challenges posed by the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020. By engaging in community outreach and collaboration, investing in infrastructure and connectivity, and prioritising teacher recruitment and training, schools can help realise the policy’s vision of an inclusive, flexible, and skill-oriented education system. By doing so, we will not only contribute to the betterment of Nagaland’s education landscape but also help secure a brighter future for the region’s youth.

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