National Education Policy 2020
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), which was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on 29 July 2020, outlines the vision of India's new education system. The new policy replaces the previous National Policy on Education, 1986.[a] The policy is a comprehensive framework for elementary education to higher education as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India. The policy aims to transform India's education system by 2021.
Shortly after the release of the policy, the government clarified that no one will be forced to study any particular language and that the medium of instruction will not be shifted from English to any regional language. The language policy in NEP is a broad guideline and advisory in nature; and it is up to the states, institutions, and schools to decide on the implementation. Education in India is a Concurrent List subject.
Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to implement New Education Policy 2020. The national educational policy should be implemented in all schools over India by 2022.
The NEP 2020 replaces the National Policy on Education of 1986.[a] In January 2015, a committee under former Cabinet Secretary T. S. R. Subramanian started the consultation process for the New Education Policy. Based on the committee report, in June 2017, the draft NEP was submitted in 2019 by a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan. The Draft New Education Policy (DNEP) 2019, was later released by Ministry of Human Resource Development, followed by a number of public consultations. T74 Draft NEP was 484 pages. The Ministry undertook a rigorous consultation process in formulating the draft policy: "Over two lakh suggestions from 2.5 lakh gram panchayats, 6,600 blocks, 6,000 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), 676 districts were received."
The vision of the National Education Policy is:
National Education Policy 2020 envisions an India-centric education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing high-quality education to all.
The NEP 2020 enacts numerous changes in India's education policy. It aims to increase state expenditure on education from around 3% to 6% of the GDP as soon as possible.
The changes and objectives are:
The policy raises the importance of mother tongue and regional languages; medium of instruction until class 5 and preferably beyond should be in these languages. Sanskrit and foreign languages will also be given emphasis. The policy also states that no language will be imposed on the students.
Shortly after the release of the policy, the government clarified that the language policy in NEP is a broad guideline; and that it was up to the states, institutions and schools to decide the implementation. A more detailed language strategy would be released in the National Curriculum Framework in 2021. Note was also made that there were already institutions which had implemented this language policy 60 years ago such as Sardar Patel Vidyalaya. Both the Education Policy of 1986 and the Right to Education Act, 2009 promoted usage of the mother tongue too as an advisory guideline.
- The "10 + 2" structure will be replaced with "5+3+3+4" model. This will be implemented as follows:
- Foundational Stage: This is further subdivided into two parts: 3 years of preschool or anganwadi, followed by classes 1 and 2 in primary school. This will cover children of ages 3-8 years. The focus of studies will be in activity-based learning.
- Preparatory Stage: Classes 3 to 5, which will cover the ages of 8-11 years. It will gradually introduce subjects like speaking, reading, writing, physical education, languages, art, science and mathematics.
- Middle Stage: Classes 6 to 8, covering children between ages 11 and 14. It will introduce students to the more abstract concepts in subjects of mathematics, sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.
- Secondary Stage: Classes 9 to 12, covering the ages of 14-19 years. It is again subdivided into two parts: classes 9 and 10 covering the first phase while classes 11 and 12 covering the second phase. These 4 years of study are intended to inculcate multidisciplinary study, coupled with depth and critical thinking. Multiple options of subjects will be provided.
- Instead of exams being held every academic year, school students will only attend three exams, in classes 2, 5 and 8.
- Board exams will be continued to be held for classes 10 and 12 but will be re-designed. Standards for this will be established by an assessment body, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development)
- . To make them easier, these exams would be conducted twice a year, with students being offered up to two attempts. The exam itself would have two parts, namely the objective and the descriptive.
- This policy aims at reducing the curriculum load of students and allowing them to be more "inter-disciplinary" and "multi-lingual". One example given was "If a student wants to pursue fashion studies with physics, or if one wants to learn bakery with chemistry, they'll be allowed to do so." Report cards will be "holistic", offering information about the student's skills.
- The Midday Meal Scheme will be extended to include breakfasts. More focus will be given to students' health, particularly mental health, through the deployment of counsellors and social workers.
- It proposes a 4-year multi-disciplinary bachelor's degree in an undergraduate programme with multiple exit options. These will include professional and vocational areas and will be implemented as follows:
- A certificate after completing 1 year of study
- A diploma after completing 2 years of study
- A Bachelor's degree after completion of a 3-year programme
- A 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor's degree (the preferred option)
- MPhil (Masters of Philosophy) courses are to be discontinued to align degree education with how it is in Western models.
- A Higher Education Council of India (HECI) will be set up to regulate higher education. The council's goal will be to increase gross enrollment ratio. The HECI will have 4 verticals:
- National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC), to regulate higher education, including teacher education, while excluding medical and legal education.
- National Accreditation Council (NAC), a "meta-accrediting body".
- Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC), for funding and financing of universities and colleges. This will replace the existing National Council for Teacher Education, All India Council for Technical Education and the University Grants Commission.
- General Education Council (GEC), to frame "graduate attributes", namely the learning outcomes expected. It will also be responsible in framing a National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF). The National Council for Teacher Education will come under the GEC, as a professional standard setting body (PSSB).
- Other PSSBs will include professional councils such as Veterinary Council of India, Council of Architecture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and National Council for Vocational Education and Training.
- The National Testing Agency will now be given the additional responsibility of conducting entrance examinations for admissions to universities across the country, in addition to the JEE Main and NEET.
- The policy proposes that higher education institutes like the IITs make changes with regard to the diversity of learning.
- The policy proposes to internationalize education in India. Foreign universities can now set up campuses in India.
- The fees of both private and public universities will be fixed.
The NEP 2020 puts forward many policy changes when it comes to teachers and teacher education. To become a teacher, a 4-year Bachelor of Education will be the minimum requirement needed by 2030. The teacher recruitment process will also be strengthened and made transparent. The National Council for Teacher Education will frame a National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education by 2021 and a National Professional Standards for Teachers by 2022. The policy aims to:
ensure that all students at all levels of school education are taught by passionate, motivated, highly qualified, professionally trained, and well equipped teachers.
Under NEP 2020, numerous new educational institutes, bodies and concepts have been given legislative permission to be formed. These include:
- National Education Commission, headed by the Prime Minister of India
- Academic Bank of Credit, a digital storage of credits earned to help resume education by utilising credits for further education
- National Research Foundation, to improve research and innovation
- Special Education Zones, to focus on the education of underrepresented group in disadvantaged regions
- Gender Inclusion Fund, for assisting the nation in the education of female and transgender children
- National Educational Technology Forum, a platform to facilitate exchange of ideas on technology usage to improve learning
The policy proposes new language institutions such as the Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation and the National Institute/ Institutes for Pali, Persian and Prakrit. Other bodies proposed include the National Mission for Mentoring, National Book Promotion Policy, National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, chairperson of the National Education Policy (NEP) drafting panel, commented "No language is being imposed. Multi-lingual flexibility is still the basis for the new NEP 2020". The UGC has asked that awareness about the policy should be spread among students and teachers. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, stated that the policy focuses on 'how to think' rather than 'what to think'.
DP Sharma, Indian International Professor and Member, International Research Advisory Commission appreciated the current initiative of end to end transformation of Indian education system but expressed his concerns about the implementation with care and honesty. Prior to this policy draft, Sharma advised the inclusion of critical thinking from the school level to higher education level and advised to align with the modernized, localized, and globalized technology-enabled transformations in the educational systems of developing countries like India. He advised involving professionals from different disciplines, like industry, research, and sometimes social or spiritual disciplines who can help in the educational transformation process during the implementation phase. Sharma introduced a four-dimensional model for alleviating the current challenges faced by educational institutions and industries of India. The model he suggested states that the industries can be involved in the admission process, to evaluate the students’ knowledge, interest, hobby, and aptitude ‘then and there’ to sponsor for vocational education with prospective scholarships. He clearly stated that " India needs to think, analyze, diagnose, synthesize, and design the educational delivery frameworks, as per the industry trends, patterns, and needs". DP Sharma advocated the technology-enabled education delivery system frameworks as an alternative to make the education transformation a mega-success. He said that project-oriented research and research-oriented project should be included in education system for futuristic innovations. DP Sharma, connected the self dependent India mission with education transformation.
The IIT Kanpur Director, Abhay Karandikar, supported the new policy, while the IIT Delhi director, V. Ramgopal Rao, compared the new education policy with the Morrill Land-Grant Acts of United States and called it a "Morril Moment" for India. The chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), M. Jagadesh Kumar, as well as the vice-chancellor of JNU called the policy a "positive step forward" while Najma Akhtar, the vice-chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia, called the policy "ground-breaking". Former Delhi University vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh, said "the policy lays down the road map pretty nicely". Venkaiah Naidu, the Vice President of India, welcomed the policy's flexibility and appreciated its "loftier" goal of bringing out-of-school children into the school system and reducing dropouts.
Lok Sabha MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor welcomed the decision but stated his concerns about the implementation of the new policy. A report by the Observer Research Foundation stated the same.
Dhiraj Kumar Nite from Ambedkar University Delhi stated that the removal of the MPhil course was not in harmony with the principles of the NEP, since multiple exit points were offered at the undergraduate level but those interested in a Ph.D. would have no quick exit point, which the MPhil provided. The JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) and Delhi University Teachers' Association criticized the government for approving the policy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in India, stating that they had opposed the policy since its draft stage. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury alleged that suggestions made by academicians were not taken into account, while the politburo of the party condemned the commercialization encouraged by the policy. Kumkum Roy of the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, stated that the subjects on the studies of Gender Studies, Media, Environment and Development, Culture, Dalit, Discrimination and Exclusion, and Media have not been mentioned for development. In the study of the Constitution, Fundamental Rights have been left out. President of the DMK, M. K. Stalin, stated that the policy was passed without a discussion in the Parliament and would undermine the Tamil language, due to its "compulsory" option of Sanskrit at every level of education.
Aishe Ghosh of the JNUSU tweeted that internships under the policy would lead to child labour which received sharp criticism on the platform, using the hashtag #RejectNEP2020. The hashtag #RejectNEP trended on Twitter on 30 July 2020.
The Draft NEP of 2019 was criticized for multiple reasons. A social media campaign protested over the inclusion of Hindi in schools in the south Indian states. The Students' Federation of India stated that it threatened the federal character of the educational structure, commercialised education and undermined independent research activity. Madhu Prasad of Frontline pointed out how the draft's "merit-based" college admissions criteria did not take into account reservations and the caste-based discrimination and oppression faced by many in the country.
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While the last policy was announced in 1992, it was essentially a rehash of a 1986 one.
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