“I am an engineer, but I want to become a businessman.” “I’ve done my graduation in physics, but I want to become an event manager.” “I like both history and mathematics.” “I don’t want to study chemistry, wish I could replace it with economics”. The youth has forever had such “wishes“, but the education system of India was never a “wish-granting factory”. It did not cater to the versatile interests of its youth. But, the New Education Policy proposed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on 29 July 2020 has changed the whole idea of education. Turns out, some wishes can be granted! Learning can be fun! The HRD Ministry aims to transform the education system to meet the needs of 21st Century India. It aims to eliminate problems in the approach to teaching, structural inequities, access asymmetries in the system, and rampant commercialization of education.
Purpose of a National Education Policy
“Padhega India, tabhi to aagee badhega India.” The future of a Nation widely depends on the education it’s younger generation is procuring. Thus, in 1964 when Congress MP Siddheshwar Prasad talked about the lack of vision and philosophy for education in the government. As a result, an Education commission of 17 members was set up to draft a national policy for education. Based on the suggestions of this Commission, Parliament passed the first education policy in 1968 and the second in 1986. A National Education Policy is basically a framework to guide the development of education in India.
The ABCD of the New Education Policy
The New Education Policy aims to bring a new wave in the education system. It will change not just the ways to impart knowledge, but the whole approach towards education. Let’s give you an insight of the same.
1. The UGC and AICTE will be replaced with Higher Education Commission of India.
2. Higher education will be open to foreign Universities
The NEP suggests that the top 100 foreign universities of the world can now set up their campus in India. This also indicates that India will have to formulate laws that will define how foreign universities will function in India. Earlier, only collaborative programmes and distance learning was approved.
3. The 4 year multi-disciplinary Bachlor’s programme to be reintroduced along with various exit options.
A 4 years Bachelor’s degree will allow a deep insight into the subjects and provide ample time for research. Students will also get options to exit the course as per their wish. A student who exits the degree after one year will be awarded a certificate, after two years a diploma and a bachelor’s degree after three years.
4. 5+3+3+4 design for schools
The usual 10+2 structure of schooling is about to be replaced as it no more fits into the progressive ideology. So, the introduction of the 5+3+3+4 structure will help in holistic growth of a student. The first stage is the foundational stage which focuses on children of 3-8 years. This includes three years of pre-school and Grade 1-2. Fun learning activities will help children to learn the basic morals of life such as good behavior and hygiene. The next stage is the preparatory stage for the age groups of 8-11 years. It is a more formal yet interactive stage of learning. It focuses on reading, writing, speaking, art, languages, science, physical education, and mathematics.
The Middle school includes Grade 6-8 and age group 11-14 years. It will introduce abstract concepts to the students. The next stage is for the age group of 14-18 years. This stage comprises of four years of multidisciplinary study. It will give the students in depth knowledge, promote critical thinking, pay more attention to aspirations of students and exposure.
5. Reformed and reduced syllabus
Experimental learning and critical thinking is the aim of the new education policy. Thus, the syllabus will be reduced and reformed. Board exams will no more strike terror on students. Moreover, students will have the option to take exams twice during the school year, one will be the main exam, while the other will be for improvement. Students will get the chance to choose the subjects in which they want take the Board exams.
6. Vocational courses to be part of mainstream courses
Vocational education will be integrated into all schools and higher education institutions. The ministry aims to expose almost 50% of the learners to vocational education by 2025. ‘Lok Vidya’, that is, important vocational knowledge developed in India will be made available for students. Thus, giving a boost to the Skill India Mission.
7. AI-driven analysis for Report-cards.
Teachers and peers will now be able to review the report cards. Students will be able to trace their growth through their school years with the help of software based on Artificial Intelligence. A database will also be setup to record the studies done by a student.
8. Emphasis on mother tongue and regional languages
The NEP suggests that the medium of instruction in schools at least till Class 5, but preferably until Class 8 and beyond, will be the home language or mother tongue or regional language of the student. Teachers will use bilingual approach so as medium, so as to make it easier.
9. Not much changes in the Master’s programme, but institutes will have the authority to offer different and flexible Programme structure
10. Discontinuation of M.phil Programme in order to direct students to pursue PhD.
In order to make the coming generations technically efficient, The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be set up. This will provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology in the field of education. Smart classes have already been installed in many schools. But, the NETF will think of more ways to use technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration and so on, both for school and higher education.
Implementation of the New Policy
Education is a subject of the concurrent list, so both the center and the state can make laws to implement the New Education Policy. As of now, the plan is to set up subject-wise committees at both the central and state levels to implement each facet of the NEP. The Government may have a plan, but it needs efficient implementation. Only then India can achieve the goal to incorporate the new policy into the education system by 2040.
For someone like me who has always been interested in multiple disciplines, but had to conform to the education system, all of this seems like a dream. But it is no less for the generations to come. Uprooting a whole system and replacing it with a new one is far more difficult than it seems on paper. After Ban China, the NEP is the next big step by the Indian Government. Another step towards a self-sufficient and progressive nation.
The National Education Policy, 2020 will transform India into vibrant knowledge Hub.PM Narendra Modi