National Education Policy A.K.A. NEP: India’s New Education Policy
India welcomes a new education policy after 34 years, as the Modi government has unveiled its cards on 29th July 2020. Cited by academicians and students alike across the country as an “Education system fit for the 21st century”. This new policy finally comes into action after decades of following the conventional methods of education. Some of these conventional policies were very much out of context to cater to the present and future needs of the world. The new policy was structured under the Dr Kasturi Rangan committee, to which the Central Government has given its nod.
Here are some of the key aspects of the same:
- Ministry of Human Education transforms to Ministry of Education
- 10+2 structure changes to 5+3+3+4
- No rigid demarcation of streams
- Compulsory education for children aged 3-18 years, instead of the past 6-16 years rule
- Diluted Board Exam processes
How Are Schools Affected
Primary school students will now have the option to pursue their academics in their mother tongue until Class 5 in all schools, government or private, across the country. Schools have been advised to make arrangements as per the requirements of children aged 3-6 years to make the environment more child friendly and to provide a holistic education from an early stage. In addition to this, the pre-primary curriculum, which has till now not followed any specific structure, is going to be more organised in order to promote cognitive development and behavioural growth among the children.
Another major change brought by the policy is that 11th and 12th grades, which have been treated as higher studies i.e. pre-graduation level, are now going to be treated as a part of schooling. Studies pursued after 10+2 are to be considered as higher studies.
Schooling has now been divided into the following categories:
- Early Childhood Care Education- (3-6 years)
- Foundational Stage- (3-8 years)
- Preparatory Stage- (8-11 years)
- Middle Stage- (11-14 years)
- Secondary Stage- (14-18 years)
In order to promote the Life Skills of students, a report consisting of the student’s non-academic performance consisting of the student’s self-observations, along with the remarks of teachers are prepared and discussed with his/her parents at the end of every academic year. This is to ensure that a record of the student’s skills acquired until 12th standard is available when he/she opts for higher studies.
How Are Colleges And Universities Affected
In a major turn of events, an affiliation of colleges is to end over the next 15 years, hence removing deemed university, affiliated and autonomous university statuses. Colleges are to be given graded autonomy in order to give degrees to students.
The National Testing Agency will now be conducting a common SAT like entrance test for all colleges, starting from 2022 academic session, twice a year. NEP has also given heavy relaxations in the case of 4-year bachelor’s programmes. Students can now opt to finish their degree after a break, with their credits until mid-term i.e. until the point of completion remaining intact in “digital lockers”. The qualifications of the students will be provided as follows:
- First-year- certificate
- Second-year- Advanced diploma
- Third-year- Bachelor’s Degree
- Fourth-year- Bachelor’s Degree with project completion
Additionally, multi-disciplinary programmes are now to be given more preference, so that the students can pursue subjects in which they are interested and can hence hone their talents.
Current academic bodies like UGC, AICTE and other such bodies are to be merged and formed as a single entity.
Allotment Of Funds For NEP
As of now, both the Central and State Government are together allocating 4.4% of the GDP towards the education sector. Very soon, this is to be increased to 6% of the GDP.
National Research Foundation will be formed through which support for patenting, latest innovations, inventions and research will be provided. Funds for research in the areas of medical and social sciences will also be actively encouraged.
For the first time, heavy emphasis will be laid on the internationalization of Indian education. International students will be encouraged to pursue academics in India. International institutes will now have the option of expanding their establishments to India as well.
- Coding is now to be made compulsory from Class 6-12.
- In a bid to encourage the younger generations to know more about their culture and language, all classes must now have the option to choose Sanskrit as an optional language at all levels of education.
- Centres for Pali, Persian and Prakrit are to be formed at all educational centres, enabling interested students to pursue the same, irrespective of their branch of study.
- A medical student can now opt to learn for coding, a science student may choose to learn a specific field of art etc. These are some examples of the combinations of multi-disciplinary programmes that will help students to shine in their field of interest.
- More emphasis to be laid on physical education and extra-curricular activities such as music, dance and arts.
Quality of education, which has been one of the major problems in the country, is now expected to improve with the advent of NEP. The target of the policy in the words of the government is to overcome the present challenges in the education sector and to strengthen the fundamentals of good education among students.
Around 2035, the Gross Enrolment Ratio is expected to jump to 50% from the present 26.3%, with the introduction of NEP. Integrated courses will now be available for students wishing to opt for research, thus avoiding the hassle of completing Msc, M.Phil in order to obtain a PhD.
NEP is a welcome change after 34 years and can be called as a completion of the unfinished agenda of 1992, meaning which, the education system has been the same since 1986!
PM Modi believes that the new education policy will transform India into a knowledge hub and claimed that NEP is built on the pillars of “access, equity, affordability, quality and accountability”.
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