National Education Policy, 2020

Author- Harshita Saxena*

Editor- Shuvasmita Nanda


Introduction


Education is an essential part of everyone’s life. It is a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. In India, the Right to Education Act, 2009 ensures free compulsory education to children aged between 6 and 14 years of age. As of now, the Indian Education System is facing a lot of problems because of the pandemic. During COVID-19, there have been many changes in everyone’s daily life. The initiative of the National Education Policy taken by the Government of India is one of the most revolutionary changes in the Indian Education System till now. Through NEP 2020, the government has initiated to build a comprehensive framework for a developed education system in our country. The Union Cabinet of India approved this nascent policy on 29 July 2020 as a crucial change in school and higher education by replacing the former National Policy on Education, 1986.

History of Education Policy in India


An education policy is the foundation of any education system based on which it develops and grows. It outlines the goals and objectives of a country in education. There were many steps taken in the British Period related to the education system of India such as the 1813 Act, Wood’s Dispatch (1882-1883), Sadler Commission, etc. Later, in 1920, the concept of the National Education System was introduced in India. Although, we see the first mention of Education Policy in 1964 when the government was criticized for their lacking education ideology in the country by Congress MP Siddheshwar Prasad. As a result of this, a commission was established in the same year for drafting an education policy.


The commission comprising Chairperson D.S. Kothari and 17 other members was presided over by UGC (University Grants Commission). The commission made some recommendations stating that the primary purpose of education is to increase the feeling of nationalism among Indians. Based on the suggestions of this commission, the Parliament of India approved its first Education Policy in 1968 under the Prime Ministership of Indira Gandhi. The principal aim of this policy was to educate everyone in the country whether a person belongs to the rural or urban area. The second Education Policy was passed in 1986 under Rajiv Gandhi. Its motive was to provide a scientific approach to education and increase its quality. The Union Cabinet passed recently the third education policy in July 2020 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This newly approved policy has repelled the 34-year-old education policy of 1986. [1]


Need for National Education Policy 2020


National Education Policy 2020 envisions an India-centric education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into a fair and vibrant knowledge society by providing high-quality education to all.”[2]


As the vision of NEP 2020 mentions, the government seeks to reform the former education policy to have a scientific and technical approach towards education such as the UK and the USA. We, as a significantly populous country in the world, have been lacking in research and education. So, it is necessary to create a proper education system that can help us in reaching new heights of success. We have been way too dependent on the cramming system and rote learning methods.


Most of the students pay attention to theoretical knowledge rather than practical experience. People around them also pay heed only to their scores and grades. It makes a student confined to think in a pattern and stops them to think out of the box. Illiteracy is also one of the biggest problems in India. Even if a child studies, most of the time he/she drops out because of financial or any other reason and becomes unable to complete his/her education. That’s why the government wanted to do some experiments with the education system and introduced a policy that focuses on these problems with a more professional approach.


Provisions of NEP 2020


NEP 2020 is initiated by the Indian government to reform its education system from a completely new level. It aims to boost state expenditure on education from around 4-6% of the GDP. Some of the provisions of NEP 2020 are:


Changes in School Education System

There are several important changes brought in school education by NEP 2020. They are as follows:

  • Language and Education

We see that for emphasizing the necessity of mother- tongue and regional languages, the Education Policy of 1986 had promoted the usage of mother tongue. In the same way, NEP 2020 states that until class 5 the medium of instruction will be in these languages. Additionally, Sanskrit and other Foreign Languages will also be given a place in the students’ curriculum. For the promotion of various languages, NEP also considers establishing new institutions like the Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation and the National Institutes for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit.

  • Introduction to 5+3+3+4 Model of School Education

Till now India has been following the 10+2 structure of education. It refers to the 2 years of schooling which was required post grade 10. This structure has been replaced by the 5+3+3+4 model. 5+3+3+4 refers to 5 foundational years. This model will be executed as follows:[3] [4]

  1. The Foundational Stage focuses on activity-based learning of children aged between 3-8 years. (Classes 1 and 2)

  2. The Preparatory Stage covers the children aged between 8-11 years. They will be taught subjects like speaking, reading, writing, physical education, languages, art, science, and mathematics. (Classes 3-5)

  3. Covering the children of 11-14 years of age, the Middle Stage will emphasize the deeper concepts of the above subjects. (Classes 6-8)

  4. The Secondary Stage covers the children aged between 14-18 years and is divided into two phases. The first phase comprises Classes 9 & 10 and the second phase comprises Classes 11 & 12. The concept of multidisciplinary study will be taught to the students in this stage of education.

  • Structure of Exams

According to the Education Policy of 1986, the exams were being held every single academic year but now exams will be held in classes 3, 5, and 8. The board exams for classes 10 and 12 will be redesigned by an assessment body named PARAKH. Parakh in Hindi translates to “judgment”. Its full form is Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development. These exams will be conducted twice a year and each exam will comprise two parts, namely the aim and the descriptive.

  • Extra-curricular Activities

Apart from schooling education, there are various activities introduced in NEP 2020 for providing a better academic environment for students. Many vocational courses and internship programs are going to be included in the curricular activities of students for promoting experiential learning. For example, the students of class 6 will be introduced to Coding. Other extra-curricular activities like gardening, dance, music, arts & crafts, etc. will also be given equal importance along with academic subjects. There will also be the deployment of counselors and social workers in schools for focusing on the mental health of students. Participation in such counseling sessions will help the students in eradicating stress from their lives. For better physical health of students, breakfasts will also be included in the Mid-day Meal Scheme.


Higher Education

  • NEP 2020 has proposed a 4-year multidisciplinary bachelor’s degree program with multiple exit options. These multiple exit options allow students to drop out of any course without its completion. Dropping out from 1st year of any course will get you a certificate, dropping out from 2nd year will get you a diploma, dropping out from 3rd year will get a bachelor’s degree and if a student drops out from 4th year of any course, then they will get a bachelor’s research degree.

  • MPhil (Masters of Philosophy) courses will be terminated under NEP 2020.

  • Besides this, a regulatory body will be set up to legislate the higher education system. This body is named as Higher Education Council of India (HECI).

  • NEP 2020 also seeks to internationalize education in India by allowing Foreign universities to set up their campuses in India.

  • For eradicating the problem of arbitrary fee structure, NEP 2020 has laid down that the fee structure of both private and public universities will be fixed.

  • According to this policy, the National Testing Agency will organize university entrance examinations, including JEE Main and NEET.


Teaching Standards


NEP 2020 has brought changes in the education system not only for the students but for teachers as well. It has tried to set standards to become a teacher in schools and colleges. Under this policy, a 4-year Bachelor of Education is the minimum requirement to be a teacher and they will be appointed more strictly and transparently. The National Council for Teacher Education has the crucial responsibility of preparing a National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education by 2021 and a Professional Standard for Teachers by 2022. The NEP 2020 has the vision of recruiting passionate, motivated, highly competent, eligible, skilled, trained, and well-equipped teachers who can ensure a better academic environment for students.


Establishment of Various Educational Bodies


The new education policy 2020 has the motive to form many educational bodies, institutions, and organizations like the National Education Commission, is to be headed by the Prime Minister of India. Other organizations like the National Research Foundation, Special Education Zones, National Education Technology Forum, etc. will also be established for providing support and promotion to education.


Implementation


Education is a concurrent subject that allows both Centre and the State governments to make laws on it. So States are not bound to follow it. But for now, the current government has set a target to implement this entire policy by 2040. According to the government, various subject-wise committees will be formed for making implementation plans of the NEP 2020. The institutions like HRD Ministry, Education Department, NCERT, Central Advisory Board of Education, National Testing Agency, etc will also take part in developing such implementation plans. [5]


Possible Pros and Cons

  • Pros

  1. The NEP 2020 will help in building an education system in India that relies upon the practicality of subjects more than their theoretical aspects.

  2. It is also a tremendous step towards the promotion of mother-tongue and other regional languages by including them as a medium of instruction until class 5.

  3. By setting appropriate teaching standards to become a teacher, NEP 2020 ensures that all students get to learn from qualified and eligible teachers.

  4. This policy encourages the students for learning entrepreneurship skills by providing various vocational courses and internship programs along with their respective academic courses.

  • Cons

  1. Such policies have failed in developing proper education models for the schooling of poor children. In the same way, NEP 2020 doesn’t pay any special attention to the poor section of students.

  2. By introducing a 4-year degree program with multiple exit options, NEP 2020 has raised a vital question: who would want to pursue the entire program if they get the diploma in only two years of the degree?

  3. The promotion of regional languages in schools can be a reason for increasing regionalism in the country. It would create differences among diverse language speaking sections of society.

  4. The students of the private schools will be introduced to English much earlier than the students of the Government schools so it may create differences in both schools’ students.

Conclusion


Summing up, NEP 2020 can be proved as a revolutionary step in bringing some important changes in the Indian education system. It has enough potential to improvise and alter our country’s teaching and learning techniques that would lead to a bright future for our nation. Introducing such policies can strengthen our country’s vision and philosophy in education. It clears our goals and objectives we seek to achieve through a systematic approach towards education. But for completing these ambitions, the proper implementation of such policies is mandatory. We need a comprehensive framework for their implication and it needs to be followed by everyone. These policies should not be an empty promise given for the sake of elections. It must be executed appropriately with a decent planning method.


References


1.Sheetal Maggon, “National Education Policy 2020”, Law Habitat, https://lawhabitat.com/national-education-policy-2020/

2.Akila Radhakrishnan, “Draft New Education Policy and Schools for the Skilling Age”, The Hindu Centre (Sep 16, 2019, 02:40 PM), https://www.thehinducentre.com/the-arena/current-issues/article29349517.ece

3.Sagar Kulkarni, “New policy offers 5-3-3-4 model of school education”, Deccan Herald (July 29, 2020, 23:57), https://www.deccanherald.com/national/new-policy-offers-5-3-3-4-model-of-school-education-867234.html

4. Shuchita Kumar, “New education policy: The shift from 10+2 to 5+3+3+4 system”, Times Now News (Jul 31, 2020, 10:06 IST), https://www.timesnownews.com/business-economy/economy/article/new-education-policy-the-shift-from-102-to-5334-system/629902

5.Ritika Chopra, “Explained: What are the key takeaways of India’s National Education Policy 2020?”, The Indian Express (November 3, 2020, 2:33 PM) https://www.google.com/amp/s/indianexpress.com/article/explained/reading-new-education-policy-india-schools-colleges-6531603/lite/


The Author is a 2nd year B.A.LLB (Hons) student at Jiwaji University Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Disclaimer-This article is the original submission of the Author. VAIDHA doesn't hold any liability arising out of this article.


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