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New National Education Policy 2020 (NEP): Changes Made in School, Higher Education

HRD Ministry New Education Policy 2020: The NEP has been approved by the Cabinet and there are several changes made to the Indian Education System.

Earlier, in the afternoon the Union cabinet approved the policy that aims to overhaul the country’s education system. Union Ministers for Information and Broadcasting (I&B)Prakash Javadekar and Human Resource Development (HRD) and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, will make the announcement shortly on the NEP- 2020. 

Earlier on May 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the NEP- 2020, whose draft was prepared by a panel of experts led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan. The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. The new academic session will begin in September-October – the delay is due to the unprecedented coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak – and the government aims to introduce the policy before the new session kicks in.

From School Education to Higher Education, the NEP envisions to provide a new structure to the education sector of the country. The key points from the policy have been shared by the Secretary of Higher Education and Secretary of School Education. 

New National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) for School Education

  1. Existing 10+2 Structure to be modified to 5+3+3+4 structure where the first three years would be formative playschool years of nurser and Kindergarten. The structure would cover ages of 3 to 18 years of age.
  2. Foundational State of 3 and 2 years would include playschool and Grades 1 and 2, Preparatory Stages of Grade 3 to 5, Middle School of Grades 6 to 8, and Secondary Stage of Grades 9 to 12. 
  3. Emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education or ECCE for ages 3 to 6 where provisions would be made to ensure universal access to high qualify ECCE across the country in phased manner. 
  4. 4 years for higher secondary gets lift up – Arts, Commerce, Science removed – Students to choose what they want to choose. Coding to begin from Class 6. Music, Arts, Sports, would be at the same level. Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills 
  5. Early childhood care and education to get a complete National mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy to be set up to focus on foundational literacy. 
  6. Indian Knowledge Systems, Languages, Culture and Values to be given focus. Furthermore, Technology would be used extensively. E-Content in Regional Languages would be developed and not only in Hindi and Englis. School sto be digitally equipped. National Educational Technology Forum, NETF would be formed. 
  7. All State/UT governments will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all learners by grade 3 to be achieved by 2025.
  8. NIOS and State Open Schools will also offer A, B and C levels that are equivalent to Grades 3, 5, and 8 of the formal school system; secondary education programs that are equivalent to Grades 10 and 12; vocational education courses/programs; and adult literacy and life-enrichment programs.
  9. Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials – key concepts, ideas, applications and problem solving. Emphasis on critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning
  10. The three-language learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.

New National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) for Higher Education 

  1. Regulatory Sytem of Higher Education to be distinct for regulation, accredition, funding and academic standard setting – all under the umbrella of Higher Education Commission of India or HECI.
  2. 4 Verticals of HECI to be National Higher Education Regulatory Council or HNERC, National Accreditation Council (NAC), Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and General Education Council (GEC) which would further form a National Higher Education Qualification Framework. 
  3. UGC, AICTE to be replaced by a single Higher Education Regulator – HECI. 
  4. Universities to be named not on the basis of ownership but on quality of education. 
  5. The impetus to multidisciplinary education. Even IITs to move towards a more holistic curriculum with arts and humanities. 
  6. The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications, e.g., a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option.  
  7. Students pursuing 4 year degree programme would have an option of getting a degree with Research if the research process is completed in the are of study as specified. 
  8. National Research Foundation would be set up with a goal to enavle ‘a culture of research’. NRF would be governed independently by rotating board of governors. Primary task or NRF would be to fund competitive, peer reviewed grant proposals of all types and across all disciplines and also act as a liasion between researchers and relevant branches of government so as to allow breakthroughs. 

Major reforms suggested in the higher education to give more flexibility to the students. Students can choose any set of subjects for higher education, take sabbatical and other options. 

NEP Draft was presented in 2019 where it quickly received both appreciation as well as strong criticism. The suggestion of making Hindi one of the compulsory languages was soon shot down by many. The draft was then put in public domain and suggestions invited from the people and all stakeholders regarding the policy. MHRD had received lakhs of suggestions and the NEP draft was accordingly modified. 

Other Important NEP 2020 Highlights

Dedicated unit for digital and online learning.

A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content, and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education. 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 and in-person modes of education are not possible has been covered.

National Scholarship portal for SC, ST, OBC, SEDGs students to be expanded

Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.

Minimum qualification for teaching – 4 years integrated B.Ed degree

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 . Stringent action will be taken against substandard stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).

HECI- Common regulatory body for entire higher education

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 to 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.

Various new provisions for children with disabilities

Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the foundational stage to higher education, with support of educators with cross-disability training, resource centres, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools and other support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs. 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

Education sector to get 6% of GDP, earlier it was 1.7%

Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy tweeted:

I welcome the new Education Policy of the Modi government. I had a discussion with the MoHD earlier which I had tweeted. My suggestion was the Education must get 6% of GDP not the present 1.7%. This has been accepted in the new Policy. My congrats

— Subramanian Swamy 

Bagless days encouraged

Bagless days will be encouraged throughout the year for various types of enrichment activities involving arts, quizzes, sports, and vocational crafts.

Three languages learned by children will the choice of state, regions, and students

The three-language learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.

Medium of instruction will be the local/ regional language

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.

Indian Sign Language to be standardized across the country

Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment

No hard separation of streams for students

Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills

There will be no hard separation among ‘curricular’, ‘extracurricular’, or ‘co-curricular’, among ‘arts’, ‘humanities’, and ‘sciences’, or between ‘vocational’ or ‘academic’ streams.

Subjects such as physical education, arts and crafts, and vocational skills, in addition to science, humanities, and mathematics, will be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.

Each of the four stages of school education may consider moving towards a semester or any other system that allows the inclusion of shorter modules

Experiential learning in all stages

Experiential learning will include hands-on learning, arts-integrated and sports-integrated education, story-telling-based pedagogy, among others, as standard pedagogy. Classroom transactions will shift, towards competency-based learning and education

Content will focus on idea, application, problem- solving parts

The mandated content will focus on key concepts, ideas, applications, and problem-solving. Teaching and learning will be conducted in a more interactive manner

Curriculum content to be reduced

Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, and make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning.

NIOS, open schools to offer courses for grades 3,5 and 8

NIOS and State Open Schools will also offer A, B and C levels that are equivalent to Grades 3, 5, and 8 of the formal school system; secondary education programs that are equivalent to Grades 10 and 12; vocational education courses/programs; and adult literacy and life-enrichment programs.

Nutrition and health cards, regular health check-ups for school students

The nutrition and health (including mental health) of children will be addressed, through healthy meals and regular health check-ups, and health cards will be issued to monitor the same.

National Mission on Foundation Literacy and Numeracy to be set up by MHRD

A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will be set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on priority.

Early childhood care and education curriculum (ECCEC) to be carried out by MHRD, WCD, HFW, tribal affairs

The planning and implementation of early childhood care and education curriculum (ECCEC) will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.

Preparatory class Balavatika for children below the age of 5

Prior to the age of 5, every child will move to a “Preparatory Class” or “Balavatika” (that is, before Class 1), which has an ECCE-qualified teacher.

Tech-based option for adult learning through apps, TV channels, etc

Quality technology-based options for adult learning such as apps, online courses/modules, satellite-based TV channels, online books, and ICT-equipped libraries and Adult Education Centres, etc. will be developed.

Variable models for board exams – annual, semester, modular exams

Boards may over time also develop further viable models of Board Exams, such as – annual/semester/modular Board Exams; offering all subjects beginning with mathematics, at two levels; two parts exams or objective type and descriptive type.

NTA to offer common entrance exam

The National Testing Agency (NTA) will offer a high-quality common aptitude test, as well as specialized common subject exams in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year for university entrance exams.

360-degree holistic report card for students

Students will get a 360-degree holistic report card, which will not only inform about the marks obtained by them in subjects but also their skills and other important points.

Importance of board exam to be reduced, exam can be conducted twice a year

In order to reduce the importance and stress of the board exam, the exam will be conducted in two parts: Objective and descriptive. The exam can be conducted twice a year. Board exam should promote knowledge application rather than rote learning, she added.

Coding to be taught from class 6 onwards

Students of class 6 and onwards will be taught coding in schools as a part of 21st-century skills, the school education secretary said.

National Curricular and pedagogical framework to be developed by NCERT

A National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8 will be developed by NCERT, Anita karwal, the school education secretary said.

Financial Autonomy to be given to 45K affiliated colleges

There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative & Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation: Amit Khare Higher Education Secretary

E-content in regional language

There will e-content in a regional language apart from English and Hindi, said Khare. E-courses to be in eight major languages not just English and Hindi

New Pedagogical and curricular structure

The extant 10+2 structure in school education will be modified with a new pedagogical and curricular restructuring of 5+3+3+4 covering ages 3-18. Currently, children in the age group of 3-6 are not covered in the 10+2 structure as Class 1 begins at age 6. In the new 5+3+3+4 structure, a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from age 3 is also included.

Multiple entries and exit programme

We aim at 50% gross enrolment ratio by 2035. There will be multiple entries and exit options for those who wish to leave the course in the middle. Their credits will be transferred through Academic Bank of Credits, said Amit Khare, secretary of the education ministry.

PM approves to new policy for 21st century after 34 years: Javadekar

The cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval to the new education policy for the 21st century. It is important, as for 34 years there were no changes in the education policy: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

Education Policy modified after over 30 years

After over 30 years this change has been brought, says Javadekar. The education policy was released in the year 1986.

Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) proposed

New Education Policy proposes the setting up of an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) while also laying significant emphasis on Sanskrit and other Indian languages.

National Research Foundation (NRF) to be established

A National Research Foundation (NRF) will be established. The overarching goal of the NRF will be to enable a culture of research to permeate through universities. The NRF will be governed, independently of the government, by a rotating Board of Governors consisting of the very best researchers and innovators across fields.

National Committee for integration of vocation Education – Lok Vidya

Lok Vidya’, i.e., important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students. The education ministry, would constitute a National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE)

Best universities to set up campuses in other countries

High performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries. Selected universities like those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.

HRD Ministry to be renamed as the education ministry

“The policy draft has been approved. The Ministry has been renamed as Education Ministry,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.

International Students Office at each institution hosting foreign students

New Education Policy 2020 aims at promoting India as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs. An International Students Office at each institution hosting foreign students will be set up.

New Education Policy 2020: Academic Bank to store credits

An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned

Undergraduate degree courses to have multiple exit options

The undergraduate degree courses will be of either 3 or 4- year duration, with multiple exit options. A certificate course after completing 1 year in a discipline or field, including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option.

IITs to become a multidisciplinary institution, opening doors for humanities students

Even engineering institutions, such as IITs, will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education with more arts and humanities. Students of arts and humanities will aim to learn more science.

One large multidisciplinary institution in or near every district by 2030

NEP aims at setting up at least one large multidisciplinary institution in or near every district by the year 2030.

All higher education institutions to become multidisciplinary institutions

By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students

New academic session to begin in September- October

The new academic session will begin in September-October – the delay is due to the unprecedented coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak – and the government aims to introduce the policy before the new session begins.

Botton Line: New Education Policy will bring a slew of major changes including allowing top foreign universities to set up campuses to India, a greater proportion of students getting vocational education and a move towards institutes including IITs turning multi-disciplinary

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