NEP envisions an education system:
- Rooted in Indian ethics and
- Capable of transforming India sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society.
NEP is a proposal for a holistic modification in education after 34 years. The policy establishes the determination to re-energize the entire education system in India. However, it is only a broad direction. State governments are expected to follow it, but it is not mandatory.
A Visit to the Schools of Future in India
- The NEP proposes the extension of the Right to Education (RTE) to all children up to the age of 18.
- The mid-day meal program will be extended to pre-school children.
- The policy adopts a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3. It aims to recognize the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future.
- The breaking of the strict division of arts, commerce and science streams in high school. This step is going to open a new horizon of opportunities for the students. It will lay a foundation for a multi-disciplinary approach in high education.
- The scheme introduces vocational courses with an internship. This move may encourage the vulnerable sections of society to send their children to school. This would also help in the realization of skill India Mission.
- NEP emphasizes on making mother tongue, local language or the regional language the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5. This move potentially seeks to signify the importance of the content being learned rather than the medium in which it is being taught.
- The policy seeks to leverage the huge potential of online pedagogy and learning methodologies.
- It focuses on overhauling the curriculum. Easier Board exams, and reduction in the syllabus to retain core essentials. It thrusts on experiential learning and critical thinking. All students will take school examinations in grades 3, 5, and 8, which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
- NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education for children up to the age of eight. NEP 2020 calls for setting up of a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by the Education Ministry. States will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for the learner by grade 3 by 2025.
- The new policy aims for universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030. It aims to raise GER in higher education to 50 per cent by 2025.
- 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.
The New Approach to Higher Education
- The NEP proposes sweeping changes including opening up of Indian higher education to foreign universities.
- Dismantling of the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
- Introduction of a four-year multidisciplinary undergraduate program with multiple exit options.
- Discontinuation of the M Phil program.
- Setting up of a National Research Foundation.
- Flexibility to institutions to offer different designs for Master’s programs.
The Way Forward
NEP 2020 offers progressive changes, but the lack of information on its implementation and the use of 6% of GDP for education are uncomfortable. There is a persistent mismatch between the knowledge & skills imparted and the jobs available in India, therefore the challenge would be huge. Since education is a concurrent subject, the Centre will have to put in efforts to ensure States are equipped and willing at all stages of implementation. To provide aid and assistance to the socially and educationally disadvantaged, children will be an imperative responsibility of the State. A regulatory and monitoring process will have to be set up to check profiteering from education. With unequal access to technology, the government will have to prevent the expansion of the gap between the haves and have not’s. The success of vocational training will depend upon the coordination between various ministries. To achieve success NEP would also require unbiased and unprejudiced approach by the common people.
The intent of the National Education Policy 2020 is ideal, and its rightful implementation is what India needs.
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