The Government of India paved the way for a huge transformation in the field of education by making many interesting and much-needed changes in the current education system. A New Education Policy ( hereinafter referred to as NEP) was approved by the union ministry on Wednesday, 29th July 2020 and it is now being seen as a major step towards preparing young minds in a modernized, interesting and more productive way.
The new academic policies were expected to be followed from September-October but the delay is seen due to the unprecedented situation that has been caused due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak. The government aims to introduce the policy before the beginning of the new session.
NEP 2020 is the first new education policy to be implemented in India after 34 years. The very first education policy was passed in 1968. Then came the National Policy of India in 1986 which was modified in 1992. Now the New Education Policy is another huge milestone in the path of development of budding minds.
Some major checkpoints of the new amendment are as follows:
Vocational studies given priority
The revised policy focuses more on the vocational, critical thinking and analysis based learning for the students. Curriculum and textbook learning is reduced to its core essential level. Students will have several options for subjects to choose from according to their interests. It is expected that if the NEP is implemented properly, by 2025, nearly 50% of the students will be exposed to vocational education. For students of grade 6-8, some of the vocational crafts that are decided by the States and local communities are carpentry, electric work, metalwork, gardening, pottery making, etc. It is also proposed for children of these grades to intern with local gardeners, potters, artists to get good professional guidance on their interests from the very beginning.
New Curricular structure
Mandatory schooling age has been increased from 6-14 years to 3-18 years of age. Children of the age group 3-6 years will undergo 3 years of pre-schooling/ Anganwadi creating a strong base of the early education of students. Early childhood care and education (ECCE) has been taken as a priority in this policy and thus the previous 10+2 educational curriculum is replaced with 5+3+3+4 curricular structure with the age group division of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
Emphasis on e-learning of students
Keeping the current pandemic situation in mind, which has paved the way for e-education and digital learning despite some hiccups which is highly emphasized in the NEP 2020. This step was taken to ensure preparedness for any other unforeseen circumstances that may occur in the future so the learning process of students of any age group may not be hindered and also alternative methods of quality education could be maintained all the time even when the traditional and in-person modes are not possible.
To cater to the requirements of the technology-based modern era, children will be taught coding at an early stage, most probably from grade 6.
Single regulatory body for higher education
The governing bodies for managing the higher education system will also be modified and will be assembled to form a single committee for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) now will have four independent verticals - National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard-setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation.
Stream separation removed
Rigid separations between Science, Commerce and Arts streams will be blurred. Students will be able to select subjects of their interests across the streams.
Mother tongue to be used as a way of teaching
Use of mother tongue/regional language/local language to be followed in both public and private schools wherever necessary till grade 5. Also, a three-language formula is to be followed by all educational institutes. It means that students will learn three languages, based on the states, regions and the choice of the students themselves, as long as at least two of the three languages are native to India. The main aim behind this provision was to not impose any language on students and make the concepts easily understandable for the children.
Modification in the undergraduate degree courses
Another major checkpoint of this new policy is that it suggests a bachelor’s degree in an undergraduate program with multiple exit options. That means no one will be termed as a drop out even if they decide to change or even leave a particular degree before the specified period of its completion. A certificate will be given to the student after 1 year of education. A diploma after 2 years and a bachelor’s degree after 3 years of complete study.
Introduction of NCC in schools
NCC will be encouraged and opened in many secondary and higher secondary schools especially the tribal-dominated areas.
Revised idea of scholarship for students
Also, the National scholarship portal will be expanded and foster, track and support the progress of students that are awarded scholarships. The system is expected to become more transparent and help the ones that are more in need of this facility like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, and other Socio-economically disadvantaged groups. For this purpose private, Higher Education Institutions will be encouraged under NEP 2020
This policy not only brought a set of new rules and regulations for the students but also for the teachers. The teacher recruitment process is made more transparent under NEP 2020. Also, by 2030, four years of bachelor’s education will be the minimum requirement for becoming a teacher.
New provisions for children with disabilities
Children with disabilities would be allowed and encouraged to fully participate in the general schooling process from foundational stage to higher education. Appropriate technology-based tools, disability training, resource centres, accommodations, assistive devices and other support mechanisms will be introduced to suit their needs. Also, Indian sign language will be standardized across the country.
Introduction of health care for every student
This will take place to monitor and keep a regular check on their nutrition and health (both mental and physical).
There are such a lot of interesting and improved implementations presented by the NEP 2020 that are expected to be followed and help in the development of young minds by providing them with proper knowledge of the textbooks and nurturing their creative ideas for their growth.