NEW EDUCATION POLICY – WHAT HAS CHANGED?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article is written by Navya Sharma, a Law student at CLS GIBS.


Introduction


Nowadays, the world is undergoing rapid changes with various dramatic scientific and technological advancements such as the rise of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence. With this advancement, the employment landscape and global ecosystem is becoming critical that children not only need to learn but also they need to learn how to learn. Keeping in view this, a change in education system is also required to cope up with the global changes.


Education is a key aspect in achieving full human potential which ultimately would result in developing an equitable and just society, and thereby promoting national development. Education Policy has been kept on changing with the time it is one of the major elements for the growth of Human Resource in any Nation. Now, in 2020 a new education policy has been introduced with drastic changes. The ruling government expects that this NEP 2020 or New Education Policy would be a comprehensive framework to ensure the development of education in the country. This policy brings some major changes in the study pattern, regulating authorities, curriculum structure, streams, etc.


This policy not only focuses on the students but also the teachers. A teacher centric approach has been taken into account for reforming the education system. The new education policy must re-establish teachers as “the most essential member of the society” because it is a teacher who truly shapes the next generation minds.

The introduced changes have been made taking in consideration the local as well as the global needs of the country.


Aim


Earlier, our education system was rigid and incapable of providing the practical knowledge to students. Major stress was put on the books based knowledge rather than learning professional skills. The new policy insists on knowledge of India and its social, cultural and technological needs, its inimitable artistic, language and knowledge of India and its strong ethics in India’s young people minds for purpose of national pride, self-confidence, self-knowledge, cooperation and integration.


NEP aims at providing quality education with the India-centric approach and development of each and every individual with its full efficiency. NEP envisions such an education system that rooted in Indian ethos that contributes in transformation of India into a vibrant society by providing high quality education and thereby making India a global knowledge superpower. The new approach provides for a deep rooted pride in learning being an Indian, inclusive of intellect, and deeds to develop knowledge, skills, values that support responsible commitment to human rights and thereby earning and competing globally.


Principle Changes


The New Education Policy has been designed keeping in view certain principles to achieve the objectives and visions. The fundamental principles are:


1. Strengthening the unique capabilities of each student by recognizing and identifying capabilities of each and every student.

2. Stressing on holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres by promoting all types of activities.

3. Achievement of foundation literacy and numeracy in all the students by Grade 3.

4. Providing enough flexibility to students to choose their paths as per their talents and interests rather than being a part of rat-race.

5. No Strict Separation between arts and science streams, curricular and extra-curricular activities, vocational and academic streams.

6. Multi-disciplinary and a holistic education across all the streams to ensure the unity and integrity of knowledge.

7. Promoting multilingualism in learning and teaching.

8. Stressing over life skills such as communication, teamwork, cooperation and resilience

9. Formative Assessment for learning instead of Summative Assessment

10. Consideration of Teachers and Faculties as the heart of Education and learning process.

11. Promotion of integrity, transparency and resource efficiency of educational system by adapting ‘Light but tight’ regulatory framework.

12. Encouraging innovative ideas through good governance and empowerment.


Key Changes


School Education


On School level, changes have been introduced to ensure development of young minds efficiently. Following are the key changes in School Education

1. The ’10 + 2’ structure covering 6-18 ages to be replaced by a new curricular structure ‘5 +3+3+4’ covering 3-18 ages

2. Exams to be held only in class 3, 5 and 8

3. Boards exam for class 10 and 12 to be conducted twice a year.

4. Universal standards of learning in all the schools (public as well as private)

5. Introduction of vocational education and coding from class 6

6. Mother Tongue as the medium of instruction at least up to class 5

7. A 360 Degree Holistic Progress Card that contains just more than marks and grades

8. Focus of core concepts and ideas

9. Universalization of education

10. Introduction of Open Schooling System to bring ‘out of school’ children to mainstream

11. Deployment of counselors and social workers in schools to improve student’s mental health

12. Breakfasts to be included in Mid-day meal scheme.


These changes aim at covering maximum number of students in main stream education that too with the easy and flexible method of learning. School education would be more that just marks and grades. More focus is to be put of developing real life skills and promoting the innovative ideas.


Higher Education


1. Multi-disciplinary education in Undergraduate program with an exit option

2. Masters of Philosophy to be discontinued

3. Post Graduation to be of 1 or 2 year

4. NTA (National Testing Agency) to conduct common entrance exams for admission to Universities except JEE and NEET

5. Academic Banks to be established to facilitate transfer of credits

6. Setting up of MERUs or Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities as models of best education meeting the global standards

7. National Research Foundation to be established for fostering a strong research culture in higher education

8. The Higher Education Council of India to regulate the higher education by preparing same set of regulations and academic rules and policies for public and private institutions.

9. A General Education Council (GEC) for setting standards for high education

10. Higher Education Grants Council for financing the institutions

11. Phasing out the affiliation system at university level over a period of 15 years

12. A target to increase Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education from 26.3% to 50% by 2035

13. Adding 3.5 crore seats in higher education


Changes in higher education have been brought to standardize the professional education in India up to the global standards. Higher Institutions to be regulated by one body means there would be a uniform pattern of assessment and rules and regulations in all the institutions providing higher education. The main aim is to enroll more and more students in higher education.


Other Major Objectives


Other major objectives of this policy are to establish various regulatory authorities for the regulation of education and minimize the government interference with the education. The established authorities are Special Education Zones (SEZs) to improve education among underrepresented groups in disadvantaged regions, Gender Inclusion Fund, for improving and providing education for female and transgender children, National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), a platform to facilitate the free exchange of ideas on technology usage in education.


Establishment of new institutions for languages and separate body for assessment of students (National Assessment Centre) – PARAKH have also made. Apart from this, another objective is to increase the education expenditure from the current 4.6% to 6% of the GDP at the earliest and use of latest technologies for teaching, leaning and assessment.


Teaching Methodologies


Even before NEP 2020, several initiatives were there that were introduced for training of teachers specifically in schools and higher education. One of the objectives of NEP 2020 is to standardize the education which is to be done by our teachers. They are one who provides a shape to the young individuals. So, it is required to provide training to the teachers.


One of them is to train the teachers in digital technologies with the help of latest technical teams in nationwide agencies and centers. It also mentions high remuneration to attract best talents to the industry. Educational degrees for teachers such as B.ED and ph.D need to have methodologies and tools of learning to increase the teaching efficiency of teachers. It may prove to be a promising step.


Conclusion


This policy is to be implemented by 2035. Major changes in the curriculum have been brought by this policy to increase the standard of education in India and to make Indian Education competitive at global level.

The policy has planned to be implemented by following steps. First, implementation of the intent of the Policy will be the most critical matter as it needs modification in methodologies. Second, it is important to implement the policy initiatives in a phased manner, as each policy point has several steps, each of which requires the previous step to be implemented successfully. Third, prioritization will be important in ensuring optimal sequencing of policy points, and that the most critical and urgent actions are taken up first, thereby enabling a strong base. Fourth, comprehensiveness in implementation will be a key; as this Policy is interconnected and holistic, only a full-fledged implementation, and not a piecemeal one, will ensure that the desired objectives are achieved. Fifth, since education is a concurrent subject, it will need careful planning, joint monitoring, and collaborative implementation between the Centre and States. Sixth, timely infusion of requisite resources - human, infrastructural, and financial - at the Central and State levels will be crucial for the satisfactory execution of the Policy. Finally, there is a need to carefully analyse and review the links between multiple parallel implementation steps in order to ensure effective dovetailing of all initiatives. This will also include early investment in some of the specific actions that will be imperative to ensuring a strong base and a smooth progression for all subsequent actions.


In NEP, many features have been inserted to facilitate the proposed changes however; implementation will have its own challenges in the terms of financing, resourcing etc. NEP 2020 somehow neglects the rote learning and stress on the applied knowledge test. But, there is a scope of improvement at large.

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