ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Blinkered View of Humanities Education?

The draft National Education Policy, 2019 (DNEP) is an important document. It has had a fair share of criticism but that is to be expected given the diversity of opinions about education in our country. It is a sincere attempt to present a vision for the future of education in India. It is holistic in that it combines the vision of education from school to higher education within one document. It thus attempts a kind of unification of the aims and practices of education. Most importantly, as part of this vision, it strongly promotes a basic foundation of multidisciplinarity and liberal arts education at all levels. To say this in explicit terms and to say it with enough detail to make it seem as if it is workable is indeed commendable.

In this document, the core of the reform in higher education is in the sections on liberal education which calls for a radical revision of our education system by promoting liberal arts-based curriculum instead of mono-disciplinary institutions. This holistic model of education, one which is globally well established, is a must for India given the diversity and complexity, both of the society as well as of the student population. It has already become the norm for the many private universities in India which have set up such a liberal arts programme.

However, this model of liberal education needs more than good intentions. It needs a deeper understanding of the nature of humanities education. In particular, it also needs clarity on how humanities education differs from science education. It is this lack of understanding of the nature of humanities education, given that humanities is central to the vision of this document, that makes this document yet another flawed approach to education in India.

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Updated On : 13th Aug, 2019

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