National Education Policy & Reforms 2020 (NEP): Explained

📚How the NEP 2020 Was Formulated📚

The NEP 2020 is India’s first new education policy in the twenty-first century, with the previous one being adopted in 1986, 34 years earlier. Thus, the NEP succeeds the 1986 National Policy on Education, which was revised once in 1992. Prior to it, in 1968, the first education policy was enacted.

One of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election promises in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was a revamped education strategy.

Since 2015, the Committee for the Evolution of the New Education Policy has been working on a new education policy, and in May 2016, the Committee for the Evolution of the New Education Policy submitted its report, on which the then-Ministry of Human Resource Development prepared “Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016.”

Finally, in June 2017, the Committee for the Draft National Education Policy, chaired by Dr K Kasturirangan, former chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was formed, and the Draft National Education Policy 2019 was submitted to Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal on May 31, 2019, shortly after he took over the ministry. According to reports, the draught was also filed in December 2018.

According to the government, the NEP 2020 was developed after approximately 2 lakh recommendations were received from 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, 6,600 blocks, 6,000 urban local bodies, and 676 districts.

📚Reforms in Structure & Curriculum of School Education📚

The NEP 2020 proposes a number of reforms to school education, with a focus on topic flexibility and reducing silos between streams of learning, among other things. The NEP also aims to attain a 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio from preschool through secondary school by 2030.

To begin with, the NEP converts the existing 10+2 school education structure to a 5+3+3+4 system, which covers children aged 3 to 18.

This essentially brings youngsters aged 3-6 years into the fold, who were previously unrepresented in the existing framework, which began only in grade 1.

This structure, when broken up into corresponding grades, is:

  • Three years of anganwadi or preschool + two years in primary school in grades 1-2 covering ages 3 to 8 years
  • The ‘preparatory stage’ covering ages 8 to 11 years or grades 3-5
  • The ‘middle stage’ covering ages 11 to 14 years or grades 6-8
  • The ‘secondary stage’ covering ages 14 to 18 years in two phases – grades 9-10 in the first and grades 11-12 in the second

The NEP strives to compress curriculum content to its bare basics, focusing on fundamental concepts and ideas so that pupils may engage in more critical thinking and analysis-based learning, among other things.

The NEP further declares that there will be no strict distinctions made between curricular, extracurricular, or co-curricular sectors, or between the arts, humanities, and sciences, or between vocational and academic streams. Students in grades 6-8 will be required to attend a course that will give them hands-on experience with a variety of vital vocational crafts.

📚Changes to Examinations & Focus on Multilingualism in Schools📚

Multilingualism and the learning of native languages are also goals of the policy. There will be changes to the assessment system as well.

Board exams would be made ‘easier,’ measuring ‘primarily fundamental capacities/competencies’ rather than rote learning, according to the guidelines. If a student desires, he or she will be able to take the board exams twice a year, once for the main exam and once for improvement.

Furthermore, the NEP will establish standardised school tests in grades 3, 5, and 8 to track educational progress throughout the school year rather than just at the end.

A concentration on languages in schools is one of the most significant improvements the NEP intends to bring about.
According to the policy, “the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language will be the medium of instruction until at least grade 5, but preferably until grade 8 and beyond” in both public and private institutions.

The approach will follow the three-language paradigm, but with some flexibility and without imposing any language on any state. In essence, it means that students would learn three languages, dependent on the states, regions, and personal preferences, as long as at least two of the three languages are indigenous to India. After political parties objected, the draught NEP’s reference to Hindi and English in this regard was removed.

Sanskrit will be one of the languages available in this three-language combination. Other classical languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali, Persian, and Prakrit will be taught at all levels of school and higher education. The policy says that foreign languages such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian will be taught at the secondary level.

📚Reforming Training of Teachers📚

The policy intends to revolutionise education while also improving the abilities of those who facilitate it – teachers.

To that end, the strategy aims to establish a substantial number of merit-based scholarships for quality four-year integrated BEd programmes across the country. It also indicates that teacher eligibility exams (TETs) would be enhanced in order to instil better test material, and that the results would be used in recruiting.

Teachers will be offered local, regional, state, national, and international workshops, as well as online teacher development modules, to help them improve their skills and knowledge, and they will be required to participate in at least 50 hours of such continuous professional development opportunities per year.

According to the policy, teacher education will be shifted to multidisciplinary institutions by 2030, and a four-year integrated BEd would be the minimum degree qualification for teaching by the same year. This rule, however, will not apply to those who have previously earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree, for whom alternative conditions will apply.

Teachers will also be expected to refrain from engaging in activities like as electioneering so that they may dedicate more time to education.

📚Reforms in the Higher Education System📚

The NEP, by its very nature, brings about a slew of changes in the higher education system, with the goal of “creating larger prospects for individual employment.”

The NEP also aims to raise the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, which includes vocational education, from 26.3 percent in 2018 to 50 percent by 2035.

One of the key goals of the NEP is to reform India’s present higher education system by bringing together higher education institutions (HEIs) into major interdisciplinary universities, colleges, and HEI clusters/knowledge centres, rather than fragmenting it. Single-stream HEIs will be phased out over time, according to the policy.

One modification brought about by the NEP is that the undergraduate degree will be three or four years long, with several exit alternatives within that time frame and suitable credentials for individuals who drop out at a specific point.

In addition, the MPhil programme has been phased out of the NEP 2020.
In keeping with the NEP’s multidisciplinary approach to education, a new system called a “Academic Bank of Credit (ABC)” will be able to digitally record academic credits obtained from a variety of recognised higher education institutions. This will enable for the awarding of degrees from HEIs based on credits obtained.

While the NEP specifies that colleges would be granted graded autonomy based on accreditation in the near future, the ultimate goal is for them to become autonomous degree-granting colleges or constituent colleges of universities.

The regulatory framework has also changed, with the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) set to serve as a single regulator for the higher education sector, which includes teacher education but excludes medical and legal education.

📚How Has the NEP 2020 Been Received?📚

The NEP’s drafter, K Kasturirangan, stated that “transforming and developing a dynamic education system is vital for the success of any country – India is no exception,” and that the goal is to “open our minds to brilliance.”

Leaders of the ruling party have understandably praised the NEP. Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, said it will assure “a bright future for tomorrow’s leaders” and “nurture each child’s unique talent,” while Smriti Irani, a previous HRD minister, called it “a radical reformation of education in India.”

N Chandrababu Naidu, the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and a leader of the Telugu Desam Party, praised the NEP’s emphasis on learning in the native tongue.

Shashi Tharoor, a Congress leader, praised the proposal but questioned why it had not been introduced in Parliament first. He also noted in a series of tweets that the difficulty would be to “ensure that aspiration is matched with implementation.”

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor Najma Akhtar of Jamia Millia Islamia predicted that the NEP will turn India into a “global knowledge giant.”

Malabika Sarkar, Vice Chancellor of Ashoka University, remarked to Moneycontrol,

“A 50 percent Gross Enrolment Ratio is a significant goal to which all universities must contribute. The efforts mentioned as part of NEP 2020 should assist in meeting this goal. Multiple government-recognized admission and exit alternatives at the undergraduate level will provide kids with more options.”
“The emphasis on primary education in regional languages, as well as the introduction of Sanskrit, in accordance with the three-language formula, will prove to be a great boon to the people of the country, particularly in rural areas,” said Prof VK Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, in an interview with India Today.

According to Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director of Symbiosis, the “new NEP is very forward and student-centric,” but “what is crucial today is training instructors and adjusting their perspective to adapt to the new difficulties.”

NEP In a Objective Way👇

  • Key Points
  • The goal of the NEP 2020 is to make India a “global knowledge superpower.”
  • The rebranding of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education was also authorised by the Cabinet.
  • The Cabinet’s approval of the NEP is just the third major overhaul of India’s educational structure since independence.
  • The two previous education strategies were implemented in 1968 and 1986, respectively.

📚School Education📚

  • By 2030, education will be universal from preschool to secondary school, with a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 100%.

  • Using an open schooling approach, bring 2 million out-of-school youngsters back into the classroom.

  • The present 10+2 curricular structure will be replaced with a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure that will correspond to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years.
  • It will include the hitherto unincluded age group of 3-6 years in the school curriculum, which is widely considered as a critical period for a child’s mental development.
  • It will also include a 12-year schooling programme, as well as three years of Anganwadi/preschool education.
  • Exams for students in grades 10 and 12 will be simplified to focus on fundamental competencies rather than memorised facts, and all students will be able to take the exam again.

  • With a new accrediting structure and an independent authority to supervise both public and private schools, school governance is about to alter.
  • There is a strong emphasis on foundational literacy and numeracy, and there is no strict division between academic, extracurricular, and vocational streams in schools.
  • Internships will begin in Class 6 for Vocational Education.
  • Up to at least Grade 5 should be taught in the mother tongue/regional language. No student will be forced to learn a language.

  • Assessment changes include a 360-degree Holistic Progress Card that tracks student progress toward learning objectives.
  • The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), in collaboration with the National Council of Educational Research and Training, will develop a new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021. (NCERT).
  • A four-year integrated B.Ed. degree will be the minimum degree requirement for teaching by 2030.

📚Higher Education📚

  • By 2035, the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education will have increased to 50%. In addition, 3.5 crore seats in higher education will be offered.

  • In higher education, the current Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is 26.3 percent.
  • Three or four years of holistic undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum can be completed in three or four years, with several exit alternatives and proper certification available throughout that time.
  • M.Phil. courses will be phased out, and all undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral courses will be multidisciplinary.
  • To facilitate the transfer of credits, an Academic Bank of Credits will be established.

  • Interdisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) will be established as models of excellent multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country, on par with IITs and IIMs.
  • The National Research Foundation will be established as the apex organisation for creating a strong research culture and increasing research capacity in higher education.
  • The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would be established as a single umbrella organisation for all higher education in India, with the exception of medical and legal education.
  • Regulation, accreditation, and academic standards will all be governed by the same set of rules for public and private higher education institutions. In addition, HECI will have four distinct verticals: the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, the General Education Council (GEC) for standard formulation, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for accreditation.
  • For financing, contact the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC).
  • For accreditation, the National Accreditation Council (NAC) is used.
  • College affiliation will be phased out over the next 15 years, and a stage-by-stage procedure for providing colleges graded autonomy will be implemented.

  • Every college is supposed to grow into either an independent degree-granting college or a constituent college of a university over time.

📚Other Changes📚

  • The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), an autonomous entity, will be established to provide a forum for free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to improve learning, evaluation, planning, and administration.

  • To assess the students, the National Assessment Centre ‘PARAKH’ was established.
  • It also allows international colleges to establish campuses in India.
  • It promotes the creation of a Gender Inclusion Fund as well as Special Education Zones for underserved regions and populations.

  • There will be a National Institute for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit, as well as an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation.
  • It also aims to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  • Currently, India spends around 4.6 % of its total GDP on education.

Education In India

Constitutional Provisions👇

  • Article 45 of Part IV of the Indian Constitution and Article 39 (f) of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) provide for state-funded, equitable, and accessible education.

  • Education was shifted from the State to the Concurrent List by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976.
  • The central government’s education policies set a broad direction, which state governments are required to follow. However, it is not required; for example, Tamil Nadu does not follow the three-language formula outlined in the first education policy, which was issued in 1968.
  • In 2002, the 86th Amendment added Article 21-A to the Constitution, making education an enforceable right.

Related Laws👇

  • The Right to Education (RTE) Act of 2009 establishes education as a fundamental right for all children aged 6 to 14.

  • It also stipulates a 25% reservation for disadvantaged groups in places where disadvantaged groups exist.

Government Initiatives👇

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal Scheme, Navodaya Vidyalayas (NVS schools), Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV schools) and use of IT in education are a result of the NEP of 1986.

📚Way Forward📚

  • A New Education Policy aspires to promote an inclusive, participative, and holistic approach to education that takes into account field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback, and best practises lessons.

  • It’s a gradual transition toward a more scientific educational method. The stipulated structure will aid in catering to the child’s abilities – phases of cognitive development, social and physical awareness, and so on. If implemented in its entirety, the new structure has the potential to bring India up to pace with the world’s leading nations.

Thanks for Reading.😁

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