Pune, Nov 18 (PTI)Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal `Nishank' said on Wednesday that despite opposition, final year college exams were held successfully in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at an event here through video conference, he also praised educational institutes and teachers for switching to online platforms for teaching during the pandemic.
The Union government took a firm stand that final year examinations must be held, because if students had been passed without exam, they would have been stuck with the `passed during COVID-19' tag for all their lives, he said.
'We took a strong stand and decided to conduct the exams. Some people opposed the decision, some went to the Supreme Court, but the SC also quashed their petitions and ruled that exams should be held,' Pokhriyal said.
When the decision to conduct JEE and NEET exams (for engineering and medical courses) was taken, some people hit the road to protest, but the majority of students who had burned the midnight oil to prepare wanted exams to be held, he said.
'The holding of JEE and NEET was so successful that the Election Commission, when asked how would they hold Bihar elections during the pandemic...their reply was they will adopt the pattern used for the conduct of JEE and NEET,' the minister said.
The new education policy stresses that students should be taught in their mother tongues because experts believe that it improves comprehension, he said.
'We do not oppose English but we insist on mother tongue....take the example of Japan, Germany, Israel, who prefer their own language to impart education and none of these countries are lagging behind in any field,' he added.
The new education policy is also the foundation of 'atma-nirbharata' (self reliance) because it introduces vocational training at early stage, he said.
It will also stop talent migration, the minister claimed. 'As part of the new policy, we have started an initiative called `study in India' and with this the race for going abroad for education will stop,' Pokhriyal said Before Lord Macaulay (whose education policy was implemented in India during British rule), literacy rate in the country was '97 per cent', the minister claimed.
India was a leader in education with universities such as Nalanda, he added.
The event had been organized by the Maharashtra EducationSociety, which runs several educational institutions in Pune. PTI SPK KRK KRK