National Education Policy, 2020 : Highlights

The Union Cabinet recently cleared a new National Education Policy, 2020. The main aim of the policy is to make India a Global Knowledge Superpower. Along with the policy, the cabinet also approved renaming of Ministry of Human Resource Development to Ministry of Education.

In the history of independent India, the education policy was brought in 1968 and 1986.

Background

The draft of the new National Education Policy was submitted by the panel headed by the former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan in December 2018. It was later opened for feedback after Lok Sabha election in May 2019.

Key Highlights of the policy

The policy has raised public spending on education by the states to 6% of GDP. Currently, India spends 4.6% of its total GDP on education. It has introduced new curricular and pedagogical structure replacing the existing 10+2 structure.

The regions in aspirational districts that are facing greater social, economic and caste barriers are to be designated as “Special Education Zones”.

The policy also aims to set up “Gender Inclusion Fund”. The fund will help in providing equity education to all girls and transgender students.

The policy aims to bring in traditional knowledge related curriculum. This includes tribal and indigenous knowledge. The policy aims to incorporate this into the educational system in a scientific manner.

New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure

The new National Education Policy introduces “5+3+3+4” design that covers children in the age group between 3 and 18 years. The new structure is as follows

  • PRE-PRIMARY: It includes five years of foundational stage. Of the five years, three years are of pre-primary school and two years of grade 1 and grade 2.
  • LATER PRIMARY: The next three years are of Preparatory Stages. These are Grades 3, 4 and 5.
  • UPPER PRIMARY: This includes three years of middle stage. They are Grades 6, 7 and 8.
  • SECONDARY: This stage includes Higher Level. They are Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Digital Education

A National Educational Technology Forum has been created to exchange ideas on the use of technology, to improve learning, assessment, planning and administration. Also, a separate Technology Unit is to be set up that will develop digital education resources. The unit will coordinate digital infrastructure, capacity building and content building.

Teachers

The policy has brought in minimum degree qualification for teachers as four-year integrated B.Ed. This is to come into existence by 2030. Also, the teachers are to be given online training on education methods. The training will focus on methods that are relevant to Indian situation. This will help bridge digital divide.

School Education

The policy has made it mandatory to use the child’s mother tongue as medium of instruction till Class 5. It aims to Universalise pre-primary education by 2025. The pre-primary education includes children in the age group 3 and 6 years. It also aims to universalize education from pre-school to secondary school by 2030. Also, by 2030, the Gross Enrolment Ratio of Secondary level is to be brought to 100%.

A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is to be brought in by 2025. The mission will ensure the students receive basic skills at Class 3 level.

The policy has introduced new curriculum at preschool and Anganwadi. Also, a new curriculum is to be introduced for Class 6 with coding and vocational studies.

Under the new education policy, the students will be allowed to take the exams twice. The exams will test core competencies rather than memorising facts.

The policy will set a new independent authority to regulate public and private schools. Also, a new Accreditation framework is to be set up for both private and public schools.

Higher Education

The policy aims to introduce College Affiliation System that is to be phased out in 15 years of time period. The system will focus to develop every college into an autonomous degree granting institution or a university or college. Also, the policy aims to double Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to 50% by 2035. It was 26.3% in 2018.

An academic bank of credit is to be set up to make transactions between institutions easier.

Higher Education Commission of India

A new Regulator for the Higher Education is to be established. All the courses are to be included under the regulator except for medical and legal courses. The Higher Education Commission of India will have the following independent verticals

  • General Education Council to set standards
  • National Higher Education Regulatory Council to regulate higher education
  • Higher Education Grants Council for funding
  • National Accreditation Council for accreditation.

The policy has abolished Phil degree. It has introduced four-year undergraduate courses with multiple entry and exit options.

Other Key Features

  • A new National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education is to be formulated by 2021. The curriculum is to be formulated by National Council for Teacher Education in consultation with NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training).
  • Institutions called MERUs (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities) are to be set up at par with IITs and IIMs.
  • National Research Foundation is to be created as the apex body to foster strong research culture across higher education.
  • Under the policy, National Assessment Centre called “PARAKH” has been created. The centre will assess the students.
  • National Institutes for languages such as Persian, Pali and Prakrit are to be set up. Also, the policy aims to set up Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation.

Challenges

Education is a concurrent subject. Meaning, both centre and states have equal rights to bring about changes in legislation and implementation. However, the centre has an upper hold. The main challenge faced by the policy is that the states have to be brought on board for implementation as education is a concurrent subject.

Constitutional Provisions

The 42nd Amendment of Constitution moved Education from State list to Concurrent List. The 86th amendment of constitution made education an enforceable right under Fundamental Rights (Article 21 to be specific).

The Right to Education Act, 2009, aims to provide primary education to all children of age 6 to 14 years. Also, the law mandates 25% reservation for the disadvantaged sections of the society.

Conclusion

The National Education Policy, 2020 aims to shift towards more scientific approach to education. It will help to cater ability of the child in different stages of development. This includes cognitive development, social and physical development. When implemented, the policy will bring India at par with leading countries of the world.

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