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What is the New Education Policy (NEP 2020), and its highlights.

The National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. Its been more than three decades since the previous policy was drafted. During this period significant changes have taken place in our country, socio-economy, and the world at large. Keeping this in mind an education policy needs to be drafted to prepare the students for the future. This is where NEP 2020 comes into play.

This policy was drafted by 2019 and was uploaded on government websites such as MHRD and myGov for public suggestions and comments. A special meeting of CABE on National Education Policy was held. In the meeting, 26 Education Ministers of various States and UTs, representatives of States and Union Territories, Members of CABE, Heads of Autonomous Organisations, Vice-Chancellors of Universities, attended the meeting along with senior officials of the Central and State Governments. Around 2 lakh suggestions on the Draft National Education Policy received from various stakeholders. A meeting on Draft NEP 2019 of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development was held on 07.11.2019.

Key Highlights:

10+2 to be transformed to 5+3+3+4:

  • The extant 10+2 structure in school education will be modified with a new pedagogical and curricular restructuring of 5+3+3+4 covering ages 3-18. Currently, children in the age group of 3-6 are not covered in the 10+2 structure as Class 1 begins at age 6. In the new 5+3+3+4 structure, a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from age 3 is also included.

E-content in regional language:

  • There will e-content in regional languages apart from English and Hindi. E-courses to be in eight major languages.

Improvements in Scholarship:

  • Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.

Reduce importance on Board exams:

  • In order to reduce the importance and stress of board exams, the exam will be conducted in two parts: Objective and descriptive. The exam can be conducted twice a year.

Coding from Class 6:

  • Students of class 6 and onwards will be taught coding in schools as a part of 21st-century skills.

Common University Entrance Examination:

  • The National Testing Agency (NTA) will offer a high-quality common aptitude test, as well as specialized common subject exams in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year for university entrance exams.

  • As per the new policy, the entrance exam to be conducted by the NTA for admission to universities and colleges will be optional. The new system has some similarities to the standardised aptitude test, SAT conducted for admissions in the United States of America.

Academic session initiates from September-October:

  • The Government aims to introduce NEP 2020 from the new academic session which will begin in September-October due to the unprecedented coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to become multidisciplinary institutions:

  • By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students. The present complex nomenclature of HEIs in the country such as ‘deemed to be university’, ‘affiliating university’, ‘affiliating technical university’, ‘unitary university’ shall be replaced simply by ‘university’.

  • Single-stream higher education institutions will be phased out over time, and all will move towards becoming multidisciplinary. The system of ‘affiliated colleges’ will be gradually phased out in 15 years.

  • NEP aims at setting up at least one large multidisciplinary institution in or near every district by the year 2030.

  • Even engineering institutions, such as IITs, will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education with more arts and humanities. Students of arts and humanities will aim to learn more science.

UG Degree with multiple Exits:

  • The undergraduate degree courses will be of either 3 or 4- year duration, with multiple options. A certificate course after completing 1 year in a discipline or field, including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year program. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s program, however, shall be the preferred option.

ABC to digitally store Credits:

  • An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned.

Changes in Board Exams:

  • Boards may over time also develop further viable models of Board Exams, such as - annual/semester/modular Board Exams; offering all subjects beginning with mathematics, at two levels; two parts exams or objective type and descriptive type.

Premium Education @ Affordable Costs:

  • New Education Policy 2020 aims at promoting India as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs. An International Students Office at each institution hosting foreign students will be set up.

HRD Ministry to be renamed as an education ministry.

Performing universities to set up in Foreign Countries:

  • High performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries. Selected universities like those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.

Vocational Knowledge more accessible:

  • Lok Vidya’, i.e., important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students. The education ministry would constitute a National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE).

NRF to be established:

  • The overarching goal of the NRF will be to enable a culture of research to permeate through universities. The NRF will be governed, independently of the government, by a rotating Board of Governors consisting of the very best researchers and innovators across fields.

Categorization based on accreditation status:

  • There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative & Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation.

Early Childhood Education:

  • A National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8 will be developed by NCERT

Report Card on all-round performance:

  • Students will get a 360-degree holistic report card, which will not only inform about the marks obtained by them in subjects but also their skills and other important points.

Tech-based Education:

  • Quality technology-based options for adult learning such as apps, online courses/modules, satellite-based TV channels, online books, and ICT-equipped libraries and Adult Education Centres, etc. will be developed.

Education before Age 5:

  • Prior to the age of 5, every child will move to a “Preparatory Class” or “Balavatika” (that is, before Class 1), which has an ECCE-qualified teacher.

  • The planning and implementation of early childhood care and education curriculum (ECCEC) will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.

Student Health Monitoring:

  • The nutrition and health (including mental health) of children will be addressed, through healthy meals and regular health check-ups, and health cards will be issued to monitor the same.

  • NIOS and State Open Schools will also offer A, B and C levels that are equivalent to Grades 3, 5, and 8 of the formal school system; secondary education programs that are equivalent to Grades 10 and 12; vocational education courses/programs; and adult literacy and life-enrichment programs.

Reduction in Curriculum content:

  • Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, and make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning.

Experimental Learning:

  • Experiential learning will include hands-on learning, arts-integrated and sports-integrated education, story-telling-based pedagogy, among others, as standard pedagogy. Classroom transactions will shift, towards competency-based learning and education.

Flexibility in choosing subjects:

  • Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school - including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills.

Improvements for Handicapped:

  • Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.

  • 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 centers, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools, and other support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs.

Local language as Medium of Instruction:

  • Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother-tongue/local language/regional language.

Language preferences:

  • The three-language learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.

Bagless Education:

  • Bagless days will be encouraged throughout the year for various types of enrichment activities involving arts, quizzes, sports, and vocational crafts.

Increase in GDP contribution towards education:

  • The education sector to get 6% of GDP, earlier it was 1.7%.

Establishment of HECI:

  • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have four independent verticals -

  1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,

  2. General Education Council (GEC ) for standard-setting,

  3. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and

  4. the National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation.

Improvements in 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).

Boarding facilities for underprivileged:

  • Free boarding facilities will be built - matching the standard of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas particularly for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Improvements in NCC:

  • Under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, State Governments may encourage opening NCC wings in their secondary and higher secondary schools, including those located in tribal-dominated areas

Every child to learn at least one vocation and exposed to several more.

Improvements in Extra-curricular Activities:

  • Use of schools/ school complexes beyond school hours and public library spaces for adult education courses which will be ICT-equipped when possible and for other community engagement and enrichment activities.

Let us hope that these reforms are not just registered on paper but are actively implemented in Schools and Colleges so the education standard in India improves.




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