A major decision was taken on 29 July 2020 by the Government of India in the field of education. The Union Cabinet approved the New National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP 2020). The cabinet has further given its approval to change the name of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development to the Ministry of Education. This is the first change in the National Education Policy in last 34 years. The NEP 2020 will be replacing the previous National Education Policy framed in 1986 and modified subsequently in 2006.
Vision of National Education Policy 2020
The new policy envisions an education system that is rooted in Indian ethos that contributes directly to sustainably transforming India into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society.
Objective of National Education Policy 2020
The ultimate objective of NEP 2020 is to make India a global knowledge superpower.
- Since Independence, three national education policies have been introduced. The very first policy was introduced in 1968 based on the reports and recommendations of the Kothari Commission. The policy so introduced called for a radical restructuring. Emphasis was laid on providing equal opportunities with an objective to achieve national integration as well as greater economic and cultural development.
- The 1968 policy was replaced by National Education Policy 1986. The 1986 policy emphasized on providing equal educational opportunities and removal of disparities. Among other major developments, the educational upliftment of women, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes had been especially encouraged under this policy. This policy was later modified in 1992.
- In 2015, a new committee for the evolution of new education policy was set up under former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramaniam. The committee submitted its report in May 2016. Based on this report, a draft New Education Policy was submitted by a panel headed by space scientist K. Kasturirangan in 2018. This draft policy was released for public consultations in 2019. The policy finally received cabinet approval on 29 July 2020.
Salient Features of the New National Education Policy 2020
The key points or highlights of the New National Education Policy 2020 are as follows:
1. Structural & Financial Change
- Ministry of Human Resource & Development (MHRD) has been renamed as the Ministry of Education.
- Increase public investment in the education sector from the current 4.43% to 6% of the GDP.
- A new national assessment body called PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) to be set up. The standards for all recognized school boards would be established by PARAKH.
- Introduction of a new curricular and pedagogical framework- 5+3+3+4 model of schooling. This model will replace the current 10+2 curricular and pedagogical structure.
The new 5+3+3+4 Model
Stage Classes Foundational Stage (5 Years) Pre-primary School (3 years) & Grade 1 -2 Preparatory or Latter Primary (3 Years) Grade 3, 4 & 5 Middle or Upper Primary (3 Years) Grade 6, 7 & 8 High or Secondary (4 Years) Grade 9, 10, 11 & 12
2. School Education
- New National Education Policy 2020 aims to universalize pre-primary education by 2025.
- Emphasis on universal access to Early Childhood Care and Education(ECCE) in a phased manner.
- 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by 2030. The aim is to universalize education from preschool to the secondary school stage.
- School exams will not be held every academic year. It will be only conducted in classes 3, 5 & 8 to track the development of the student.
- Board exams will continue for classes 10 & 12 in a redesigned form. It will be conducted twice in a year and up to two attempts will be offered to every student for clearing the exam. The exam will be conducted in two parts- objective & descriptive.
- Reduction in curriculum load and emphasis on core concepts. This will allow the students to be more “inter-disciplinary” and “multilingual”.
- Reports card to be holistic in nature and providing information about the students’ skills.
- Coding and vocational programs to be inducted in class 6.
- Inclusion of breakfasts in the mid-day meal program.
- Focus on students’ overall health, particularly mental health. This shall be done through the deployment of social workers or counselors.
- Overall encouragement to experimental learning.
3. Higher Education
- Introduction of four years of graduate degrees with multiple “entry and exit” options.
- Discontinuation of M.Phil Courses.
- A new umbrella regulator called the “Higher Education Commission of India(HECI)” will be set up for entire higher education, except medical and legal courses.
- Gross Enrollment Ration (GER) in higher education (including vocational education) has been targeted to be doubled by 2035. A total of 3.5 crore new seats to be introduced.
- Transfer between institutions now made easy with the new academic bank of credit.
- As per the new policy, the college affiliation system will be done away with. Every college will eventually develop either into an autonomous degree-granting institution or a constituent college of any university.
- The new policy emphasizes on multilingualism. As per the NEP 2020, the medium of instruction till the 5th standard shall be home language/mother-tongue/local language/regional language in all schools wherever such implementation is possible.
- After class 8th, the home or local language shall continue to be taught as one of the languages in both public and private school wherever it is possible.
- The students can now choose any three languages. Out of the three languages, at least two languages have to be native Indian languages. To facilitate quality education in the native languages, the Ministry of Education will come up with bilingual textbooks and teaching-learning material for science and mathematics.
- The policy emphasis the fact that despite encouragement to multilingual flexibility, it does not impose any language on states.
- Sanskrit, along with other foreign languages, will be optionally available at all levels of school as well as higher education.
- National Institute of Pali, Prakrit, and Persian as well as Indian Institute of Translation to be set up.
5. Digital Education
- Focus on ensuring equitable use of technology.
- Teachers’ training in online education modules to bridge the digital divide.
6. Teacher Education
- A four years Bachelor of Education will required by 2030 to become a teacher.
- More strengthening and transparency has been introduced in the teacher recruitment process.
7. Other Focuses of New National Education Policy 2020
- The Indian knowledge system will be a part of the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner. This includes tribal and indigenous knowledge.
- Merit-based incentives to socially and economically disadvantaged sections of society.
- Regions wherein a large number of students are affected by economic, social, or caste-related barriers, will be re-designated as Special Educational Zone.
- Gender Inclusion Fund to build the nation’s capacity in providing quality and equitable education to female and transgender students.