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A brief overview on National Education Policy 2020 on the legal profession

The Government of India had rolled out the National Education Policy 2020 popularly known as NEP 2020 with the aim to provide a realistic approach to education which makes the curriculum resonate correct application of knowledge in the sphere of work in the future. This is to build a generation for whom knowledge would arise and get embedded in their minds through proper application and interest.

Similarly for the future legal professionals who are pursuing a degree on Law or LLB from different universities in India, it is what they learn in the near life situations of handling legal cases, making documentation, developing oration skills and to analytically think and act has become more important. This is inculcate the habits of a robust Lawyer or Attorney, who works hard and at the same time enjoys the work he or she does.

Earlier the curriculum of the legal studies laid a greater emphasis on the theory of law which did not have much of a resemblance or application in the actual case scenarios in the court room. The same meant emphasis and focus on working under experienced lawyers and learning the ropes from them.

The world is undergoing rapid changes in the knowledge landscape. With the rise of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, many unskilled jobs worldwide may be taken over by machines, while the need for skilled labour, particularly involving mathematics, computer science and data science, in conjunction with multi-disciplinary abilities across the sciences, social sciences and humanities, will be in rapidly increasing demand. There will be a growing demand for humanities and art, as India moves towards becoming a developed country and among the three largest economies in the world.

Education must thus, move towards less content, and more towards learning about how to think critically and solve problems, how to be creative and multi-disciplinary, and how to innovate, adapt, and absorb new material in novel and changing fields. While learning by rote can be beneficial in specific contexts, pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and, of course, enjoyable. The curriculum must include basic arts, crafts, humanities, games, sports and fitness, languages, literature, culture, and values, in addition to science and mathematics, to develop all aspects of learners’ brains and make education more well-rounded, useful, and fulfilling to the learner. Education must build character, enable learners to be ethical, rational, compassionate, and caring, while at the same time prepare them for gainful, fulfilling employment.

This National Education Policy is the first education policy of the 21st century, and aims to address the many growing developmental imperatives of this country. This Policy proposes the revision and revamping of all aspects of the education structure, including its regulation and governance, to create a new system that is aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st century education, while remaining consistent with India’s traditions and value systems. The National Education Policy lays particular emphasis on the development of the creative potential of everyone, in all its richness and complexity. It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive skills - both ‘foundational skills’ of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive skills such as critical thinking and problem solving – but also social and emotional skills - also referred to as ‘soft skills’ - including cultural awareness and empathy, perseverance and grit, teamwork, leadership, communication, among others.

The implementation of previous policies on education has focused mainly on issues of access and equity, with a lesser emphasis on quality of education. The unfinished agenda of the National Policy on Education 1986, Modified in 1992 (NPE 1986/92), is appropriately dealt with in this Policy.

The study of law is the most contemporary field which entails learning by working or in other words, on the job learning. On the job learning complements the theories that a law student reads and grasps in the law school or college and it is by far the most pragmatic form of registered learning in one’s mind. Going by the fact that law itself is such dynamic, involves a lot of ingenuity and creativeness in thinking and acting accordingly, a law disciplinary is always in the process of grasping and in the state of perpetual learning process.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has played a substantial role in bringing significant changes. It focuses on modernization and reform in the field of law. The objective of the NEC 2020 is to put more emphasis on keeping up with the demands of the changing and growing environment globally.

There is a huge gap between what young lawyers are taught in law schools and what is expected of them in the digital world. Redesigning the curriculum is important to bridge the gap between the two things. It should be captivating, innovative, and imaginative to the students leading to holistically develop themselves with interest simultaneously developing their cultural, social, and economic environment to become complete professionals.

On the track learning highlights at all stages, out of the box thinking which finds resemblance of real-lifesituations and theories which would automatically help students prepare and brace themselves to the sweeping technological changes. The legal world is rapidly adopting to artificial intelligence, Chat GPT, data science, cloud computing, crowd sourcing, virtual reality, and meetings. On hand experience is the need of the hour to make students be aware as to the level of proficiency that will be required for them to reach the level of experts and be confident in the correct approach to the profession. This would require them to move out of the method of adopting just academic knowledge, rather gain valuable on hand experience and feedback. NEP 2020 curriculum stresses to incorporate the same and bring about sweeping changes in the educational system.

To enable the hands of experience to students it is of extreme importance to teach the teachers. The teachers need to change their way of teaching to involve and engage the students through the use of lectures, books, experience and the art of communication to involve, explore and inculcate the teaching in the minds of the students.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emphasizes the importance of on hand learning as an essential aspect of education. On hand learning is a teaching approach that involves hands-on learning experiences that allow students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings. In the context of legal education, experiential learning is crucial as it provides law students with practical skills and knowledge required to succeed in the legal profession. The NEP recommends various courses and methods of experiential learning that can be incorporated into the legal curriculum. To name a few, Legal Clinics, Moot Courts, Internships, Legal Aid Camps, Role playing exercises.

In conclusion, the NEP 2020 addresses various related issues in the context of legal education, including interdisciplinary education, technology integration, research and publication, and ethics and professionalism. By addressing these issues, the legal education system in India can produce competent and skilled legal professionals who can meet the demands of the changing legal profession and contribute to the development of the legal profession and society.




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