“Our progress as a nation is no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” John F. Kennedy
Education plays a significant role in the growth of a nation. In a country like India education and knowledge have always been given substantial value. In ancient India, the aim of education was to develop the pupil’s personality, his innate and latent capacities as a process of one’s inner growth and self-fulfillment. The education system also needs to transform according to the ever-changing needs of the society and the world. Thus, for the overall development of the education in and the progress of the nation, a proper policy is needed. The National Policy on Education (NPE) is a policy formulated by the Government of India to promote education amongst India’s people. The policy covers elementary education to the colleges in both rural and urban India. The first NPE was promulgated by the Government of India by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1968, the second by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, and the third by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020. The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) brings reform after 34 years, especially in higher education, shifting focus from academic to non-academic activities. An NPE is a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in the country. Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 with an aim to introduce several changes in the Indian education system – from the school to college level. The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
The Cabinet has approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education.
- Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
- 2 crores out of school children are going to be brought back into the mainstream through an open schooling system.
- The current 10+2 system is going to be replaced with a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
- The uncovered age group of 3-6 years which is being recognized globally as the crucial stage for the development of mental faculties of a child, is also considered under school curriculum,
- It will also have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
- The board examinations of Class 10 and 12 are to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorized facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice.
- School governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.
- Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools.
- Vocational Education to start from Class 6 with Internships.
- Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
- Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes
- A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
- By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a four-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
- Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035. Also, 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
- The current Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 26.3%.
- Holistic Undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
- M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary.
- Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate Transfer of Credits.
- Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
- The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards. Also, HECI will be having four independent verticals namely,
- National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,
- General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting,
- Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,
- National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
- Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
- Over a period of time, every college is expected to develop into either an autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.
Digitalization of Education:
The new education policy has emphasized the incorporation of technology in all the stages of learning.
- An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum, is going to be formed for the exchange of ideas on use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning and administration.
- A dedicated unit for the purpose of creating digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be set up in the ministry.
- Integration of technology will be done to improve classroom processes.
- Meritorious students belonging to SC, ST, OBC and other socially and economically disadvantaged groups will be given incentives.
- Private institutes will be encouraged to offer scholarships to students.
- Standalone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities will aim at multi-disciplinary institutions.
- An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
- Creation of a National Assessment Centre- ‘PARAKH’.
- It also paves the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India.
- It has also put emphasis on setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
- A National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation is to be set up.
- India spends around 4.6 % of its total GDP on education. The new Education Policy plans to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
Thus, NPE has geared itself for the challenges of the 21st century. The flexibility to choose the subjects according to the interest of the student is an amazing initiative. The existing 10+2 academic structure has also been replaced with a new 5+3+3+4 pedagogical curricular structure. The experiential learning is focused upon which will help in the holistic development of a child. Our education system is now similar to the education system of the western developed countries. A ten-day bag less period with the emphasis on Vocational study is a step towards the right direction. Top 100 institutes have been given permission to set up their campuses with in India. Undergraduate courses with multiple exit options are welcomed by the educationists. Appreciating the New Education Policy our Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi said that “ The New Education Policy aims at changing ‘intent’ and ‘content’ of education system.” The NPE is also lauded by the academicians, Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU’S: “India is home to the world’s largest K-12 population and the universalization of early school education, the push to improve gross enrolment ratio and a renewed focus on new life skills such as coding will help create a stronger pipeline of future leaders in India.” The NPE will begin a new era in the field of education.