- Last year, the Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy 2020. The new policy aims to pave way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems in the country. This policy will replace the 34 year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
- The policy is based on the pillars of “access, equity, quality, affordability, accountability” and will transform India into a vibrant knowledge hub.
Highlights of the Policy
Early Childhood Care & Education
- The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
- The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
- New Policy aims for universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
- NEP 2020 will bring 2 crore out of school children back into the mainstream through an open schooling system.
Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy
- The school curricula and pedagogy will aim for holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and greater focus on experiential learning. Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects.
- There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.
- Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships.
- A new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be developed by the NCERT.
- NEP 2020 calls for the 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 all learners by grade 3 by 2025.
Medium of instruction
- The policy states, the medium of instruction until at least class 5 (and preferably till class 8) should be “home language or mother tongue or local/regional language”. The policy gives the freedom to the state, region, and child to choose three languages to be learned. However, at least two of the three languages should be native Indian languages.
- Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes.
- A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with NCERT.
- By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
- 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.
- Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50 % by 2035; 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
- The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Undergraduate education with flexible curriculum, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
- UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
- Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate Transfer of Credits.
- Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
- The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty – including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages – who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.
Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)
- HECI will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
- Also, HECI will be having four independent verticals namely,
- National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,
- General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting,
- Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,
- National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
- Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
- Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.
- Internationalization of education will be facilitated through both institutional collaborations, and student and faculty mobility and allowing entry of top world ranked Universities to open campuses in our country.
Others focus areas
- The policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy.
- An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
- NEP 2020 emphasizes setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups
- A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be set up as a standard-setting body.
- New Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education.
- National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up.
- The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
Why in News?
- The new National Education Policy lays emphasis on imparting teaching in the mother tongue in primary classes.
- The ST and SC Development Department of the Odisha government has started working on a project called ‘Samhati’ to address the language issues faced by tribal students in early grades or elementary classes.
- Under Samhati, the department plans to cover approximately 2.5 lakh students in 1,450 primary schools in the State.
- In addition, the School and Mass Education department also manages about 1,500 schools in 17 tribal dominated districts where students are taught in tribal languages. As many as 3,328 teachers and 222 language teachers are in place to impart teaching in tribal languages.
- Under Samhati, it has been decided that all teachers of primary level would be provided functional knowledge of tribal languages and ways of communicating with tribal students. In the first phase, 1,000 teachers would be asked to obtain these language skills.
- According to texperts, mother-tongue based education is a welcome step. A tribal student sees the world through his own language. The most important aspect of mother-tongue based education is that it helps save endangered tribal languages. If language is saved, the culture will be preserved automatically.
- Odisha is home to 62 different tribal communities including 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), making it the State with the most diverse indigenous communities in the country.