The Union Cabinet, Government of India approved the National Education Policy and it was made public on 29th July 2020. This education policy replaces the old National Policy on Education brought in 1986. The National Education Policy, 2020 is based on five pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability. This policy will definitely help in improving the quality of education in India at both schools and in higher education. It will provide enough resources to students at all levels to develop their skills and compete at a global level.
Some important highlights of National Education Policy-2020 are:
Providing Universal Access at all Levels of School Education - Apart from imparting school education to all at pre-school to secondary, the government aims to bring nearly 2 crore school dropouts back into mainstream education. This process will be facilitated by imparting education to students through both formal and informal mode. It will be achieved by various means such as (not limited to):
i. Providing infrastructure support.
ii. Developing innovative education centers.
iii. Tracking of students and accessing their learning levels.
iv. Open learning for classes 3, 5, and 8 through open schools and NIOS.
v. Providing secondary education equivalent to 10th and 12th.
Change in Existing Curricular and Pedagogical Structure – The existing 10+2 structure of school education is to be changed to 5+3+3+4 structure which will be in sync with age groups of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years respectively. An important advantage of this system would be to bring the children in the age group of 3-6 years in the purview of education through Anganwadi and pre-school.
Providing Education of/in Various Languages – The new policy laid stressed on the language of teaching to be in mother tongue/regional language at least till 5th grade and preferable till 8th grade. Sanskrit will be offered to all the students including school and higher education as an OPTIONAL language as a part of three language systems. Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level. Apart from this, a standardized Indian Sign Language will be defined for the students with hearing impairment.
Reforms in Assessment System – The existing summative assessment system is to be changed to a regular assessment which will be based on the competency of students along with their learning and will test their skills, critical thinking to provide a measure of their overall development. The school examinations will be conducted in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades. However, the board exams will be conducted in 10th and 12th but it would be redesigned which will aim at holistic development.
Efficient Process for Recruitment of Teachers – Recruitment of teachers will be made transparent and efficient. Their promotions will be made on the basis of merit. Apart from this, they would be provided periodic performance appraisals and the opportunity to become educational administrators. A common standard for teachers will be designed in the name of National Professional Standards for Teachers by 2022 that will help in ascertaining the quality of teachers.
Setting up Standards and Accreditation for School Education – Through NEP-2020, a separate system for policymaking, regulation, operations, and academic matters is envisaged. This will be achieved by setting up an independent State School Authority (SSSA). Apart from this, the SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework in consultation with associated stakeholders.
With the NEP-2020, the government aims to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education to 50% by 2035. The GER of 2018 stands at 26.3%. To achieve this milestone 3.5 crore new seats will be created in various higher educational institutes including vocational education.
1. Through the NEP-2020, a reformed Under Graduate education will be imparted with flexible curricula, various combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education, and multiple entry and exit points. UG degree will be of a 3 to 4 years period with multiple exit options.
i. Certificate after completion of 1 year.
ii. Advanced Diploma after 2 years period.
iii. Bachelor’s degree after 3 years.
iv. Bachelors with Research after 4 years.
2. Apart from this, an Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for storing the credits earned by students digitally from different HEI’s and then these can be transferred and counted for the realization of minimum credits required for awarding a final degree.
Also, Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities will be established to provide quality multidisciplinary education in the country which will be at par with global standards. A new The National Research Foundation will be created which will serve as an apex body to foster, monitor, and create quality research capacity across all higher education.
3. The affiliation of college is to be phased out systematically in years. By doing this all the institutions will enjoy autonomy and develop themselves into a degree-granting college or a college of a university. This will help in bringing forward a range of institutions such as Research intensive universities, teaching-intensive Universities, and Autonomous Degree-granting Colleges.
4. Through the NEP, it is aimed to provide a quality faculty by having a transparent faculty recruitment system, providing the freedom to design their curricula, providing various incentives with respect to their excellence, and providing an opportunity to their career growth through their movement to institutional leadership.
5. Open and distance learning will be made more efficient to fulfill the aim of achieving 50% GER in higher education. Various measures will be taken to make these courses at par with classroom programs.
6. Proper and dedicated infrastructure for digital/online education will be established. The establishing of a dedicated unit for this purpose will help in catering to the needs of both school and higher educations.
7. A single body named Higher Education Commission of India will be set up for entire higher education leaving medical and legal education. The HECI will work under four independent sectors:
i. National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation.
ii. General Education Council (GEC) for setting up standards.
iii. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding.
iv. National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
PDF document of NEP (Click Here)
How will the NEP-2020 impact future education in India???
The new National Education Policy was overdue for a long time now considering the dilapidated state of India’s education. It will certainly help a lot in bringing it at par with the set global standards. The foresight of achieving 100% GER in school education and 50% GER in higher education by 2030 and 2035 is laudable. Through the three language system in school education and in higher education, the government once again laid stressed on the importance of being multilingual. It also aims to promote mother tongue and regional languages. This will promote the use of regional languages and also make the learning process easy for a lot of students. Offering Sanskrit as an OPTIONAL language will aim to maintain the culture of our country.
All the important highlights mentioned in the NEP be it with the regulation of schools and higher education, maintaining the quality of faculty and teachers appointed in their respective domains through a transparent process or focusing on the research in the country are the welcome steps mentioned in the NEP. With this policy, the government aims to improve and promote the digital infrastructure and e-learning in the country. This is going to be very critical in the future teaching-learning process, keeping into account the current scenarios generated due to the current pandemic. Hopefully, the parents will also understand the importance of this process and digitalization and consider it as a method of learning that is at par with the classroom learning process and not assume it as some joke.
The proposed credit-based recognition of MOOC’s and the establishment of a credit bank will come out as an important game-changer in the Indian education system moving forward. The credit-based recognition of MOOCs will make online learning more popular and will certainly improve its quality. The students who invest their time in such courses will now get the benefit of the course as it will be recognized. Also, the establishment of a credit bank will help the students to accumulate the required credit for obtaining the final degree.
The most important step of this NEP is with regard to the increasing expenditure on the education sector. Through this policy, the government aims to increase the expenditure up to 6% of the GDP as opposed to 4.6% of GDP that is spent currently. Also, the aim to achieve 100% adult and youth literacy is a welcome step and will help in bringing the education level of Indians at par with the global standards. Although the National Education Policy has a lot to offer to the education of the country, the time frame in which it is implemented and the efficiency with which it should be implemented to obtain most benefits out of it still remains to be seen.