How good is the New Education Policy?

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Is the National Education Policy a masterstroke to solve the country’s biggest problem?

THE EDUCATION SYSTEM in India has made significant progress in recent years to ensure ‘Right to Education’ for all, but still, there is a long road ahead. That our education system required overhauling has been known for decades and thus, there are high hopes from the new education policy. So is the New Education Policy, introduced by the Modi Government, good enough? Will it contribute to build a flexible pedagogy system for our coming generations or does it disappoints?

The new education policy has been hailed by many as fresh and new ideas have been introduced. For example, the medium of instruction for students up to class 5 will be in vernacular languages. More emphasis has been given on extra-curricular activities and vocational courses as well. This is in complete contrast to the earlier times when students were buried under the huge syllabus and there were hardly any other activities in schools.

In the pre-independence era and in fact, even after two decades, we gained freedom, children were going to bhasha-medium schools. Elite families took pride in sending their wards to such schools in the hope of imbibing in them the moral values of our culture. These schools were excellent in every aspect. Talk to any civil servant over the 60s, who had studied in these schools and you will realize that even the English taught there was very good.

But over the years, the quality of education in bhasha or now as we know them as Government schools has deteriorated. It is drawing children from the weaker section of the society only. The new policy aims to elevate the standard of education and help build an egalitarian society.

The New Curriculum

  1. Foundational Stage (three years of Anganwadi or pre-school followed by classes 1-2)
  2. Preparatory Stage (classes 3-5)
  3. Middle Stage (classes 6-8) and
  4. Secondary Stage (classes 9-12)

Key Points of NEP 2020

  • 10+2 board structure no more applicable. The new structure will be 5+3+3+4.
  • Classes up to 5th will be named as preschools; mid-school will be from Classes 6 to 8, high school from classes 8th to 11th, and class 12 onwards will be considered as graduation.
  • Vocational courses will be available from class 6th standard onwards.
  • Optional subjects from 8th to 11th.
  • Graduation courses will be divided into major and minor.
  • One single authority will govern higher education.
  • The merger of UGC and AICTE.
  • All universities including government, private, open, deemed, vocational, etc, will have the same grading and other rules.
  • New Teacher Training Board will be applicable to the entire country without any interference from the State Governments.
  • The same level of accreditation will be given to colleges based on which they will get autonomous rights and funds.
  • There will be multiple entries and exit from any course.
  • Credit system for graduation which students can utilize in the event of taking a break from the course and coming back again to complete the course.
  • Two-semester wise exams in all schools.
  •  The syllabus will be trimmed to include only the core knowledge of the subject. There will be more focus on practical and application knowledge.
  • After completion of one year of graduation course, a student is entitled to get a basic certificate, if he completes two years then he will get a diploma certificate. On the completion of the entire course, a student will get a degree certificate.

Agenda of the New Education Policy 2020

Creating an autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), which will provide a platform for the free interchange of ideas. It will also enhance the use of technology in learning, assessment, planning, and administration. NEP 2020 has emphasized the setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions, and groups.

New Policy aims to promote multilingualism in both schools and higher education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation, and Interpretation will also be created.

The Centre and the States will collaborate to work together to grow the public investment in the education sector to at least 6% of Gross Domestic Product.

The Advantages

Enhancing essential learning and thinking

The new policy will replace the rote learning of the syllabus and will help in developing critical thinking of the child. The Policy has laid down a number of active learning approaches like discovery approach, inquiry-based learning, discussion and analysis based approach that lays the foundation for critical and collaborative thinking. Under the new pedagogical processes, the present course will be cut down to include just the core values.

The industry leaders are already hailing these new initiatives

“Changing the pedagogical structure from a 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system is well thought of step in the education industry. With the advancement in technology, skilling of a child since schooling is the need of the hour to increase the employability factor of the youth. The NEP 2020 is very much aligned with the global parameters and allows students to build their own degree by choosing a diverse range of subjects which in return will provide ample opportunities to learn and earn together”, says (Prof) Dr. Sanjiv Marwah, Director, JK Business School.

The new policy entails the adoption of art-integrated model that incorporates fine and performing arts, culture and heritage of India in the teaching-learning process to bring fun, joy, and creativity and also imbibe Indian ethos in the learners.

Emphasis on sports

The new arrangement is more focused on sports. The Government wants to inculcate the values of responsibility, discipline, self-regulation, collaboration, and citizenship. The second aim is to upgrade the fitness level of the coming generations.

Less emphasis on Board exams

NEP 2020 wants to bring changes in the traditional teaching methods. The schools have been advised to use small assessments all over the year rather than one-time final exams with the full syllabus. This in turn will ease the pressure of memorizing the entire syllabus at one go.

It also states that the National Testing Agency should conduct entrance examinations for undergraduate courses in sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year. The newly released education policy has a provision to provide nutritious breakfast to school children as well.

“Let’s welcome the new education policy by the government with a great amount of positivity. The policy is rooted with the pillars of ingress, affordability, equity, quality and accountability. The plunge into the new policy will make our young population more employable unlike previously when they would just hold certificates/degrees from the universities with no jobs in hand. The education policy now seems more relevant than ever, especially, with the present industry conditions”, says Vivek Kumar Singh, Co-Founder & CEO, and Careerera.

Performance Assessment Review & Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development (PARAKH)

NEP 2020 has called for the creation of a national assessment center, PARAKH which will act as a standard-setting body under the Education Ministry to set the norms, standards and guidelines for assessments across all recognized schools. This is a good initiative as it will also conduct National Achievement Surveys which will monitor the achievement of learning outcomes and guide the Boards of Education to make learning more contemporary and suited to the requirements of the 21st-century economy.

“The New Education Policy, announced after 34 years, has many steps in the positive direction, expected to transform the Indian education system. Early childhood care and education play a vital role in building a foundation for lifelong learning and well-being for every child. The national mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy is the need of the hour. This comprehensive education policy, now aligned to global standards, will help the country build versatile, skilled and forward-looking future citizens”, said Prajodh Rajan, Co-Founder & Group CEO- EuroKids International while speaking to Bihog.com

The Government wants Indian students to choose their education within the country. For this, plan is to build world-class institutions with the help of NEP 2020. The goal is to lower the financial burden on parents which they have to bear while sending their children abroad for higher studies.

The Disadvantages

The Three Language Formula

Many southern states have rejected the three language formula. Under the new policy, at least two of these languages for instructions have to be Indian.

In an earlier draft of NEP released last year, it was mentioned under the three-language formula that Hindi will be mandatory in those states where the language is not usually spoken. The Southern States rejected this idea. Facing backlash, the Modi Government then dropped the reference to mandatory learning of Hindi.

Did English do anything wrong??

English should have been given more importance in the new policy as students should be prepared in those mediums which will help them compete internationally.

Today, Indians are revered all across the globe for their professional skills. Nowadays, knowledge of English is a precursory requirement for global communication. In such times, snatching away it in the primary classes can have adverse effects on the children.

In conclusion

It took more than six years to formulate the new education policy. But nevertheless, it has come up with many innovative ideas to provide freshness to otherwise a stale education system. Now it remains to be seen how this will shape up once the implementation starts. The real test has not even started!

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