The Union Cabinet, chaired by our honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, approved the National Education Policy 2020(NEP) on July 29, 2020.The policy is based on the Draft National Education Policy 2019, which the Committee for Draft National Education Policy is chaired by Dr. K. Kasturirangan, former chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development on December 15, 2018.The four-part National Education Policy covers school education (Part I); higher education (Part II); ‘Other Key Areas of Focus’ (Part III) such as adult education, promoting Indian languages and online education; and ‘Making it Happen’ (Part IV), which discusses the policy’s implementation. Its aiming to introduce several changes in the Indian education system - from the school to college level.
§ The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
§ The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education.
§ The NEP cleared by the Cabinet is only the third major revamp of the framework of education in India since independence. The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.
The NEP proposes to change the school curricular structure from the current 10+2 (Class 1-10 of general education followed by two years of higher secondary school with specialised subjects) with a 5+3+3+4 structure, bringing children from ages 3 to 5 years within the formal education system for the first time, and ensuring curricular continuity in the last four years.
A mission for foundational literacy and numeracy, free breakfasts being added to free lunches in government schools, vocational education along with internships from Class 6, and proposed redesign of the board examinations are some other major initiatives for school education.
For higher education, a new regulator has been proposed with separate verticals for regulation, standard setting, accreditation and funding. It will absorb arts and science, technical and teacher education into its fold, replacing several existing regulatory bodies, and also ensure a level playing field for public and private players. Top foreign universities will be allowed to set up campuses in India. For
students, the biggest change may be the introduction of four-year undergraduate degrees, with options for entry and exit at various stages, a credit transfer system, and the abolition of the M.Phil programme.
Under NEP 2020, there will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams. Students can select subjects of their liking across the streams. Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships. Most government schools in the country are doing this already. As for private schools, it’s unlikely that they will be asked to change their medium of instruction. A senior ministry official clarified to The Indian Express that the provision on mother tongue as medium of instruction was not compulsory for states. Education is a concurrent subject which is why this policy clearly states that kids will be taught in their mother tongue or regional language wherever possible. Teachers will be encouraged to use a bi-lingual approach, including bilingual teaching-learning materials, with those students whose home language may be different from the medium of instruction.