National Education Policy 2020

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National education policy
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National Education policy is being introduced by the Modi government 34 years after the last education policy in 1986 and the first one in the 21st century, according to the PMO office.

The NEP has been approved by PM Modi after being presented by the Union Minister, Mr. Prakash Javdekar. With the Government going to spend 6% of GDP on Education in the country, there seems to be some sweeping changes in the way Education will be perceived in India.

The vision of India’s new education system has accordingly been crafted to ensure that it touches the life of each and every citizen, consistent with their ability to contribute to many growing developmental imperatives of this country on the one hand, and towards creating a just and equitable society on the other.

We have proposed the revision and revamping of all aspects of the education structure, its regulation and governance, to create a new system that is aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st century education, while remaining consistent with India’s traditions and value systems.

The direction of the global education development agenda is reflected in the sustainable development goal 4 (SDG4) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG4 seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. Five of the seven targets of SDG4 focus on quality education and learning outcomes.

“The National Education Policy 2019 envisions an India centred education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high quality education to all”.

National education policy 2020 has a lot of new ideas and some that are sure to change the way education is perceived in India.

  • Change in 10+2 pattern
  • Change in higher education
  • No more commerce, science and arts. More liberal approach.
  • Kids education start from 3 years old, with focus on cognitive ability.
  • Coding for students starting from 6th standard.
  • Teacher education
  • More expenditure on education

According to a report by The Hindu,” The National Education Policy 2020 is meant to provide an overarching vision and comprehensive framework for both schools and higher education across the country.” The report also states that,” The policy is approved by the cabinet but is yet to be approved by the Parliament.”

During the inaugural session of the Governors Conference on the National Education Policy, PM Modi stated, the NEP puts more emphasis on “critical thinking”, “learning instead of studying”, and on “passion, practicality and performance”. The Conference was also attended by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, Education ministers from the states and union territories and Vice Chancellors besides Governors.

The national education policy introduced by the Government of India is a masterstroke that seems to change the way education is perceived in India. Forgone will be the days when nagging relatives and parents ask future students about their marks which certainly irks students.

This is the crucial time for India to change its perspective not only as a country of abundant talent, but also for forward looking people in terms of science, philosophy, life etc. The NEP is the perfect recipe that was long overdue and finally there is some action being taken in that direction.

There are a lot of new steps taken in this NEP policy. Right from transforming the way teaching is done in schools to how to handle students. More flexibility is been given to how students can choose their major, and not just focus on one major but across the spectrum of all subjects.

So lets check out what are the major changes and how they can change the outlook of education in India.

Changes in Primary education

Primary education important points to change
Primary education changes

In a recent draft of NEP, Government has stressed the importance of cognitive learning in the early years of development of children. The new policy will try to focus in that area so that students can focus more on the creative process rather than the usual process of giving exams.

Creative process among children is very important to develop in children. According to the draft, a total of more than 5 crore people have less developed cognitive ability. It is a shocking statistic since development of cognitive ability is very important for the development of the brain.

Also the problem that students shy away from coming to school due to the strict nature of the school and the system of exams weighing them down. According to a survey by U-DISE, the gross enrolment ratio(GER) in 2016-17 for grade 1-5 was 95.1%, Grades 6-8 was 90.7%, grades 9-10 was 79.3% and grades 11-12 was only 51.3%. This is also a statistic that can be improved and made better so that more students are retained and come to school on a regular basis.

The old system of 10+2 to be replaced by the new 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 design.

  • 5 years of foundational stage : 3 years pre primary and grades 1-2
  • 3 years of preparatory stage: grade 3,4,5
  • 3 years of middle stage: grade 6,7,8
  • 4 years of high stage: grades 9, 10, 11, 12

Foundational stage consist of flexible, multilevel, play based, activity based and discovery based learning along with various Indian traditions for cognitive and emotional simulation of children.

Preparatory stage will build on the foundational stage with slowly incorporating textbooks and formal learning methods. This stage will work as base for across subjects including reading, learning, writing, speaking. Physical education, art, language, science and maths.

Middle stage will build on the previous stage and it will delve more deeper into the formal education with more specialized teachers for learning/discussion of each and every subject.

Secondary stage will build on previous stage with even greater depth and critical thinking and flexibility in the choice of subjects. The 4 years of this stage will be divided in 2 semesters each year for a total of 8 semesters. Each student will take upto 5-6 subjects each semester.

According to the draft,” The flexibility in the first five years will enable equalising of the multiple cognitive abilities of children. This is followed by a Preparatory phase consisting of three years (Grades 3, 4 and 5) of basic education incorporating some textbooks as well as aspects of more formal classroom learning. The next three years of Middle school education (Grades 6, 7 and 8) would involve developing more abstract thinking and subject teaching leading up to a Secondary education phase of four years (Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12). This last phase of four years of secondary school education will facilitate multidisciplinary studies with appropriate exit options besides preparing for the next phase of undergraduate programme of study, including early introduction to Liberal Arts education”.

What about marks??

The new education policy looks to add more important to thinking and creative performance rather than just marks. All the older generation have spent most of their lives trying to please the abominable nosy relatives asking for their marks. One of the all time favourite pastimes of most relatives across India. Not to mention all the Sharma Ji ke bete ke jokes.

According to Hindustan times, the policy will help in developing the education system of India.  

But this is all going to change with more emphasis on creativity and learning rather than marks with exams being conducted every couple of years. Also no more 10th board exam and 12th board exams, as their important will be waned off.

This is one massive step in terms of changing the perception that people have about education. From just performing in exams by mugging up all the answers, to helping students understand the power of thinking will transform India into a world of leaders and thinkers.

Importance to Regional Languages

Every kid born in any Indian household is first taught to speak in their mother tongue. But since most of the professional education is done in English, there is reluctance by students and parents towards their own mother tongues.

The NEP draft suggests that it is mandatory for schools to teach students in their respective regional languages so that the importance of these languages is maintained. Upto 5th grade it is mandatory for schools to teach in regional languages with preference given until 8th grade.

Changes in higher education

Higher education changes in NEP
Higher education changes in NEP

Sweeping changes are going to be made in the higher education. College education as student perceive is going to change. Students for one won’t have to choose one particular stream and stick to it. No more of your relatives coming and asking which stream you are going to choose.

There will be much more flexibility and freedom to choose your subjects according to your interests and the chance to change your major too. More emphasis is going to be given on humanities and social sciences.

According to a report by livemint, all higher education institutes, UGC, AICTE, NCTE are going to be changed and a single Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) is going to be set up for higher education, excluding medical and legal education.

Along with choosing a major students will also be able to choose a minor to enhance their level of playing field. From Psychology to Engineering, Medical to Art, CA to Music everything and anything can be pursued by the student.

Students will have the chance to take a year off and explore their limits and their grades wont be affected. Students can travel or do something else which they may perceive for a year and join back for the course without any hesitation. This rule has been taken up straight from the Foreign Universities and it will be beneficial for candidates in the future.

Students will have the option of multiple exits from their curriculum.

Reshaping research in India

Indians are not known around the world for their research. Most of the research is not accepted in the western world. This can primarily come down to the way students think of research. Most of the students are happy with their Bachelors degree to earn a respectable paying job, but there are far and few who actually want to pursue research in India. Many take the route of going to foreign universities.

According to a Hindustan Times report, “A National Research Foundation (NRF) is going to be established”. The report also talked about the goal of the NRF as “to enable a culture of research to permeate through universities”.  

A total of 0.4% of GDP will be spent on NRF to support research in India.  

The biggest lacuna in the present education system is the lack of a coherent direction for planning and implementation of research at the university level. We have addressed this critical lacuna in this Policy by introducing, for the very first time a new National Research Foundation (NRF) that will focus on funding research within the education system, primarily at colleges and universities. The Foundation will encompass the four broad areas of Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts & Humanities.

The Government will also increase the spending in developing the infrastructure of universities and colleges so students can feel welcome in university to conduct their education. More and more is being focussed towards making sure spending on research is going to be a vital clog in making students attracted towards research.

Teacher education

Now while a lot of talk has happened in terms of how the spending is going to be and what is going to be done, a lot is dependent on how the plan is executed. One of the more reasons for the students not performing well can be attributed to the lack of teacher skills. More needs to be done in terms of enabling teachers to take up initiatives to make sure that they correctly guide the students in their endeavours.

Most of the teachers are under qualified and lack the basic skills required to teach. With the change in education system, it is imperative that the teachers are skilful enough to make sure that the plan is executed perfectly.

According to the NEP, the government plans to conduct various training programmes so that the teachers are skilled enough to tackle any problem. Also the important thing about teachers are values of integrity and credibility which are going to be infused in the training programs.

A total of 0.6% of GDP will be expended on Teacher education in India.

So the roadmap for NEP is very good but it depends on the execution of this grand plan and the involvement of the community on making this plan a great one for future generations.

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