2020 will be remembered as not just the year of coronavirus, COVID-19, and lockdown but a year that took a quantum leap to change India’s Education System. Yes, on July 29, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
This policy that comes after 34 years of an almost redundant education system heralds major transformation and landmark reforms for schools and colleges in the country. Here, is brief and bare understanding of India’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
Aim of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020
The policy by 2030, aims to achieve the below long terms goals:
- India’s education policy to align with UN’s SDG4 targets.
- Replace impractical rote learning with skill-based learning.
- Instill scientific and mathematical thinking from a young age
- Introduce exams to test core concepts and application of knowledge
- Reinstate into the system two crores out of school children.
- Provide the same standards of learning in Public and Private schools
- Education from pre-school to secondary level to reach 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 2030
- Begin play-based education from 3 years with Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
- Ensure every child who finishes school becomes adept in at least one skill
- Expand higher education enrolment gross ratio from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035 by adding 3.5 crore new seats to higher education institutions.
- Permit multiple entries and exit across higher education levels through academic credit banks.
- Create a single higher education regulator instead of multiple existing regulators like UGC, AICTE, and NCTE
The structure of the National Education Policy 2020
The NEP will abolish 10+2 school curricular structure and replace it with the 5+3+3+4 Curricular and Pedagogical Structure. It will have –
- First 5 for primary students foundational stage 3-8 years,
- next +3 for pre-primary from 8 to 11 years,
- next +3 for preparatory stage from 11-14 years,
- last +4 for secondary stage from 14-18 years
As per the government NEP 2020 will “bring hitherto uncovered age group of three to six years, recognized globally as a crucial stage for the development of mental faculties, under school curriculum”.
Highlights of National Education Policy (NEP 2020)
Here are a few highlights of the new policy
- Offering multilingualism
Schools up to Grade 5 can teach in the mother tongue, regional language, or home language without any compulsory language being imposed. Foreign languages and selection of three-languages will be offered at the secondary and higher school level.
- Emphasis on literacy, numeracy, and vocation
Develop reading, writing, mathematical thinking, scientific temper, and a skillset are the core of this system. The school curriculum will be based upon these core concepts to deliver vocation based education. The school will also integrate Arts & Sciences, Curricular and extra-Curricular activities, and Vocational and Academic streams.
- Assessment reforms
Report cards will be holistic and comprehensive based on knowledge application, skills and capabilities, to replace the current system of marks and ranking. As per Amit Khare, Higher Education Secretary, school exams will be held for Classes 3, 5, and 8. Assessment in other years will shift to a “regular and formative” style that is more “competency-based, promotes learning and development and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity”.
4. Flexibility of subjects in higher education
The policy will reduce the fixed curriculum of students and instead provide them with a choice of subjects to become “multi-disciplinary”. Students will be allowed to take up a mix of arts and sciences; curricular and extra-curricular activities; and vocational and academic courses. The policy also proposes esteemed education institutes like the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) provide “holistic education” by 2040 by including arts and humanities subjects alongside the science subjects.
5. Academic Bank of Credits
The NEP 2020 policy will introduce multiple entry/exit, and transfer of credit through an Academic Bank of Credits to give students flexibility. A multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree will be awarded on completing the last four years of the 5 +3 +3 +4 study. Students who complete 2 out of 4 years will be eligible to receive a diploma, and those who can complete only one year will receive a vocational/professional course certificate.
6. Affiliation System to be phased out
There will be graded autonomy for colleges phasing out Affiliation System over the next 15 years.
7. Single regulator governance
A single governing body called the Higher Education Council of India (HECI) will be set up to regulate college/higher education. All institutions except medical and law colleges that have over 3,000 students will need to follow directives set by HECI. The National Higher Education Regulatory Council for regulation, General Education Council to set standards, Higher Education Grants Council for funding and National Accreditation Council for accreditation will be reporting to HECI. The common entrance test (CET) for admission to universities and higher education institutions will be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
8. National Educational Technology Forum to be created
Schools, teachers, and students to be digitally equipped. The use of technology will be an integral part of Planning, Teaching, Learning, Assessment, and Administration of every educational institute. More online courses in regional languages and virtual labs will be developed.
9. Setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups
Education minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in his tweet highlighted equality in education. He tweeted “We will be setting up a Gender-Inclusion Fund to provide equitable & inclusive education for all. The fund will be available to States to support and scale effective community-based interventions that address barriers to female & transgender children’s access to education”
The new National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has been formed after consultation with 2.5 lakhs Gram Panchayats, 6600 Blocks, 6000 ULBs, 676 Districts, and various state MP’s.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying he “wholeheartedly welcomed” the policy, which he called a “long due and much awaited reform in the education sector”.
India likewise is ready to welcome a root change and a revolution in the education system.
Better Learning, Better India