National Education Policy

The national education policy of India was approved by the union cabinet and was released on July 29, 2020 after a period of 34 long years. The previous education policy was made in the year 1986 and the new policy brings about the first major change in the field of education in the 21st century. It is meant to provide a strong and extensive framework for school as well as higher education throughout the nation. This is meant to elevate the education standards while keeping up with the modern changes.

The key proposals of NEP:

1. Changes done at the school level:

• The previous 10+2 curricular structure is to be replaced with the new 5+3+3+4 structure, wherein school examinations are to be conducted after foundation stage (ages 3-8) at grade 3, preparatory stage (ages 8-11) at grade 5, middle stage (ages 11-14) at grade 8 and after 4 years of secondary schooling.

• The policy proposes to achieve Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)from the age of 3.

• ECCE also emphasizes the importance of growth years from the age of 3 to 5 through pre-schools and the ages of 5 to 6 through integration via school years.

• Another language which is to be included in the three-language concept is Sanskrit, which would be available to students throughout their school and higher education. Mother tongue will be a medium of instruction till 5th grade and preferred mode of instruction till 8th grade. Regional or local languages as well as foreign languages will be incorporated so as to give a wide scale of options to the students.

• A common board is to be established across the nation which will set up norms and framework of all recognised board in India.

• Students would learn coding from grade 6 and use of technology would be facilitated. Vocational

• Education is to be incorporated in primary grades. Students would have ten bagless days in a year, where they have to take up a vocation of their choice as a form of informal internship. It is aimed that by 2025 at least 50% of students would have exposure to vocational education

• The concept of Multi stream is to be introduced wherein the students would be given the flexibility to choose the subjects in their streams and all the chosen subjects are to offer at least proficiency of two levels. No rigid separation between arts and sciences, curricular and extra-curricular, academic and vocational subjects. Choice and flexibility will be given to students to choose according to their talents and skills. In the old system, students had to select a stream and study that solely. They couldn’t have a dual degree

• Students would be given a full personality holistic report card which not just consists of the marks of students but also their overall skill improvement and other main points.

• School curriculum will be reduced to core concepts.

• Instead of holding eight exams, the new model allows to hold only three exams for 3rd, 5th, 8th graders, thereby decreasing the number of exams.

2. Higher Education:

• Higher education institutions are to have support centres for the benefit of the students and adequate funds would be allotted for the same. To ensure the wellbeing of the students, they will have the option to avail career and emotional counselling on the campus.

• The national testing agency (NTA) will conduct SAT like common college entrance exams twice a year
• The fees from private and public universities will be fixed.
• The bachelor’s degree after high school is preferred to be a four-year course where midterm dropouts are to be given credit along with taking a break and completing the course in the forthcoming years.

• Top rated universities in the world are going to be encouraged to set up in India and top Indian universities are going to be encouraged to go global.

• In 15 years, college affiliation will be phased out and autonomy to college will be granted in a stage wise manner.

• A Higher Education Council OF India (HECI) would be set up to look after higher education. Their main focus will be to increase the enrolment ratio. This council will comprise of: -
1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC): - To Regulate higher education including teacher’s education. This body will not be in charge of regulating medical and legal education.
2. National Accreditation Council (NAC).
3. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC): - This body will be set up to finance universities and colleges.
4. General Education Council (GEC).

3. Teacher’s Education

• Teachers will be recruited only if they have a minimum qualification degree of for years integrated B.Ed. The recruitment will be done only on the basis of TET and NTA test.

• The process of recruitment will follow a transparent exercise and will be strengthened further.

4. Other Features

• Right to education is proposed to be extended to the age of 18 and schooling will be universally accessible to all students from preschool to grade 12.
• The Ministry of Human Resource and Development (HRD) will be renamed as Ministry of Education.

• Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to the SC/ST/OBC/SEDG categories. A National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.

• The ministry also wishes to set up an academic credit bank to store the credits digitally earned during the course so that can be transferred and can be counted toward the final degree.

• An entire unit will be made to meets the digital need and requirements of schooling. Digital infrastructure along with digital content would be created to look into the arena of online education. In order to cover the need for an alternative platform of learning arising from epidemics and/or pandemics to continue the process of learning, online teaching will be made recommended vie various means like websites, videos, applications etc.

• Inclusion of sign language in colleges, schools and universities is also considered so as to provide better understanding to students.

• Bal Bhavans (special day time boarding school) will be established in every state or district. These bhavans will be for participating in art-related, career-related and play-related activities.

The policy aims to bring about a complete reform in the Indian education scenario by 2040. But it is important to keep in mind that it still is a policy and not a law and the execution of the same would take time and depends on the directive of both states and centre.

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