Long awaited the New Education Policy 2020 (NEP) was finally approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29.
The policy has proposed many changes to transform Indian education system. These changes will be introduced in every all tiers of the education system, right from the school level to higher education.
Through these changes, the policy aims to resolve various issues in the education sector. The policy which will come into effect by 2030, as recommended to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). HECI will be a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education. However, medical and legal education will remain outside the purview of the proposed body.
The HECI will have four independent verticals – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) primarily for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, learning outcomes, and a National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF) will be formulated by the GEC.
How the New Education Policy will be different from the previous policies
According to the policy document of the New Education Policy, previous policies on education focused mainly on issues of access and equity. Quality of education was ignored by all the previous policies including the National Policy on Education 1986, 1992 Amendment, says the policy document. The latest policy aims to deal with the unfinished agenda of the National Policy on Education 1986.
Principles of this Policy
The foundational pillars of this Policy are access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability.
The latest policy is based mainly on these principles: flexibility, no hard separations between arts and sciences, multi-disciplinary and a holistic education, conceptual understanding instead of rote learning and learning-for-exams, creativity and critical thinking, promoting life skills, promoting respect for diversity.
Vision of the New Education Policy 2020
This National Education Policy aims at building a global best education system rooted in Indian ethos, and aligned with the principles enunciated above, thereby transforming India into a global knowledge superpower.
- An excellent curricular and pedagogical framework for early childhood education for children up to the age of 8 will be developed by NCERT.
- It will be developed in two parts, namely, a sub-framework for 0-3 year olds, and a sub-framework for 3-8 year olds.
- Numerous rich local traditions of India developed over millennia in early childhood care and education, involving art, stories, poetry, songs, and more, will also be suitably incorporated.
- Socio-economically disadvantaged districts will get special attention.
- For universal access to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), the Anganwadi Centres will be strengthened with high quality infrastructure.
- Current Anganwadi workers/teachers will be trained as per the curricular/pedagogical framework developed by NCERT.
- Anganwadi workers/teachers with qualifications of 10+2 and above shall be given a 6-month certificate programme in ECE.
- On completion of education up to the age of 5 in Anganwadi, every child shall move to a “Preparatory Class” (that is, before Class 1) in the primary school which has an ECE qualified teacher.
- The mid-day meal programme shall be extended to the Preparatory Class along with other primary school children.
- The responsibility for ECCE curriculum and pedagogy will lie with the MHRD to ensure continuity of curriculum and pedagogy.
- State Governments will prepare cadres of professionally qualified educators for early childhood education, through stage-specific professional training.
- National repository of high-quality resources on foundational literacy and numeracy will be made available on the National Teacher’s Portal.
- The three-language formula will continue to be implemented while keeping in mind the Constitutional provisions.
- National Curriculum Framework 2005 will be revisited and updated by the end of 2020
New Policy to promote Foundation Literacy to Improve Learning Outcomes
Various governmental, as well as non-governmental surveys, indicate that India is currently in a severe learning crisis. A large proportion of students currently in elementary school have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy. Various Surveys have found that school students were unable to read and comprehend basic texts. They could not even do basic addition and subtraction.
Highest priority of the education system will be to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school and beyond by 2025, says the new policy.
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- The policy has proposed a “light but tight” regulation by a single regulator for all of higher education, including professional education.
- A National Research Foundation will be stablished; it will fund outstanding peer-reviewed research.
- All HEIs will move towards becoming large multidisciplinary institutions, with programmes across disciplines and fields.
- All existing HEIs and new HEIs will evolve into research-intensive universities (RUs), teaching universities (TUs), and autonomous degree-granting colleges (ACs).
- By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall become multidisciplinary institutions.
- All types of institutions will have the option to run Open Distance Learning (ODL) and online programmes.
- By 2025, the maximum number of colleges that can be affiliated by a University shall not exceed 300.
- By 2035, all colleges currently affiliated to a university shall secure accreditation and become autonomous degree-granting colleges.
- The undergraduate degree will be of either 3-or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period.
- HEIs will have the flexibility to offer either two-year or a one-year Masters programme.
- There may also be an be an integrated five-year Bachelor’s/Masters programme.
- Undertaking a PhD shall require either a Master’s degree or a 4-year Bachelor’s degree with Research.
Transforming the Regulatory System of Higher Education
- National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA): There will be one common regulatory regime for the entire higher education sector. A single regulator, the National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA), will be set up to regulate in a ‘light but tight’ and facilitative manner, meaning that a few important matters.
- Higher Education Grants Commission (HEGC): It will be created which will take care of funding and financing of higher education.
- GEC: A new General Education Council (GEC) shall be set up to frame expected learning outcomes for higher education programmes.
- NHEQF: A National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF) will be formulated by the GEC.
Implementation of the Policy
- A Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA), an apex advisory body for elementary to university education in India will replace the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). The RSA will be chaired by the Minister of Education and shall consist of 30 members.
- Similar to the RSA, a Rajya Shiksha Aayog (RjSA) may be constituted in each State, chaired by the Education Minister.
- To bring the focus back on education and learning, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) shall be re-designated as the Ministry of Education (MoE).
- A permanent Indian Education Service (IES) cadre comprising a specialist cadre of the bureaucracy will be created.