Education is an important aspect of our lives, while some of us take it for granted, there are others who crave and struggle to get it. Education is one of the most powerful things in life. It allows us to find the meaning behind everything and helps improve lives in a massive way. Education is important because it broadens our knowledge, and this knowledge then opens our minds to new perspectives, ideas, beliefs, and cultures.
Education is not just about spoon feeding but about inspiring them to think out of the box and foresee a better future. It is all about how to apply it in real life to change the world for a better cause. Irrespective of race, creed, and gender, education makes it possible for people to stand out as equal with all the other persons from different walks of life. Education enhances our perspective on the world. Enriching our brains with new and valuable information improves our ability to think, analyze, and process the world around us.
The Indian National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. More than three decades have passed since previous Policy. During this period significant changes have taken place in our country, society economy, and the world at large. The biggest relief for the millions of students and parents in the new national education policy is the announcement to make the board exams of class 10th and 12th easy. Students are always under pressure regarding board exams and depend on coaching to get more marks. But in the future, they can get freedom from it.The Government had initiated the process of formulating a New Education Policy. As a part of this, The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the National Education Policy 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the 34 year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986. Built on the foundational pillars of access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability, this policy is aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.
New Education Policy 2020 HIGHLIGHTS:
- Early Childhood Care & Education with new curricular and pedagogical structure:
- With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
- The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of anganwadi/ preschooling.
- NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8.
- ECCE will be delivered through a significantly expanded and strengthened system of institutions including anganwadis and preschools that will have teachers and anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum.
- The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.
- Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education, through following measures:
- NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels-pre school to secondary.
- Infrastructure support, innovative education centres to bring back dropouts into the mainstream.
- Tracking of students and their learning levels, facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes.
- Association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools.
- Open learning for class 3, 5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools.
- Secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses, adult literacy and life-enrichment programs.
- About 2 crore out of school children will be brought back into mainstream under NEP 2020.
- Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy:
- Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects. There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extracurricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.
- Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships. A new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be developed by the NCERT.
- Multilingualism and the power of language:
- The policy has emphasized mother tongue/ local language/ regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
- Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula. Other classical languages and literature of India also to be available as options.
- No language will be imposed on any student. Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level. Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and national and state curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.
- Assessment Reforms:
- NEP 2020 envisages a shift from summative assessment to regular and formative assessment. All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
- Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the aim. A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be set up as a standard-setting body.
- Equitable and Inclusive Education:
- Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities. This includes setting up of a Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
- Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the foundational stage to higher education, with support of educators with cross disability training, resource centres, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools and other support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs.
- Every state/ district will be encouraged to establish Bal Bhavans as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities. Free school infrastructure can be used as Samajik Chetna Kendras.
- Standard setting and accreditation for school education:
- NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters. States/UTs will set up an independent State School Standards Authority (SSSA).
- Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the SSSA, will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.
- Further, schools can be organized into complexes or clusters which will be the basic unit of governance and ensure availability of all resources including infrastructure, academic libraries and a strong professional teacher community.
- Higher Education:
- The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
- UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. For example, Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years.
- An academic bank of credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards the final degree earned.
- Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
- HECI to have four independent verticals: National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and National Accreditation Council ( NAC) for accreditation.
- HECI will function through faceless intervention through technology, and will have powers to penalise HEIs not conforming to norms and standards. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
- The definition of university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from research-intensive universities to teaching-intensive universities and autonomous degree-granting colleges.
- Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an autonomous degree-granting college, or a constituent college of a university.
- Teacher Education:
- A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree. Stringent action will be taken against substandard stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
- A national mission for mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/ retired faculty, including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages, who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/ professional support to university/ college teachers.
- Online Education and Digital Education:
- A comprehensive set of recommendations for promoting online education consequent to the recent rise in epidemics and pandemics in order to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and in-person modes of education are not possible, has been covered.
- A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education.
- 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, administration. Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education will be done.
- Promotion of Indian languages
- To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP recommends setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI), National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, strengthening of Sanskrit and all language departments in HEIs, and use mother tongue/ local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI programmes .
Download New Education Policy 2020 Download NEP 2020 Pdf
References: MHRD, ManifestIAS, TOI
Education isn’t just about learning maths or science at school. It’s about gaining the knowledge and the skills needed to better ourselves and the world we live in. Now we can hope our education system will be at par with modern countries and future of our children will be bright.
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