New Education Policy 2020 - Daily Current Affair Article for UPSC, IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations

Why in NEWS?

  • Union cabinet recently approved the new National Education Policy(NEP) 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors.

Evolution

  • ‘Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy’ under the Chairmanship of Shri T.S.R. Subramanian, Former Cabinet Secretary, submitted its report in May 2016, based on which Ministry prepared ‘Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016’.
  • ‘Committee for the Draft National Education Policy’ was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan in June 2017, which submitted the Draft National Education Policy, 2019.
  • This draft was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.
  • NEP 2020 has been formulated after the process of consultation that involved nearly over 2 lakh suggestions from 2.5 lakhs Gram Panchayats, 6600 Blocks, 6000 ULBs, 676 Districts.

Objectives and Proposed changes

a. In School Education

  • Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education.
  • It emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- preschool to secondary.
  • About 20 million out of school children will be brought back into mainstream. For achieving this following are some of the proposed ways-
  • Infrastructure support
  • Innovative education centers to bring back dropouts into the mainstream
  • Tracking of students and their learning levels
  • Facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes
  • An association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools
  • Open learning for class 3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools
  • Secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses
  • Adult literacy and life-enrichment programs

New Curricular

  • The 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure.
  • This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for the development of mental faculties of a child.
  • The new system will also have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre-schooling.
  • NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8.
  • The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.
  • The policy calls for the setting up of a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
  • States will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all learners by grade 3 by 2025.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy is to be formulated.
  • Reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking
  • Greater focus on experiential learning.
  • Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects.
  • There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extracurricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.
  • Vocational education will also start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships.
  • A new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be developed by the NCERT.
  • All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
  • Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the aim.
  • A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be set up as a standard- setting body.

Equitable and Inclusive Education

  • Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities.
  • The policy also includes setting up of a Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
  • Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process.
  • Every state/district will be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans” as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play- related activities.
  • Free school infrastructure can be used as Samajik Chetna Kendras.

b. Higher Education

  • NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.
  • The policy envisages holistic under- graduate education with flexible curriculum, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education, and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of the 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.

Regulator Umbrella

  • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
  • HECI will have four independent regulators-
  1. National Higher education regulatory council (NHERC) for regulation,
  2. General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting,
  3. Higher education Grants council for funding and
  4. National Accreditation Council for accreditation.
  • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
  • The definition of University will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive universities to Teaching intensive Universities and Autonomous degree granting colleges.

Teacher’s Education Qualification

  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education,NCFTE, 2021 will be formed by NCERT.
  • Also, by 2030 the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4- year integrated B.Ed degree.
  • Open and distance learning will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing gross enrollment ratio.
  • Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services etc will be taken.
  • A comprehensive set of recommendations for promoting online education consequent to the pandemic in order to ensure preparedness has been covered.
  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for free exchange of ideas on the use of technology.
  • The central government and state governments will work together to increase the public investment in the education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest

Significance of the NEP

  • This is the first education policy of the 21st century replacing the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
  • The policy is based on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability.
  • It is also aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The policy aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.

a. Language controversy

  • Language caused the most outrage at that time, because the original draft had called for mandatory teaching of Hindi to all school students.
  • Sanskrit will be offered as an option at all levels of school and higher education.
  • Other classical languages will also be available, possibly as online modules, while foreign languages will be offered at the secondary level.
  • Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/ mother-tongue/ local language/ regional language.

b. Flexibility

  • The final policy document makes it clear that no language will be imposed on any State.
  • The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of also the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.
  • According to the new policy, this will be followed by both public and private schools.
  • Students will begin classes on coding as well as vocational activities from Class 6 onwards.
  • Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge, will also be incorporated into the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner.

Challenges

  • Since education is a concurrent subject most states have their own school boards. Therefore, state governments would have to be brought on board for actual implementation of this decision.
Mains Question:-
  • Q1. Discuss how language could be seen as one of the possible loopholes in National Education Policy 2020.
  • Q2. Discuss how National Education Policy 2020 has given more flexibility to the education system of India.