For the last three decades, the out-of-date education policy of India has focused on rote learning. The student’s overall development was at stake, but not any longer. The Cabinet approved the New Education Policy 2020 on July 29, 2020, and has not been presented in Parliament. This policy is first formulated by the Indian government in the 21st century. When I got the news, I was like where you have been lost for the last three decades. If this policy were present before. I would not have been forced to attain basic education by the obsolete education system I progressed through. A lot of aspirants like me wouldn’t have stressed the X and XII board examinations so much. Let us take a ride through our New education Policy 2020. Will this policy make a difference?
New Education Policy 2020 comes out with massive changes in the testimony of Dr Kasturirangam committee (Ex-Chief of Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO) 2019. From 2016 till 2019, there were a large number of interviews with Gram Panchayats, specialists, educationalists, philosophers, students and so many people while drafting the new education policy. The intention of the new policy is the universalisation of education from preschool to secondary level with a 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030. The policy includes structural as well as the overall holistic changes in School Education and Higher Education. It does not emphasize only the system flaws but also concentrates on the overall holistic development.
New Education Policy 2020: School Education
There must be a question in your mind as to why there is a need for structural change and how is it going to benefit us? Considerably, The NEP 2020 will acquire two crores out of school children back into the mainstream through the open schooling system. The removal of (10+2) old school curricular systems and the inclusion of (5+3+3+4) new school curricular systems. It is corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
According to NEP 2020, there will be 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/pre-schooling of a foundational stage. This new composition will induce an uncovered age group of 3 to 6 years under the school curriculum. This age is admitted as the pivotal point for the development of the rational foundations of a child globally.
Pioneer of New Education Policy 2020: The Most Controversial
Mother Tongue as Medium of Teaching
According to the New Education Policy 2020, If possible, the medium of teaching up to Grade 5 should be the mother tongue or regional language. If possible, this can continue further with the major change. It certainly will help children to learn about their distinct culture and preserve them. There are a total of 196 Indian languages that are on the verge of extinction. The extinction of a total of 40 languages sets a negative impact on native culture. Even though the passing of language is equivalent to the loss of identity.
NEP 2020 clearly states that “No language will be imposed on any student“. It has stirred up the fiercest debates. According to the Education Minister, State Governments will decide on the medium of educational activity. Although, he would not even confirm that the policy will be implemented by centrally-run schools.
NEP aims to attain universal fundamental literacy by 2025 for foundational literacy and numeracy, free breakfasts also added to free lunches and environmental play studies in government schools. Moreover, it includes moral, spiritual learning based on the syllabus and learning prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
This feature of NEP 2020 focuses on vocational education and providing internships starting from class VI (upper primary level) onwards by including 10 bagless days in a year. This furnishes a chance for students to learn new skills like that of Carpenter, electrician, blacksmith and so many. That surely will provide an opportunity to help students learn about the grassroots and the importance of every work and to respect the people involved in these. The new policy stresses on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. According to the Ministry of Education, there will be no strict separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools.
Although, I think this feature of the policy is contradicting with Child Labor Policy which states that the prohibition of a child under 14 years of age in the working area. It is a step to provide vocational education but there are always flaws in our system which damages the aim of policy. I want to see how the government is going to tackle this challenge?
Other Facts of NEP 2020
Assessment reforms with Holistic Progress Card (360 Degree) and for attaining learning outcomes, the progress of the students will be traced. This feature will be going to aid students as they can analyse their failures and regulate their performances.
According to the New Policy of 2020, school learners will take examinations only for Classes 3, 5, and 8. The assessment of other years will shift to a ‘regular and formative’ style that will be more “competency-based” to promote scholarship and development, testing ‘higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity. This new policy also proposed to hold the board exams for classes 10 and 12. Although, these will also re-design with holistic development. I am slightly jealous of next-generation students as they won’t get stressed with exam preparation every year. They certainly can say that one sheet of paper can not decide my future. Also, they will get a chance to learn by doing the things which were not available for us at our time.
National Education Policy 2020: Higher Education
Under Graduate Program
In universities, there is an introduction of three or four years of Undergraduate program with the credit bank system and the abolition of the M Phil programme. Let’s recall the same in 2013, the University of Delhi started the Four Years Undergraduate Program (FYUP). FYUP focused on the overall development of students. The subjects like Business, Management & Entrepreneurship, Language, Literature, and Creativity, Information technology, Indian History and Culture, Governance and Citizenship, Environment and Public Health and so many infused in the academic syllabus. The objective of the FYUP program was to build up the skills of students and educate them in more than just one field. However, we know the response of the public towards it very well.
The aspirants were indirectly forced to opt for the FYUP program at that time. Now, the introduction of multi exit or multi-entry with relevant certification is not that rigid. The constitution of the Academic Bank of Credits will be there to facilitate the Transfer of Credits. There is an option for students in Higher Education courses of study to possess Flexibility of Subjects from different disciplines. This feature is a boon to those scholars who had to leave higher education due to some personal or financial issues. Let’s see how it will be implemented.
Nowadays, the research work mainly relies upon the project prototype based on academic research. Moreover, we should be riveting on post-academic research based on technology readiness levels and move forward from the conventional form. The National Research Foundation will create an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
This policy is a dream come true for the people involved in Research work. In 15 years, the New Education Policy will phase out the affiliating system and grades autonomy to the colleges based on their ranks. It will certainly improve the calibre of education. There is no classification like extracurricular activities and vocational training, these all collectively make parts of the education. The Education Policy tries to provide equal importance to promote these among the students. It will mark the removal of the stereotype fueled stigma in the majorly orthodox society.
One Nation, One Education Body
The overhauling of the governance structure by introducing one regulatory body for the entire sector of region education sectors of India is the need of an hour. The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will set up for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. It will be a single overarching umbrella body.
The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will merge four independent regulatory body namely National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard-setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and the National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
New Education Policy 2020: Other Interesting Facts
The Centre and the States governments both will function together to increase the public investment in the education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
The most substantial feature of NEP 2020 will also emphasise in setting up of a Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions, and groups. This feature includes girl children and Transgenders & will certainly increase their participation in education and improve their degree of literacy.
This new policy also facilitates the selective entry of high-quality foreign universities for setting up a campus in India. The policy also emphasizes liberal arts, humanities, and Indian heritage and linguistic communications. This policy promotes higher education fees for 50% of the scholars with scholarships and fee waivers.
In both schools and higher education, this new policy will encourage Multilingualism. Consequently, the National Institute of Pali, Persian, and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation will set up.
National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will formulate a smart and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021. The minimum grade of qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated Bachelor of Education Degree by 2030.
New Education Policy 2020: Timeline for Implementation
The policy is intended to transform the education system by 2040. It starts with the change in the name of the Ministry of Human Resource Development into the Ministry of Education. There are more than 100 action points from the Policy. The implementation of NEP 2020 will be done in phases. It based on time, region and types of institutions with Institutes of Eminence and Central Universities taking the spark advance. For instance, Four-year undergraduate degrees (FYUP Program) with multiple entry-exit options will introduce in the 20 years from the 2020-21 academic year. While others can carry on with the existing three-year degree courses. Even the existing M.Phil students can stay until they complete their degree. Although new admissions for the program will not be accepted afterwards.
The National Testing Agency will introduce a pilot version of the common entrance test by December 2020. It will be utilized for admission to all Institutes of Eminence and central universities in 2021. There are some Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) that are working on developing the technological structure of the Academic Credit Bank. It will be established by December, and become applicable to all new students joining central universities next year.
The National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission have to be implemented by 2025. It will be launched by the remainder of this year. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will introduce the curricular framework for the new school structure, including early child care, by the succeeding academic year.
New Education Policy 2020: Challenges Ahead
- It is only a policy, not a law so implementation of its proposals depends on further regulations by both States and the Centre. As education is on the concurrent list of Schedule VII of the Indian Constitution. The state government holds a major part to play in the implementation of the policy.
- The provision about the implementation of mother tongue up to Grade V in a central government school again requires a proper mechanism.
- NEP proposes to increase public investment in education to 6% of GDP. However, such a proposal for an increase in funding was always there. Although, we all know what had achieved for the last half-century, point out experts.
- At every bit, we have larger plans so it will surely require large infrastructure development as well as new adaptive training for the teachers.
- Equally, most of our teachers are not well trained & equipped. There is a need for a large-scale teacher training program to come out in this space.
Author’s Opinion on NEP 2020
In my opinion, the Indian Government played a masterstroke in 2020 which was lying pending on the table for the last three decades. This policy will certainly make an intellectual difference to the mindset of the next generation. The government has attempted to cover all the basic and advanced aspects. Although there are some flaws like the provision of the mother tongue. That will be the most challenging one as most of the states are opposing like Andhra Pradesh. Many states like Odisha are welcoming the same step.
This policy may turn out to be a revolution in the education system. However, I can assure most of us are jealous of this NEP 2020 for its not being there in our time. It’s true, we didn’t get a chance. On the contrary, I am happy for future generations who will be a privilege given the same. I hope they will make the best use of it.
Apart from all problems, we know that the objectives of the NEP 2020 are immensely required. These are also the dire needs of the present time. Hence, there is a need to show the power of cooperative federalism among the Centre and states while implementing the NEP. All the policies are highly promising. Although the laid down policies somehow fail during implementation on the grassroots level.
Let’s see how National Education Policy will be implemented at the lowest layers of the system. It will require much time to observe & watch the consequences. However, it will be exceedingly & positively helpful for the betterment of our society and the nation’s development.