National Education Policy 2020 - Highlights
On 29th July, 2020, the Union Cabinet of India approved the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) replacing the previous National Policy on Education, 1986.
The new education policy emphasizes the development of the overall creative potential of each individual. It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive capacities which are the foundational capacities of literacy and numeracy and the higher order cognitive capacities such as critical thinking and problem solving – but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions.
Basic aims of the National Education Policy 2020:
- Recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitizing teachers as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres.
- According the highest priority to achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by all students by Grade 3.
- Flexibility, so that learners have the ability to choose their learning trajectories and programmes, and thereby choose their own paths in life according to their talents and interests.
- No hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams, etc. in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies among, and silos between different areas of learning.
- Multidisciplinary and a holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports for a multidisciplinary world in order to ensure the unity and integrity of all knowledge.
- Emphasis on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning and learning-for-exams.
- Creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation.
- Ethics and human & Constitutional values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, spirit of service, respect for public property, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice.
- Promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning;
- life skills such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience.
- Focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s ‘coaching culture’.
- Extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers.
- Full equity and inclusion as the cornerstone of all educational decisions to ensure that all students are able to thrive in the education system.
- Synergy in curriculum across all levels of education from early childhood care and education to school education to higher education.
- Teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process – their recruitment, continuous professional development, positive working environments and service conditions.
- A ‘light but tight’ regulatory framework to ensure integrity, transparency, and resource efficiency of the educational system through audit and public disclosure while encouraging innovation and out-of-the-box ideas through autonomy, good governance, and empowerment.
- Outstanding research as a corequisite for outstanding education and development.
- Continuous review of progress based on sustained research and regular assessment by educational experts.
Provisions of the National Education Policy 2020:
- School education: Shift from the ‘10+2’ structure of school education to the ‘5+3+3+4’ design which will be divided according to the age groups as follows: 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 years (preparatory), 11-14 years (middle), and 14-18 years (secondary). Instead of exams being held every academic year, school students will only attend three exams, in classes 3, 5 and 8.
- Higher education: According to the new National Education Policy, 2020, the undergraduate program offered to the students will be for a 4-year multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree which will include professional and vocational areas and will be implemented as follows:
- A certificate after completing 1 year of study
- A diploma after completing 2 years of study
- A Bachelor’s degree after completion of a 3-year program
- A 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s degree (the preferred option)
The National Testing Agency will now be given the additional responsibility of conducting entrance examinations for admissions to universities across the country, in addition to the JEE Main and NEET.
The policy also states that the fees of both private and public universities will be fixed.
- Teachers’ education: The main aim of the policy is to ensure that all students at all levels of school education are taught by passionate, motivated, highly qualified, professionally trained, and well-equipped teachers. For this purpose, various new policies and provisions have been laid out under the NEP 2020 regarding teachers’ education and recruitment. NEP 2020 has made it compulsory for teachers to have a 4-year Bachelor of Education as the minimum requirement to become a teacher which is needed by 2030. The teacher recruitment process will also be strengthened and made transparent.
The National Council for Teacher Education will frame a National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education by 2021 and a National Professional Standards for Teachers by 2022.
Will these new policies and provisions help the country or adversely affect it? We’ll just have to wait and find out.