New Education Policy, 2020
Written By: Rashneet Singh, Student, Lloyd Law College
Education plays a crucial role in shaping society. The manner in which a particular society behaves in general largely depends upon the quality of education they are getting. Better education not only ameliorates the behavior of the society but also boosts up the confidence of an individual. This phenomenon results in personal growth along with the growth of a nation.
The educational structure highly depends on a nation’s education policy. It’s a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in any country. Our nation realized it’s need in the late 60’s. Thus, the first national policy on education in India came in 1968 which enhanced the development in the education sector of the nation.
An effective policy is one that is able to achieve its pre-determined objective while taking the interests of all its stakeholders into consideration. The righteousness of a policy could be partly determined by the support and acceptance it gets from the key players involved. It is also important to note that any policy pertaining to masses should not be rigid but adaptable to changes that may be proposed in the future.
In India, the new education policy has arrived after a long gap of 34 years. The consultation method has been used for formulating the New Education Policy (NEP, 2020) to ensure participation, inclusion, and holistic approach. According to the government, the NEP has been formulated after considering nearly over 2 lakhs suggestions from 2.5 lakhs gram panchayats, 6,600 blocks, 6,000 Urban Local Bodies, and 676 districts.
It is based on the pillars of accessibility, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability and aims to achieve 100 percent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030. It is a step forward towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The NEP suggests many curricular and pedagogical as well as structural changes in school education, higher education, and regulatory bodies to develop the skills of students. The government terms it as a move to leave behind the old school methods we have been following since decades.
Changes in Regulatory Bodies
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is renamed as Ministry of Education (MoE) to clearly elucidate its work and objectives. The NEP proposes to establish a single regulating body for higher education called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), which will replace the All India Council for Technical Education and the University Grants Commission. The responsibility of regulating, accreditation, funding, and setting standards for learning outcomes is given to the Higher Education Commission of India.
The policy also states that the professional councils, such as the Veterinary Council of India (VCI), National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), and Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) among others will act as Professional Standard Setting Bodies (PSSBs).
The NEP emphasizes on the use of technology to improve multiple aspects of education. The policy also proposes on setting up of a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF). This forum would act as a platform for a free exchange of ideas with the usage of technology for schools and institutions. This would enhance learning, assessment, administration, and planning.
Changes at School Level
The earlier schooling model of 10+2 will be changed to 5+3+3+4 which is based on the socio-emotional and cognitive stages of children. The new model is divided into stages as-
Foundational Stage (age 3-8 years): 3 years of pre-primary + Grades 1-2
Preparatory Stage (8-11 years): Grades 3-5
Middle Stage (11-14 years): Grades 6-8
Secondary Stage (14-18 years): Grades 9-12.
The policy introduced three language principle. Under this, the child will learn three languages while keeping the medium of instruction as mother-tongue/local language or regional language until at least grade 5, but preferably till grade 8 and beyond. Making the child's first language as a medium of instruction will undoubtedly help the child to have a better understanding of the education he/she gets at the school. Besides, it is good if a child learns more than one language, especially in a multi-lingual country like ours. The three language principle could work more efficiently if the choice of language is left to the child and the parents.
Education cannot be in watertight compartments anymore. Thus, students will be allowed to study subjects of their choice and participate in activities as per their preferences as there would be no hard separation between arts, commerce, and science. Skills, such as critical thinking, analysis, and experimental based learning will be taught in the schools itself. Students will be allowed to take up coding as a subject from class 6 onwards.
As per Anita Karwal, School Education Secretary, "Board exams will be low stake. The focus will be on testing concepts and knowledge application."
For boards of class 10th and 12th, the syllabus will be reduced to retain "core essentials" and students will be allowed to take board exams on up to two occasions during any given year, in which first would be the main examination and the other for improvement at the discretion of the student.
Changes in Higher Education
The NEP, 2020 has introduced multiple exits and entry points at higher education levels making it easier for students to leave or rejoin their courses. The four-year undergraduate programme introduced in the NEP will allow students to leave after one year with a certificate, after two years with a diploma degree, and after three years with a bachelor's degree.
Discontinuation of Master of Philosophy is a revolutionary decision as it was forced on potential Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) candidates. Now, students will be able to directly enroll for Ph.D. after getting their Master's degree or 4-year Bachelor's degree with Research. The NEP also plans to open doors for foreign universities. The top 100 foreign colleges will be allowed to set-up their campuses in India. This will bring more exposure as well as better quality of education.
The expenditure on education has also been a matter of concern in India. This policy aims to upsurge the expenditure on education. India spends about 3% of its GDP on education which will go up to 6%. Norway spent 6.4% of its GDP in 2015 which is the highest expenditure by a country on its education. Thus, if India achieves its goal of making a 6% expenditure on education, it will undeniably have a tremendous impact on the education sector.
We can say that the National Education Policy 2020 is a step towards enhanced freedom in education. As, it terminates the disparity among streams and courses, allowing students to choose subjects as per their preferences and interests.
The policy is integrated yet flexible to ensure foundational literacy. The NEP may result in welfare to a great extent due to its multi-dynamic features. However, implementing it will have its own set of challenges. Therefore, the government has set a target to implement the entire policy till 2040.
I believe, if implemented properly and uniformly, the NEP will create a self-reliant India by fulfilling its goals of sustainable development as it seeks to make "job creators" rather than "job seekers". Bringing international universities in the field for higher education will benefit the masses in countless ways. Imparting better quality of education by the private universities would also be an added benefit since the local universities will try to match the standards of international universities. Better education will encourage and provide a platform for innovative and new ideas which will help to boost the economy in the long run. Considering the use of technology and making pedagogy and classrooms digitalized is a remarkable decision but to facilitate this, teachers must be equipped with the latest technology and knowledge of using them.
 PIB Delhi, Cabinet Approves National Education Policy 2020, paving way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems in the country, PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (Jul. 29, 2020, 5:20 PM), https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1642049.  New Education Policy: For schools, ‘low stake’ Boards, cut in syllabus, THE INDIAN EXPRESS, Aug. 31, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/education/new-education-policy-for-schools-low-stake-boards-cut-in-syllabus-6530119/. Investopedia, What Country Spends the Most on Education?, INVESTOPEDIA, (Jul. 7, 2019), https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/020915/what-country-spends-most-education.asp#:~:text=Norway%20spent%20the%20most%20on,United%20States%20at%206.1%20percent.
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