What is National Education Policy?
The National Policy on Education (NPE) is a policy formulated by the Government of India to promote education amongst India’s people. The policy covers elementary education to colleges in both rural and urban India.
The first NPE was promulgated in 1968 by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and the second by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986. The government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed a new committee under K. Kasturirangan to prepare a Draft for the new National Education Policy in 2017. All education boards in India like CISCE and CBSE are based on this policy
National Education Policy – Brief History
Since the country’s independence in 1947, the Indian government sponsored a variety of programs to address the problems of illiteracy in both rural and urban India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India’s first Minister of Education, envisaged strong central government control over education throughout the country, with a uniform educational system. The Union government established the University Education Commission (1948–1949), the Secondary Education Commission (1952–1953), University Grants Commission and the Kothari Commission (1964–66) to develop proposals to modernise India’s education system.
The Resolution on Scientific Policy was adopted by the government of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. The Nehru government sponsored the development of high-quality scientific education institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology. In 1961, the Union government formed the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) as an autonomous organization that would advise both the Union and state governments on formulating and implementing education policies.
National Education Policy – 2020
India’s National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) is a new policy on education approved by the Union Cabinet on 29 July, 2020.
The NEP 2020 replaces the National Policy on Education of 1986. Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections contained the creation of a new education policy. In January 2015, a committee under former Cabinet Secretary T. S. R. Subramanian started the consultation process for the New Education Policy. Based on the committee report, in June 2017, the draft NEP was submitted in 2019 by a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan. The Draft New Education Policy 2019, was later released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, followed by a number of public consultations.
Among the changes proposed by the NEP is that the 10+2 structure will be replaced with a 5+3+3+4 school curriculum, consisting of 12 years of schooling and three years of anganwadi or pre-school
Key Takeaways and Changes in NEP 2020
1.) The mother tongue or local or regional language is to be the medium of instruction in all schools up to Class 5 (preferably till Class 8 and beyond), according to the policy. Under the NEP 2020, Sanskrit will be offered at all levels and foreign languages from the secondary school level. However, the policy also says “no language will be imposed on any student”.
2.) The 10+2 structure has been replaced with 5+3+3+4, consisting of 12 years of school and three of anganwadi or pre-school. This will be split as follows: a foundational stage (ages three and eight), three years of pre-primary (ages eight to 11), a preparatory stage (ages 11 to 14) and a secondary stage (ages 14 to 18). According to the government the revised structure will “bring hitherto uncovered age group of three to six years, recognised globally as a crucial stage for development of mental faculties, under school curriculum”.
3.) Instead of exams being held every year, school students will sit only for three – at Classes 3, 5 and 8. Assessment in other years will shift to a “regular and formative” style that is more “competency-based, promotes learning and development and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity”.
4.) Board exams will continue to be held for Classes 10 and 12 but even these will be re-designed with “holistic development” as the aim. Standards for this will be established by a new national assessment centre – PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
5.) The policy, the government has said, aims at reducing curriculum load of students and allowing them to become more “multi-disciplinary” and “multi-lingual”. There will be no rigid separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities and between vocational and academic stream, the government said.
6.) To that end, the policy also proposes that higher education institutions like the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) move towards “holistic education” by 2040 with greater inclusion of arts and humanities subjects for students studying science subjects, and vice versa.
7.) The NEP 2020 proposes a four-year undergraduate programme with multiple exit options to give students flexibility. A multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree will be awarded after completing four years of study. Students exiting after two years will get a diploma and those leaving after 12 months will be have studied a vocational/professional course. MPhil (Master of Philosophy) courses are to be discontinued.
8.) A Higher Education Council of India (HECI) will be set up to regulate higher education; the focus will be on institutions that have 3,000 or more students. Among the council’s goals is to increase gross enrolment ratio from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035. The HECI will not, however, have jurisdiction over legal and medical colleges.
9.) The HECI will have four independent verticals – National Higher Education Regulatory Council for regulation, General Education Council to set standards, Higher Education Grants Council for funding and National Accreditation Council for accreditation.
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