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Core Structure of National Education Policy 2020

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By : Mohammed Irfan Gufran
The new NEP, 2020 had announced on wednesday, 29 July 2020 by GOI. Exactly, it had introduced by Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Minister of HRD. Before that, PM Narendra Modi had reviewed the NEP 2020 on May 1. The draft was prepared by an expert panel led by former ISRO Chief K Kasturirangan. The NEP 2020 aims to make INDIA a global knoowledge superpower. It was a long awaited decision to reform the National Education Policy which was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. The new education policy is framed to make it suitable to current educational, economical and societal changes.
The first National Education Policy was introduced by Rajiv Gandhi led government in 1986. The policy emphasized the removal of disparities and to equalise educational oppurtunities, especially for Indian women, Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste communities. To improve across the primary school across the country, NPE called for a “child-centered approach” in primary education and launched “Operation Blackboard”. The policy also called for the creation of the “rural university” model to promote economic and social development at rural India.
The 1986 National Education Policy was again modified in 1992 by the government led by P. V. Narsimha Rao. It was formulated by consulting teachers, parents, students, scholars, lawyers, journalists, etc. It also emphasised on women education.
This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the 34 year old National Policy on Education, 1986. The new policy aims for universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio in school education by 2030 and aims to raise Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to 50% by 2025. The National Education Policy 2020 will bring back two crore out-of-school children into the main stream. The 10+2 of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years respectrively.It will include 12 years of schooling and 3 years of Anganwadi and pre-schooling. NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for chiuldren up to the age of 8. NEP 2020 calls for setting up of National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by the Education Ministry. States will prepare 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. 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 continue but redesigned with holistic development as the aim. A new National Assesment Centre, PARAKH- Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development, will be set up as a standard-setting body. National Education Policy 2020 emphasises on setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups. 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. A common National Professional Standards for Teachers will be developed by National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organisations from across levels and regions. States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework through consultations with all stakeholders.
The National Education Policy 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035 and aims to higher education institutions. The policy envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. An academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned. The Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities, at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of 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. The Higher Education Commission of India will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. The public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
The affiliations 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. A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4 year integrated B.Ed. degree. The stringent action will be taken against substandard standalone teacher education Institutions. A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to track the progress of students receiving scholarships. The private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students. The measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc., will be taken to ensure distance learning is at par with the highest quality in-class programs.
A comprehensive set of recommendations for promoting online education consequent to the recent rise in epidemics and pandemics in order to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional modes of education are not possible, has been covered. A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the HRD ministry to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education. An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum, will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration. The NEP recommends setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation, National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, strengthening of Sanskrit and all language departments in HEIs, and use mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI programmes. The internalisation of education will be facilitated through both institutional collaborations, and student and faculty mobility and allowing entry of top world ranked universities to open world ranked universities to open campuses in India. Standalone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become mutidisciplinary institutions. The policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy. The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
In adopting a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3, the policy recognises the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future. Another key aspect of school education in the new policy is the breaking of the strict division of arts, commerce and science streams in high school. This can lay the foundation for a multi-disciplinary approach in high education. Another laudable aspect of the scheme is the introduction of vocational courses with an internship. This may nudge the vulnerable sections of society to send their children to school. Also, it would help in realisation of the goal of Skill India Mission. The NEP proposes the extension of the Right to Education (RTE) to all children up to the age of 18. Further, the policy seeks to leverage the huge potential of online pedagogy and learning methodologies for increasing gross enrolment in higher education.
According to the policy, in spite of periodic inspection, transparency, maintaining quality standards and a favourable public perception will become a 24*7 pursuit for the institutions, leading to all-round improvement in their standard. The policy also seeks to establish a super-regulator for education which will be responsible for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation of higher education India. The document states universities from among the top 100 in the world will be able to set up campuses in India. This will lead to an infusion of international perspective and innovation, which will make the Indian educatiuon system more efficient and competitive. Most crucially, NEP, once and for all, buries the strident Hindi versus English language debate; instead, it emphasises on making mother tongue, local language or the regional language the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, which is considered the best medium of teaching.
There is a persistent mismatch between the knowledge & skills imparted and the jobs available. This has been one of the main challenges that have affected the Indian education system since Independence. The NEP 2020 failed to check this, as it is silent on education related to emerging technological fields like artificial intelligence, cyberspace, nanotech, etc. An ambitious target of public spending at 6% of GDP has been set. Mobilising financial resources will be a big challenge, given the low tax-to-GDP ratio and completing claims on the national exchequer of healthcare, national security and other key sectors.
The reform of NEP was a long awaited decision. It has filled the students, teachers and parents with new hope and encouragement. It is a good policy as it aims at making the education system holistic, flexible, multi-disciplinary, aligned to the needs of the 21st century and the 2030 sustainable development goals. We all hope that it will be implemented as it promised and India wil rise as a knowledge superpower in the coming years. The intent of policy seems to be ideal in many ways but it is the implementation where lies the key to success.
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