After 34 years, the Union Cabinet of Government of India unveiled a new National Education Policy on July 29, 2020. Under this policy, a lot of changes have been made in the current education system that matches the science of cognitive development of the students.
One of the Main Features of the New National Education Policy 2020 is that the previous 10+2 education system has been changed to a 5+3+3+4 system. Moreover, the 3-year undergraduate program has changed to a more flexible 4-year undergraduate program.
According to the new changes, the Right to Free Education applies to the students of age between 3-18 years, rather than just 5-14 years. The Ministry of Human Resources is now called the Ministry of Education.
Policies for School Education:
The government of India proposed new policies for school education based on the different phases of the cognitive development of the students. It will enable the students to maximize their learning capacity based on their mental strength. Moreover, the government also tried to shift the area of focus from rote learning to experiential learning. The new policies for school education are as follows:
From 10+2 to 5+3+3+4:
The previous 10+2 structure forced a few students to memorize for the exams. Moreover, it did not involve foundational education of play-school or pre-school. However, the current 5+3+3+4 structure includes pre-schooling and many other changes.
The first 5 years (pre-school+classes 1 & 2) focuses on developing foundational literacy and numeracy in students from ages 3 to 8. It makes sure that every student gains the ability to read properly, and no one gets left behind by the time they reach class 3.
The next 3 years from class 3 to class 5 is a preparatory stage for the next stage of education. It involves activity-based learning and interactive classroom teaching.
In the third stage, students will be introduced to the core subjects, and the teaching methods focus on experiential learning. Coding is to be made as a compulsory subject for students as it has gained a lot of importance in the modern world.
The fourth stage involves classes 9-12. The students are free to choose any subject from any stream. The rigid distinction between different streams is taken out, and even extracurricular subjects are given importance.
Exams will be conducted for Grades 3,5, and 8 by the appropriate authority. The exams focus on testing the students' knowledge rather than the memorization capacity. The exams for classes 10 and 12 will be redesigned and made easier. Students can write the exam twice, out of which one is the main exam, and the other is an improvement exam. Separate papers for objective and descriptive exams may be introduced.
PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) will be set up as a new National Assessment Centre, and it will set up all the new standards of exams and tests.
Students won't be separated based on their streams as they have more flexibility to choose any subject from any stream. All of the subjects will be offered with two levels of proficiency.
- Bag-less Days:
From class 6, students get to choose a vocational internship where they practice the skills of a job for ten days. During the ten days of their internship, students don't need to bring any school books or bags.
The state and the students are free to decide the main three languages to be taught. Preference is given to use local languages as a medium of instruction till class 5, and it can be extended to class 8 if required. The government will also standardized Indian Sign Language (ISL).
Policies for Higher Education:
Through the National Education Policy 2020, the government of India allowed more flexibility for students. Moreover, more importance and funding will be given for research-oriented studies in the college.
4-year bachelor's program:
The three-year undergraduate has been turned into a 4-year program. No distinction will be made between the arts, commerce, and science subjects. Students are free to choose a major and a minor subject from any stream.
More flexibility is offered to the students who want to drop out of college and continue later. Students who drop out in any year will be given a certificate of their total credit scores. If they wish to continue after a few years of dropping out, they can continue right where they left off with the help of those certificates.
Students who quit in the second year will be given a diploma certificate, and students who quit in the third year will be given a three year bachelor's certificate. The fourth year of the bachelor's degree is more inclined towards research rather than theory.
The colleges will no longer be affiliated to any university. The autonomous colleges will get the right to grant degrees to the students. The remaining colleges will remain as a constituent college of a University.
The common college entrance exams will be conducted twice a year, just like the SAT exam, to reduce the pressure on students.
A fee cap will be regulated for public and private institutions so that the college fee does not cross the limit and does not become too high.
The government will encourage the top Indian institutes to go global and also facilitate the top global universities to come to India. It will provide Indian students with global exposure.
Discontinuation of M.Phil:
Since the four-year bachelor's program focuses more on research in the final year, the government believes that there is no longer any need for M.Phil. As a result, the M.Phil course has been removed entirely.
As per the new National Education Policy 2020, the major regulatory body, UGC, is to be removed and the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) to be established in its place. The roles and responsibilities of HECI will be different than that of UGC. However, the UGC staff will start working for HECI after its establishment.
Apart from the policies mentioned above, the new National Education Policy has many other plans to improve the quality of education in India. They are as follows:
Technology In Education:
The government will create an autonomous body called National Educational Technology Forum (NETF). It will provide a platform for exchanging ideas freely on how to integrate technology in education and enhance the learning experience, assessment techniques, planning, and administration.
The ministry will set up a dedicated unit for building digital infrastructure and digital content for the use of students. The overall classroom processes and teaching methods will be improved by the integration of technology.
In order to improve the teaching standards, the minimum qualification of a teacher will be a four-year integrated B.Ed degree. It will be made sure that this policy is implemented everywhere by the end of 2020.
A National Council for Teacher Education will develop a new common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) by 2022, which must be followed everywhere across the country.
Incentives will be given to meritorious students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other socially or economically backward groups. The government will encourage private institutions to offer scholarships to their students.
Moreover, the government will now invest 6% of the GDP rather than the previous 4.4% to fund the research-oriented education system.
The government will try to convert the stand-alone technical universities, legal universities, and health science universities into multi-disciplinary institutions.
The government also aims to increase the rate of enrollment of students in higher education according to the National Education Policy. If all of the policies in the National Education Policy are implemented efficiently, the next generation of India will have more skills, and thus, the employment rate of India will increase. It will lead India to become a developed country from a developing one as soon as possible.