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Understanding the key reforms of the National Education Policy, 2020

NEP 2020

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the PM approved the National Education Policy 2020 on 29th July 2020. The new policy was announced after widespread consultations across the country which were initiated in January 2015. As part of the process, consultations took place at the Gram Panchayat level, block and district level, education dialogues were held with Members of Parliament, dialogue with Members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources and special meetings of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). 

It is worth noting that India’s first national policy on education was worked upon by the Kothari Commission (1964-66) which formulated the National Policy on Education, 1968. This policy continued from 1968-1986. 

In 1986, a new policy was formulated - National Policy on Education, 1986. This policy was modified in a restricted capacity in 1992. It is fair to say that for the last 34 years, it was the NPE 1986 which was being practised till date.
The current policy is a result of the work of two committees – T.S.R. Subramaniam Committee which submitted its report in May 2016 and Dr. K Kasturirangan Committee report submitted in May 2019. 

Key reforms in higher education:

  • MHRD to be renamed as Ministry of Education 
  • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to be increased to 50 per cent by 2035 
  • Holistic and multidisciplinary education – flexibility of subjects 
    • Options for multiple entry and exit 
    • UG programme – 3 or 4 years (for those who want to pursue research)
    • PG programme – 1 or 2 years 
    •  Integrated 5 years Bachelors/Masters programme
    • M.Phil to be discontinued 
  • Option of Credit Transfer and Academic Bank of Credits 
  • Model Multidisciplinary Education and Research University (MERU) to be set up in or near every district 
  • Graded autonomy of autonomous colleges to ensure accreditation status is in sync with academic, administrative and financial autonomy 
  • Phasing out of affiliation system in 15 years 
  • National Mission on Mentoring
  • Single regulator for Higher Education (Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)) with self-disclosure based transparent system of approvals in place of inspections. 
  • Common norms for public and private higher education institutions 
    • Private philanthropic partnership
    • Fee fixation with broad regulatory framework
  • Public investment in education to increase to 6 per cent of GDP (from current 4.43 per cent)
  • National Research Foundation to be created
  • Internationalisation of education to enhance quality and standard  
  • Integration of vocational, teacher and professional education 
  • Standalone higher education institutions and professional education institutions to evolve into multidisciplinary institutions 
  • Special Education Zone for disadvantaged regions
  • National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit 
  • National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to bring together government, private sector, educationists, and technologists 
  • Focus on Indian knowledge system, language, culture, and values
    • Focus on literature and scientific vocabulary of Indian languages 
    • Language faculty
    • Research on languages
    • Strengthening national institutes for promotion of classical language and literature 
    • Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) to be set up
    • Raise cultural awareness of Indian Knowledge Systems 
    • Promoting traditional arts 
    • HEIs/schools to have artist(s)-in-residence 
  • Use of technology for equity in-
    • Educational planning
    • Teaching learning and assessment 
    • Administration and management 
    • Regulation – self-disclosure 
  • Increased access through technology for disadvantaged groups 
  • Divyang-friendly education software 
  • E-content in regional languages 
  • Virtual labs 

Key reforms in school education: 

  • Universalization of Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) 
  • National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy 
  • 5+3+3+4 Curricular and Pedagogical Structure 
  • Curriculum to integrate 21st century skills, mathematical thinking, and scientific temper 
  • No rigid separation between Arts and Science, curricular and extra-curricular activities, and vocational and academic streams
  • Education of gifted children
  • Gender Inclusion Fund (GIF) for targeting girl child development 
  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas up to Grade 12
  • Reduction in curriculum to core concepts
  • Vocational integration from class 6 onwards with option of internships 
  • New National Curriculum Framework for ECE, school, teachers, and adult education
  • Board examination will be low stakes, with focus on knowledge application
  • Medium of instruction till at least grade 5, and preferably till grade 8 and beyond in mother tongue/regional language
  • 360-degree holistic progress card of child 
  • Tracking student progress for achieving learning outcomes
  • National Assessment Center – PARAKH
  • NTA to offer common entrance exam for admission to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
  • National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST)
  • Book promotion policy and digital libraries 
  • Transparent online self- disclosure for public oversight and accountability in schools.

 

The National Education Policy 2020, when implemented in totality; will prove to be a major step forward in enhancing the  quality of education with equity; improving the learning outcomes for students; embedding systemic coherence; promoting research excellence and improving India's ranking against global benchmarks.