Decoding NEP 2020 — Everything you need to know !!
As the world is moving very rapidly, there are rapid changes in knowledge landscape. The technology is advancing to newer heights and the need for new set of skills is rising. It is high time for Indian Educational System to catch this jet. Finally the much needed NEP is here! The NEP 2020 is the first omnibus policy after the one issued in 1986 and it marks the fourth major policy initiative in education since Independence.
With an ambitious goal to create a education system second to none by 2040 , the policy embraces the principle that education must develop not only foundational capacities and “higher order” cognitive capacities but also social, ethical and emotional capacities. NEP does give a bold prescription with over 100 action points in the policy, with a vision to create “equitable and vibrant knowledge society”. Let’s dive and see some of the crucial ones that are going to change the current learning landscape.
School education will be restructured to 5+3+3+4 format across ages 3–18 covering foundational, preparatory, middle and secondary stages. Since 85% of the child’s brain development occurs before 6, a strong Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from age 3 is included in the school education. The policy aims to provision ECCE across the country before 2030. Anganwadis are expected to play a key role in training for ECCE. According to various surveys, it is estimated that over 5 crore elementary children have not attained the basic ability to read and carry out addition/subtraction. To curb this, highest priority is given to achieve 100% foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school (by grade 3) by 2025.
The policy aims to achieve 100% Gross Enrollment ratio in preschool to secondary level by 2030. To achieve this, it envisages to improve infrastructure, provide suitable opportunities to catch up and re-enter school and ensure high quality education.
Open schooling will be strengthened with the help of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) to provide learning opportunities for everyone. This will also give scope to adults who wish to learn from and hone their skills. All the school infrastructure are advised to be used for learning programmes for adult during weekends and post school hours.
The boundaries between curriculum, extra-curricular and vocational courses are mitigated by introduced those as part of school education and allocating grades for them. Students from grade 6 to 8 are expected to take internship in vocational crafts during 10-day bagless period.
India has lost 220 languages in the last 50 years and UNESCO has declared 197 Indian languages as endangered. When the language is lost, all the knowledge, scripts pertaining to the language is also lost. Identifying this ,there will be mandatory project/activity on “languages of India” in Grades 6 to 8 to encourage students to know about the great culture and languages across India. Also, Sanskrit will be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an important optional subject. Teachers are encouraged to teach in local language at least till grade 5, to enhance the understanding and protect the local languages.
Besides the regular subjects, the technical skills like Coding, Data science and the emotional skills like logical framework for making ethical decisions are introduced for the holistic development of the student.
The progress report will be a holistic, 360 degree report on uniqueness on each student in cognitive, affective and psychometric domains. It will include self-assessment and peer assessment. AI-based software is suggested to be developed to help learners track the growth and also provide information on strengths, areas of interest and needed areas of focus.
Board exams will be redesigned and students will be able to choose the subjects for the board exams. They are also allowed to retake the exam once for improvement.
The teachers play a undeniably crucial role in achieving the quality education. Thus, all the teachers now should have 4-year integrated B.Ed Programme or 2 Year B.Ed if completed bachelor’s degree or 1 year B.Ed if completed Undergraduate programme, to enter the teaching profession. The teacher transfers will be reduced to strengthen the schools and encouraging the people to opt for teaching profession. Each teacher is expected to participate in at least 50 hours of CPD (Continuous Professional Development) every year to improve themselves. The salary hikes of the teachers will now be dependent on the performance appraisals, the research they have conducted and other professional parameters.
Outstanding teachers with demonstrated leadership and management skills will be trained to take on academic leadership positions in schools, colleges etc.
The eminent knowledgeable persons or experts can be appointed as ‘Master Instructors’ for various subjects including arts, entrepreneurship, vocational crafts, agriculture or any required subject. A national mission for mentoring will be established with experts, retired or senior faculty to mentor and support the current teachers.
- “Gender-Inclusion Fund” is to be established to facilitate equal learning opportunities to all girls and transgender students.
- Free boarding facilities similar to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas will be built for economically disadvantaged students
- Increase in the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas around the country
- Indian sign language will be standardized and NIOS will develop high quality modules to teach the same
- Every state shall establish “Bal Bhavans” where students can visit to take part in art-related, career-related and play-related activities
- Every public school will be paired with one private school — paired schools will meet/interact with each other, share resources and learn from each other.
The policy envisages that every college should be either university or autonomous college over the period of time. The Gross Enrollment Ratio in Higher education including vocation education is aimed to be 50% by 2035. Multiple exit options are given to the students i.e, a certificate after completing 1 year, diploma after 2 year, Bachelor’s degree after 3 or 4 years.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), China made as many as 13,38,503 patent applications, with just 10% being made by non-resident Chinese, the USA made 605,571 patent applications, while India made a mere 45,057, of which over 70% were by non-resident Indians. To improve this situation, a National Research Foundation (NRF) is set up. To encourage the research culture in the institutions, 4-year degree ‘with research’ will be awarded to students who completes a research project during HEI.
India will be promoted as a global study destination for premium education at affordable costs, attracting international talent to India. Also, top 100 institutes of the world are encouraged to set up their campuses in India. Credits acquired in foreign universities will be permitted to be counted in HEI credits. This will attract a lot of exchange of talent and resources among India and other countries.
Less than 5% of Indian receive formal vocational education today compared to 52% in USA, 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea. This is alarming difference!! Most of it is due to the perception most of the Indians have that the vocation courses are inferior to the mainstream courses. To bridge this huge gap, vocational education is integrated in the school and higher education and aims to have at least 50% of students shall have formal vocational education by 2025.
Technology use and integration
The current COVID situation has certainly taught the education institutes to have very effective online training modules. The policy certainly recognizes the high need to leverage the digital education to provide higher access to education to everyone. Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge sharing (DIKSHA) Platform will be set up to include all the teaching and learning e-content. All the NCERT text books can be download in all regional languages from the platform. The further ways to leverage the technology at multiple levels of education is said to be researched and implemented as soon as possible.
Other Key focus area
The agriculture and veterinary sciences shall be integrated with the general education. This is shift to develop professionals in these fields to utilize the knowledge and fight the critical issues like declining productivity, climate change etc. Healthcare education is also re-envisioned and all the students of allopathic medical education must have basic understanding of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy and vice versa.
With a lot of action items and aspiration, NEP 2020 certainly have all the ingredients and recipe ready to venture into new age of learning. It all now depends on how they are going to implement these ! Nevertheless this is definitely a welcome change and let’s hope the meal to be delicious!