For decades we have questioned our system for not bringing our education system at par with other countries. For years we have been wondering why our generation is running a rat race for marks? Why the good brainer from our country travel abroad to achieve heights in their career. What is that we have been lacking so far?
Well, National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 tried to addresses all these issues systematically. This year has already been known for unprecedented and unforeseen events. The union cabinet has approved a new Education policy after 34 years gap, the first in 21st century. The policy aims at building a strong foundation of lifelong learning for every child, be it an infant or an undergraduate.
Pillars of National Education Policy:
- New Equation:
NEP devised a new school curricular structure by giving up an old 10+2 breakup. Earlier Class 1-10 was part of general education followed by two years of higher education. But now there is a whole new math equation 5+3+3+4 = 15 years of school education bringing children from age 3 to 5 years within the formal education system for the first time.
- No divide policy:
Have you ever imagined studying Physics with Sanskrit and Maths with Political Science? NEP gives this flexibility to students to choose any subject, streams of their own choice. No division or segregation between arts and science, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic courses. The policy focuses more on vocational courses and creative learning.
- Mother Tongue as a medium of instruction:
Not just English, now students would be taught in their mother tongue as well. NEP made recommendations on using mother tongue as medium of instruction till Grade 5 or preferably till Grade 8 but not making it compulsory.
- Holistic Assessment of students:
Marks based assessment would be a thing of past now. It might not sound good to parents because no longer they would be able to bring Mr. Sharma’s son who always get more marks than their own child. Assessment reforms with 360-degree holistic progress card, tracking student progress based on creative thinking and active learning outcomes.
- Emphasis on Technology: Need of the hour
Coding as a language in school would unleash the potential of students at an early age. It has been noted that 85% of children of this age are quick learners and adapt fast to new situations. Bringing technology in Education would shape a different future for India.
- New umbrella regulator for higher education except medical and legal education:
Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would act as governing body for both public and private education and would set up the norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
- Addressing the issue of dropouts:
NEP tried to make undergraduate education more flexible with three to four years of education and multiple entries and exit options with appropriate certification within this period. If they pursue four years along with research then they will be eligible for a PhD program. The students could move in and move out of the college as per their whims. M.Phil would be discontinued as per the policy.
- Academic Bank of Credit:
The policy created a bank for keeping up the track of the courses completed by the candidate. Every time you complete a course from recognized institute the credit would be added to your Academic bank credit account. When implemented this will help students gather credits from not just one but several sources like online courses or distance learning programs.
- National Research Foundation
An apex body to be set up to foster a strong culture of research across higher education.
- National Curriculum Framework for teacher Education, NCFTE 2021
From 2030 onwards the minimum qualification for teaching would be four years integrated B.Ed Programme.
What NEP holds in its kitty for students?
The main focus would be on what students want to learn instead of what is imposed onto them by the earlier designed curriculum structure. As the Prime Minister said the focus is more on “Job creators” instead of “Job seekers”. There won’t be any judgment or biasedness towards students based on the subject they choose. It has been observed that many successful entrepreneurs hold a pile of degrees in various fields and in the end, they chose a career different from what they have studied in the past. This happens mostly because they could not pursue their interest at an early age. But this policy allows students to chart their career on the right path from the very beginning.
Transforming from summative to formative assessment to match up with the global standard is also included in the policy. NEP writes about vocational courses from grade 6 with internships. To remind the society that education is not just limited to desks and boards. Sports, technology and analytical abilities are also equally important. This would also help in curbing social hesitation towards vocational streams. This policy mandates each student to be an expert in at least one skill. Imagine the amount of impact it could create if all of these skills are combined together. It would lead India onto its path of becoming a knowledge superpower. The most striking feature of NEP is that it considers students not just any resource but human beings to be developed to become creative and joyful beings.
They say “great plan requires great implementation”. Most of the pillars of NEP 2020 demands legal and administrative changes. NEP proposed that 6% of India’s GDP would be sufficient for the implementation of the policy. But this has been in the proposal for the past 55 years and has not been implemented yet. The proposed changes require a sufficient amount of funding by the government. On paper, this policy looks very lucrative and if implemented then it could bring India on the same platform as that of other developed countries. The fallout of the current education system is that it is neither job-oriented nor Entrepreneurial in nature. Thus it became very essential to make radical changes in the education system to fulfill the aspirations of the younger generation.