News: The new National Education Policy approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday will introduce four-year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry and exit options, abolish the M.Phil. degree, and establish a common higher education regulator with fee fixation for both private and public institutions.
It also envisions universalization of early childhood education from ages 3 to 6 by 2030, a new school curriculum with coding and vocational studies from Class 6, and a child’s mother tongue being used as the medium of instruction till Class 5.
This is the first new education policy in 34 years
A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft in December 2018, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.
Language issues caused the most outrage at that time, as the original draft called for mandatory teaching of Hindi to all school students.
That clause was dropped and the final policy document makes it clear that “there will be a greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State.
The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.
Sanskrit will be offered as an option at all levels of school and higher education.
Other classical languages will also be available, possibly as online modules, while foreign languages will be offered at the secondary level.
Education was a concurrent subject, with most States having their own school boards, State governments would have to be brought on board for actual implementation of this decision.
A new curricular framework is to be introduced, including the pre-school and anganwadi years.
A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the Class 3 level by 2025.
Students will begin classes on coding as well as vocational activities from Class 6 onwards.
Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge, will be incorporated into the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner
NEP 2020 has been the break-down of the existing 10+2 structure and introduction of the 5+3+3+4 structure of School Education.
The policy aims at transforming circular and pedagogical structure from the existing 10 years + 2 years to a more inclusive foundational to secondary stage transition.
While the actual system would not change, in terms of the years a child spends within the formal education system in the country at school level, the new structure brings into fold the already existing play schools within the ambit of ‘formal education’.
2. ANTIBIOTICS IN LIVESTOCK
News: Antibiotics are extensively misused in the dairy sector and its residues remain largely untested in milk, noted a recently published survey report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
The CSE’s assessment shows that dairy farmers indiscriminately use antibiotics for diseases such as mastitis (infection/inflammation of the udder), a common ailment in dairy animals. Often, these include critically important antibiotics (CIAs) for humans — the WHO has warned that they should be preserved in view of the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance.
India is the world’s largest milk producer — it produced a massive 188 million tonnes in 2018-19. Urban areas consume 52% of it, and the unorganised sector, comprising milkmen and contractors, caters to 60% of this consumer base; the remaining demand is met by dairy cooperatives and private dairies which represent the organised sector.
The CSE researchers also point towards inadequate focus on testing for antibiotic residues in the milk collected by some State federations, which process it and sell packaged milk and dairy products under popular brands.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
The FSSAI is headed by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government, either holding or has held the position of not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
The FSSAI has its headquarters at New Delhi. The authority also has 6 regional offices located in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai.
The following are the statutory powers that the FSS Act, 2006 gives to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
Framing of regulations to lay down food safety standards
Laying down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories for food testing
Providing scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government
Contributing to the development of international technical standards in food
Collecting and collating data regarding food consumption, contamination, emerging risks etc.
Disseminating information and promoting awareness about food safety and nutrition in India
The FSSAI has prescribed standards for the following:
Dairy products and analogues
Fats, oils and fat emulsions
Fruits and vegetable products
Cereal and cereal products
Meat and meat products
Fish and fish products
Sweets & confectionery
Sweetening agents including honey
Salt, spices, condiments and related products
Beverages, (other than dairy and fruits & vegetables based)
Other food product and ingredients
Irradiation of food
Fortification of staple foods i.e. vegetable oil, milk, salt, rice and wheat flour/maida
About National Dairy Development Board:
The National Dairy Development Board is an institution of national importance set up by an Act of Parliament of India.
The main office is in Anand, Gujarat with regional offices throughout the country. NDDB’s subsidiaries include IDMC Limited-Anand, Mother Dairy, Delhi, NDDB Dairy Services, Delhi and Indian Immunologicals Limited, Hyderabad.
The Board was created to finance, support and support producer-owned and controlled organisations. Its programmes and activities seek to strengthen farmer cooperatives and support national policies that are favourable to the growth of such institutions. Cooperative principles and cooperative strategies are fundamental to the board’s efforts.
It was founded by Dr. Verghese Kurien.
The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was created in 1965, fulfilling the desire of the then prime minister of India — the late Lal Bahadur Shastri to extend the success of the Kaira Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union (Amul) to other parts of India.