Guwahati, Nov 20: Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said the country's northeast, where people speak in at least 180 different languages, epitomise diversity, and Assam, being the gateway to the region, will me made a "laboratory" for mother tongue-based education.
Heaping praise on the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Pradhan said it has amplified the importance of imparting lessons in native language, especially at the primary level.
"The NEP is a unifying factor in stimulating Indian knowledge systems, regional languages, art and culture. It is focused on developing desired learning competencies right from the pre-primary level, equipping students with 21st century knowledge and skills and preparing our youth to become global citizens," the minister said after inaugurating a two-day North-East Education Conclave here.
Pradhan further said that the Centre is striving to ensure parity in educational opportunities across the country, and to that end, a roadmap for creating 'Special Education Zones' is being prepared.
"Diversity of languages cannot be witnessed anywhere better than in the country's northeast, where around 180 languages are spoken by the tribes. Assam is going to be a laboratory for mother tongue-based education in India," the minister stated.
He also maintained that Guwahati, the largest city of Assam, has the potential of becoming an education hub of northeast as well as the whole country.
Pradhan lauded the Assam government for allocating six per cent of GDP for education.
He expressed confidence that the conclave will deliberate on the key aspects of NEP and design strategies for its successful implementation in the region.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, speaking on the occasion, underlined that NEP 2020 has given the opportunity to go beyond mark-sheets and strive for knowledge which will make India more powerful, take the country to greater heights, empower students and offer them opportunities to grow.
He said the two-day deliberations at the conclave would help finalise a roadmap for proper implementation of NEP in the region within a time frame.
Assam Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, UGC chairman Prof DP Singh, education ministers of the other northeast states, heads of different educational institutions and academicians were among those present at the inaugural session of the conclave.
The two-day programme has been organised by the department of education, in association with Shankardev Education and Research Foundation (SERF), Guwahati, a voluntary group working in the field of education with focus on policy implementation.