7 PM Editorial |National Education Policy, 2020 – Provisions and Significance|31st July 2020

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National Education Policy, 2020 – Provisions and Significance

Introduction:

The Union cabinet has approved the NEP(National Education Policy), 2020 recently. It is based on recommendations of Kasturirangan and T.S.R.Subramanian committees. NEP, 2020 lays emphasis on reforms in education at all levels from pre primary to higher education. It aims to bring transformation in the education system of India in line with contemporary needs.

NEP, 2020 will replace existing education policy which was formulated in 1986. Considering vast changes in technology, demography and aspirations of people, this reform is the need of the day. It also aims to address current challenges Indian education system faces like lack of resources, capacity, mismatch between education and skills needed for jobs.

Major provisions of NEP, 2020:

School education:

  • Universalization of education by 2030through 100% GER(Gross Enrollment Ratio) from pre primary to secondary.
  • Open schooling system(no admission requirements, NIOS is example) for out of school children.
  • 5+3+3+4 curriculum systemreplacing existing 10+2 system.
    • 3-8 years of age: 3 years pre school education + Classes 1 and 2
    • 8-11 years of age: classes 3 to 5
    • 11-14 years of age: classes 6 to 8
    • 14-18 years of age: Classes 9-12
  • Focus on foundational Literacy and Numeracy; extracurriculars; vocational education and multidisciplinary approach to arts, science and commerce in high school
    • Vocational education to start from class 6 with internships
    • Curriculum will include 21st century skills like coding.
  • Teaching in mother tongueupto class 5 with no imposition of any language.
  • 360 degree holistic progress cardfor tracking learning outcomes.
  • Teacher education:
    • 4 year B.Ed qualification to be mandatory from 2030 for teachers
    • National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021 to be formulated

Higher education:

  • GER to be raised to 50% by 2035.
  • Broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic UG(Undergraduate)  education: Provisionsof flexible curriculum; integration of vocational education; multiple entry and exit points with respective degrees; UG education period between 3-4 years
  • Academic bank of creditsto enable transfers of credits between institutions
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs)for global quality multidisciplinary education
  • National Research Foundation(NRF)as an apex body for research capacity building.
  • HECI(Higher education commission of India)as umbrella regulator except for legal and medical education. It will have four verticals of:
    • 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
  • Phasing out affiliation system in 15 years
  • Graded autonomy to collegeswill be provided as per a stage wise mechanism.

Other:

  • Increasing public expenditure on education(centre and states) to 6% of GDP at the earliest
  • National Educational Technology Forum (NETF)to promote use of tech in education – learning, assessment, planning and administration
  • Gender Inclusion Fundfor advancing gender equality in education.
  • Special education zonesfor disadvantaged regions and groups. Financial incentives will be given to SC,ST, OBC and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Promotion of multilingualism in schools and colleges.
  • National institutes for pali, Prakrit and Persian to be set up along with institutes for translation and interpretation, for knowledge creation in Indic systems and languages.
Significance of the policy:
  • Recognition of the importance of preschool educationin the future of a child through 5+3+3+4 structure.
  • Recognizing the importance of mother tongueupto class 5, which has an impact on learning outcomes for the child. In the context of increasing demand for English as a medium of instruction, this brings balance by not neglecting the mother tongue. This promotes multilingualism which is proven to have a positive impact on brain development.
  • Emphasis on vocational educationsince class 6 is needed. With only 30% GER in higher education, the rest of the students need employable skills. Vocational education aids this. Hurdle of blue collaraization of vocations in India must be overcome for this to succeed.
  • Reforming teacher educationis timely as multiple reports on education point to lack of quality in teacher education.
  • Multidisciplinary and research approachesto education through MERU’s and NRF are crucial for the 21st century. Areas like nano technology, bio technology, robotics, artificial intelligence all need this approach.
  • Emphasis on technology can increase access to quality education.
  • Recognizing the need for flexibility of education. This is important in the 21st century with high mobility and alternate ways of learning. Steps like Open schooling system, multiple entry and exit points in UG education, use of technological resources aid in this flexibility.
  • Regulatory reformsby emphasis on transparency, quality, self assessment and voluntary declarations. This reduces the regulatory burden on education. A single regulatory body with 4 verticals will aid in this lean but effective regulation.
  • No child left behindthrough focus on gender equality and disadvantaged groups. Gender Inclusion Fund  and Special education zones aid in this.
  • Focus on long neglected Indian languages and knowledge systems(tribals etc) will advance cultural and scientific knowledge.
Conclusion:

Transformational vision proposed in NEP, 2020 requires huge resources in creation of infrastructure, personnel, institutions. NEP,2020 has set a target of 6% of GDP as target at the earliest. This is a challenge in the current fiscal position of states and centre due to COVID pandemic. But political will must be shown to realize the education transformation in NEP, 2020

Source: https://www.thehindu.com

Mains question:
  1. NEP, 2020 aims at transforming Indian education. What are its major provisions? Discuss its significance? [15 marks, 250 words]
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