The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister have approved the new National Education Policy 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
The New Education Policy 2020 has come up as a in the education sector as it aims at creating an equitable and vibrant knowledge for the society by providing high-quality education to all. Also it encourages to develop a deep sense of respect towards the fundamental rights, duties and Constitutional values, bonding with one’s country, and a conscious awareness of one’s role and responsibilities in a changing world. The New Education Policy believes in instilling skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being, thereby reflecting a truly global citizen.
The key highlights of NEP are.
Early Childhood Care Education
The policy focuses on the importance of providing education to children between the age group of 3-6 years at an early age. The kids in the age group 3-5 years will be provided education through the current set-up of pre-schools and anganwadis, and those between the ages of 5-6 years will be included in the schooling system by 2025.
School Education for All
Aiming to make education from pre-primary level till the 12th grade universally accessible, NEP 2020 is looking to achieve 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio in providing the school education by 2030.
New Curriculum & Pedagogical Structure.
The new policy has eliminated the 10+2 education system and replaced it with a more organized 5+3+3+4 structure, that is, 5 years of primary education (for the age group 3-8 years), 3 years of preparatory stage (for the age group 8-11 years), 3 years of middle stage (for the age group 11-14 years), and 4 years of secondary stage (for the age group 14-18 years).
The Flexibility of Choosing Courses
There will be no rigid demarcations between vocational and non-vocational, science and arts, curricular and extra-curricular activities, thus providing equal emphasis on all the subjects and courses. Also, the students will have more choices and flexibility while picking up the subjects they want to study so that their educational path is more focused on their skills and interests.
Emphasis on Mother Tongue & Multilingualism
The policy emphasizes on the inclusion of local language in the curriculum with the medium of instructions in all the schools till at least class 5 (but preferably till 8th standard and beyond) to be either in mother tongue or regional language. Subsequently, foreign languages will be offered as options for students in secondary schools. It also states that Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country.
As per the new policy, though the board examination for 10th and 12th grades will continue to be in place, the structure of the exams will be reformed to make them easier by focusing on core competencies of the students, thus eliminating the need of coaching classes at these stages. Also, the school examinations will be conducted by proper authorities only in grades 3, 5, and 8.
The students will be provided with multi-disciplinary holistic education at the undergraduate level to ensure an integrated exposure with multiple entry and exit options. The 3 or 4-year duration undergraduate degree will have exit options (with certifications) during the entire course – a certificate after 1 year, diploma after 2 years and/or a bachelor’s degree after 3 years.