National Education Policy 2020

The Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy. The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. The policy draft has been prepared by a panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan. This is the first new education policy in 34 years (earlier in 1968 and 1986)

New Education Policy lays particular emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual. It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive capacities – both the ‘foundational capacities ’of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive capacities, such as critical thinking and problem-solving – but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions.

The new policy aims to pave the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems in the country. 

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Significance of NEP 2020

School Education

  1. Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with a 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
  2. The current 10+2 system is to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
  3. It will bring the uncovered age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum through Anganwadi/ pre-schooling
  4. Class 10 and 12 board examinations to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorized facts, with all students, allowed to take the exam twice.
  5. A new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.
  6. No rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, and vocational streams in schools.
  7. Vocational Education to start from Class 6 with Internships.
  8. Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in their mother tongue/regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
  9. Assessment reforms with a 360-degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes
  10. A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.

Higher Education

  1. Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035.
  2. 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
  3. Holistic Undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  4. Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, and IIMs, are to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education. 
  5. The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  6. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
  7. Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
  8. Top-rated global universities to be facilitated to come to India and top Indian universities to be encouraged to go global.

Other Changes

  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, and administration.
  • National Assessment Centre- ‘PARAKH’ has been created to assess the students.
  • It emphasizes the setting up of a Gender Inclusion Fund and Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
  • It also aims to increase public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest. Currently, India spends around 4.6 % of its total GDP on education.

Academic Bank of Credits:

  • The regulations state ‘credit’ means the standard methodology for calculating one hour of theory or one hour of tutorial or two hours of laboratory work per week for a semester (13-15 weeks).
  • This leads to the award of one credit by the institution. In addition, credits for the internship will be one per week of internship, subject to a maximum of six credits. These credits are stored digitally using DigiLocker.
  • All academic credits will be deposited into it. These credits will be required to award degrees, diplomas or certificates on completion of an academic course. These credits can be stored for a maximum of seven years.
  • If a student switches from one course to another within the recognised universities/colleges under UGC, the credits in the academic bank can be redeemed.

Therefore, to implement the NEP 2020 few major challenges can be:

  • Content, Curriculum & Pedagogy: The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi or pre-schooling. To implement the changes at each level a thorough restructuring of the curriculum, pedagogy and content needs to be done as per the NCF (National Curriculum Framework) and content rubrics need to be revisited to modify the textbooks.
  • The blending of technology with the teaching and learning process: National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) a regulatory body will be created to use technology for better learning outcomes. But a big challenge here is establishing a robust digital infrastructure that even caters to remote areas.
  • Assessment:  Shifting the focus of assessments from marks based to competency-based will require changing the questions which will be complex.
  • Teachers’ training and availability: Creating higher performance standards for teachers and to be digitally trained them will be a herculean task.
  • Funding: Public spending for the educational sector at 6% of GDP may fall short of implementation of NEP 2020
  • Language Issue: Provision for education in the mother tongue till class 5 could pose challenges to the mobility of students in a large and diverse country like India and problematic for the teacher-to-student ratio.
  • Discontent State: National Higher Education Regulatory Council as an apex control organization may face resentment from the states.
  • Vocational Training: Lack of popularity of vocational training and social status hierarchy associated
  • Globalisation thrust in education policy to compete with global higher education institutes is missing

Way Forward

  • Create stakeholder incentives for smooth and uniform implementation.
  • Formulate instruments in the form of legal, policy, regulatory and institutional mechanisms
  • Build reliable information repositories
  • Develop adaptability across HEIs, regulatory bodies and government agencies
  • Develop credibility through transparent actions and participation of all stakeholders
  • Develop sound principles of management
  • Private investment to complement the public expenditure in the sector
  • Set achievable targets and necessary funds for the same
  • Strong Political will and public support
  • Schools will actually need to redefine the teaching and learning process for proper implementation.
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