National Education Policy 2020
What is the most vital part of any human being’s life? Indeed, it is education. As it is rightly said “The founding stone of a nation’s economy is education. If a nation fails to provide the right education to its citizens the economy will lag behind in every way.
Considering India and its education system: The roots can be traced back to the ancient ages where the Gurukul system was followed. It was a well-structured system where the students had to leave their parents’ house and reside in his teachers’ house to gain the knowledge and skills which the teacher had to impart to the students. Subjects taught covered the Sanskrit language, mathematics, metaphysics, scriptures, etc. these teachings were passed on to the future generations. Things changed when the British came to India and the colonial era began, schools were set up that followed a curriculum confined to subjects focused on teaching science, mathematics, etc.
I personally believe that the ancient education system was better, as it focused on learnings acquired via interaction with nature and the modern system was more classroom centric.
However, after ages, India has taken a step forward to change its education system. A system that focuses on developing skills and not just written papers, this education system aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower” and will transform India into a “vibrant knowledge hub”
What is this system? How will it change India in near future? Let’s surf through this article for better understanding……
“Indian education framework needs to change completely” – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school” – Albert Einstein.
“Educationists should build the capability of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model” – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
“A nation is advanced in proportion to education and intelligence spread among the masses” – Swami Vivekananda.
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to say?
- Twenty-eight percent of India’s primary schools and fourteen percent of India’s upper primary schools have less than 30 students. – (U-DISE Report 2016-17).
- Only fifty-seven percent of students in grade Three are able to solve basic numerical skills like Subtraction and addition. – National Achievement Survey of 2017.
- National Education Policy 2020 states that India’s total investment in 2018-19 on Research and Development (R&D) was Rs. 1,23,848 crore which is only 0.69% of GDP.
- As of 2017-18, access to internet and computer was relatively poor in rural areas. Only 4.4% of rural households have access to a computer (excludes smartphones), and nearly 15% have access to internet facility. Amongst urban households, 42% have access to the internet.
- Gross Enrolment ratio at senior secondary school was 56.2% as compared to 99.2% at primary level in 2015-16. – Educational Statistics at Glance 2018, MHRD.
- NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio to 50% in higher education at the end of the year 2035.
- According to the National Education Policy 2020, expenditure on education will be increased from 4% to 6% of the GDP.
- 50% of the learners will have exposure to vocational education via primary and higher education by 2025. – National Education Policy 2020 (mhrd.gov.in)
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has made a revolutionary move to change the education system practised in India. The Central government has changed the education policies in India after a prolonged period of 34 years, their aim is to make India a vibrant knowledge hub which can cater to the global needs that are changing every now and then. Fields like science, technology and commerce (banking, e-commerce, trading, etc.) are dynamic in nature, the kind of expertise and skills required to handle tasks in these fields are lacking because of the education system focusing too much on examinations and marks, less importance is given to the problem solving, the Indian education system has inadequately encouraged rote learning and side parked out of the box thinking.
Now, there is a light of hope with the changing policies. The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 revealed on 29th July 2020 was approved by the union cabinet, it is futuristic and ambitious. National Education Policy 2020 was presented by Union Ministers for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Prakash Javadekar and Human Resource Development (HRD) and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, a panel of experts led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan prepared a draft which was reviewed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1st May 2020.
What is NEP 2020?
A comprehensive framework which is designed to guide the education system in India focusing on holistic development and skill-based learnings. There have been 3 NEPs:
- 1st NEP came in 1968 when the government was led by Indira Gandhi (NCP)
- 2nd NEP was introduced in 1986 when the government was led by Rajiv Gandhi (NCP), they modified the policy once in 1992.
- It was after 34 years that education policy in India has undergone changes. 29th June 2020 the latest education policy was approved/passed by the Union Cabinet under the leadership of Narendra Modi (BJP)
The NEP 2020 policy makes radical reforms in school education including teaching and curriculum. The draft submitted by the panel was open for public feedback, December 2018 was the date when the submission of the draft was done.
It all started back in 2014 Lok Sabha elections where Bhartiya Janata Party promised to bring in a new education policy which will be instrumental in shaping the future of India from a global perspective. The efforts for the same were underway since 2015, in May 2016 the Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy submitted its report. This report worked as a foundation to prepare a draft made by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the draft was named as ‘Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016’.
Major highlights of the New NEP 2020
- 3 years is the age to start schooling:
The age group for mandatory schooling in India is 6 to 14 years, which is changed to 3 to 18 years. 3 years of pre-schooling in introduce which portrays a similar approach like Cambridge and IB, the age-old 10+12 concept is dismantled and a new concept of 5+3+3+4 is introduced which corresponds to the age groups:
- 3 to 8 years (foundation stage – Anganwadi or preschool + two years in primary school i.e. grade 1-2)
- 8 to 11 years (preparatory stage – grade 3-5)
- 11 to 14 years (middle stage – grade 6-8)
- 14 to 18 years (secondary stage – consists of two phases)
- First phase: Grade 9 – 10
- Second phase: Grade 11 – 12
Pre-school education for children of ages 3 to 5 years has come under the umbrella of formal schooling.
- Mother tongue as medium of instruction:
More emphasis is given on students’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction. The policy states that the students learn and grasp significant concepts quickly when explained in their mother tongue/ local language/ regional language. However, it is proposed that children should be taught in their native language until grade 5, but preferably till grade 8 and beyond in both public as well as private schools.
- No UGC, AICTE, NCTE:
Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be aiming to improve the higher education in the country with the goal of “creation of greater opportunities for individual employment”. A single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education which aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, which also includes vocational education from 26.3% as of 2018 to 50% by 2035. Disciplines like medical and legal education are excluded and don’t fall under the umbrella of HECI. Both public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
- Science, arts, commerce gets blurred:
No rigid separations between disciplines like arts and science, a perfect blend of curricular and extra-curricular will be designed for the holistic development of children, there will also be no rigid separation between vocational and academic streams. Students are empowered to select subjects of their interest across the streams.
It is mandatory for the students to undergo vocational training and formal education of the same should be provided by the schools, subject experts to be hired for the same. Learnings will be imparted in the form of internships; school have to start the vocational education from the 6th grade.
- FYUP Programme Returns & No More Dropouts:
One of the major change that the NEP 2020 brings about is that the UG degree will be of either a 3 or 4year duration, where the student will have multiple exit options within this period and appropriate certifications will be given for those dropping out at a certain point in the course. Higher Education Institutions will be empowered to offer masters courses of different designs, based on the UG degree of the student. Academic Bank of Credit will be established for digitally storing academic credits earned by the student from different Higher Education Institutions, these credits can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.
Pros of National Education Policy 2020
- Curriculum content is reduced down to its core essentials, it will be designed in such a way that prime focus will be on key concepts and ideas. This is done to increase the analytical skills and critical thinking ability of the student by emphasizing more on analysis based learning.
- Students will have a choice of subjects they want to learn and wish to study, especially in the second stage i.e. age group of 14 to 18 years (Grade 9 – 10 and Grade 11 – 12).
- NEP 2020 aims to promote multilingualism by promoting learning in the native language. Implementation of three language formula promotes easy learning where no language will be imposed on a state, it means the students will learn three languages – Based on state, region and a language the students wish to learn. Sanskrit will be one of the languages offered in this three-language formula, at all levels of school and higher education other classical languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali, Persian, and Prakrit are available for choice to the students. Foreign languages such as French, Thai, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Japanese will also be offered at the secondary level.
- According to NEP 2020 board exams will be made “easier”, focusing on testing ‘primarily core capacities/competencies’ rather than rote learning.
- National Education Policy 2020 states that the world’s top 100 universities will be facilitated to operate in the country, i.e. foreign universities are expected to be set-up in the country in near future.
Cons of National Education Policy 2020
- Infrastructure in India is not feasible to implement such change because the reach of Government initiatives to villages and heart of India is low. It will take time to get in such changes in the mainstream of India education system.
- Teachers have to upgrade themselves as this policy focuses on the holistic development of students, so there is a need to train the teachers for changed assessment methods.
- To roll out a 360-degree evaluation report of students, the latest technology should be deployed in the hands of teachers and need to have a system in place which will help the school to develop students.
The National Education Policy 2020 has laid sweeping changes in the Indian education system. Changes that can overhaul India’s picture on the global platform as a strong and resourceful economy. Parents have been in search of top schools that will provide global-level education (providing international standard education) for their children. Thus, this decision by the government will encourage parents and students to consider the national curriculum when it comes to primary level education and pursuing higher education.
Developments in the education system of India will keep India in a dominating position at the global level. A skill-based economy can be created which will support the initiative of India to become a superpower. Disruption in the field of technology, science and commerce has created a need to learn new skills, this changed education policy has left the Indians’ with options that will deliver quality education, flexibility and exposure. Thus, it’s time for us to analyse our interest areas to adopt skills which will allow us to exploit the forthcoming opportunities.
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Author – Snehal Namade