School Reforms: New National Education Policy 2020

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National Education Policy

On 29/07/2020, the Indian government Cabinet’s meeting was held. In this meeting, a historic decision was taken. Cabinet approved the final draft of the New National Education Policy(NEP).

India will witness a new educational structure in the upcoming years. Before this, in 1992, NEP was modified. In 1986, then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi came with national education policy. It was later modified by Narsimha Rao Government in 1992.

The total new education policy came after 34 years. This decision may apply to you as well if you are a student.

The important decision taken in the Cabinet meeting was to rename the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry simply as Education Ministry.

Let’s discuss the meaning of NEP, what does it mean, it’s positive possible outcomes and few negative outcomes.

What is the need of New National Education Policy?

As per Government Data, in 2015-16, Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for the 1st-5th grade was 95.1%, for the 6th-8th grade was 90.7%, for the 9th-10th grade was 79.3%, for the 11th-12th grade was 51.3%.

You can clearly see that GER is decreasing as you go to higher grades. This data clearly suggests that many people drop out of the School as they move to higher grades.

While in 2015, approximately 6.2 crores of children were out of school. These children were of the age group between 6 and 18 years.

Some reasons for student’s drop outs are :

  • Lack of infrastructural School facilities
  • Few or no school present in some parts of the country
  • Schools situated at far distances from the students
  • Child Marriage
  • Child Labour
  • Poor Sanitation facilities
  • Lack of safety especially for girls
  • Parent’s negative mindset towards school
  • Lack of teachers in Schools
  • Lack of quality teaching

What is National Education Policy 2020?

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) promised people in 2014 that they would bring a new National Education Policy. They also put in the election manifesto. Now, BJP led Government came up with the policy.

National Education Policy regulates the whole education system of the country. Education Ministry can modify or replace it.

National Education Policy 2020 was drafted by the committee chaired by Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan. The committee consisted of initially 9 members which were later reduced to 8. Shakila T Shamsu was a secretary to this committee.

Decisions taken in New National Education Policy 2020 :

  • The first decision was taken to replace the 10+2 education system by the 5+3+3+4 education system. From pre-primary school(Anganwadi) to grade 2 will be known as the Foundational stage, from grade 3 to grade 5 will be known as the Preparatory stage. From grade 5 to grade 8 will be known as the Middle stage while from grade 9 to grade 12 will be known as the Secondary stage.
  • Appropriate authorities will conduct school examinations in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade.
  • The government extends the Right to Education (RTE) up to 12th grade. 6% of the GDP will be spent on the education sector.
  • The government will implement a new assessment system in 2022-23. The government will set up the National Assessment Centre and PARAKH as central bodies to regulate the new assessment system.
  • The government will enhance infrastructural work in Anganwadis. It is also decided to promote play-based learning in the Foundational Stage. The schools will provide mid-day meals or nutritious breakfast to small children.
  • Regular health check-ups will be conducted until the preparatory stage or maybe more. Health cards will be issued to the students.
  • Anganwadi teachers who are 12th+ grade qualified will be given a 6-month certificate program while those who are less qualified will be given a one-year Diploma course. These courses will either be taken online or through TV to make sure that these do not affect the teacher’s current work.
  • The government also decided to set up National Foundational Numeracy and Literacy mission. This mission will aim to enhance the basic knowledge of the foundational student of numbers and scripts.
  • NCERT and SCERT will develop a school preparation module of 3 months for Grade 1 students.
  • The government will set up Digital Libraries. They will also expand public and school libraries. A digital platform called DIKSHA(Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing) will be set up.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy will be formulated to increase readership and quality of books.
  • Open Distance Learning Facility (ODL) will be provided for those who are not able to attend schools. A, B, and C levels will be equivalent to 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade.
  • The curriculum will be reduced to reduce the burden of bags. Humanities, Arts, Vocational Subjects, Sports, Music, Dance will be considered as curricular activities, not as extracurricular activities. There will be no separation between Science and Arts.
  • Three language formula will be implemented according to this policy. Whenever possible, till 5th grade or maybe 8th grade, the medium of instruction will be Mother tongue or regional language. After that, the subject will be taught as a language subject and the medium of instruction will be Bilingual.
  • The curriculum will be designed in such a way that all cultural diversity, history will be incorporated in it. Classical languages like Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Pali, Odia, and Prakrit will be taught in the middle stage as per the choice of the student and school. Students will also get an opportunity to learn foreign languages such as Japanese, German, French, Korean, etc in the secondary stage.
  • Textbooks will be designed by NCERT and SCERT jointly. It will include national subjects, local subjects, etc. Local subjects will be decided by the State government. Translation of the textbooks will be carried in Indian languages.
  • Board exams may be developed into annual or semester or modular exams. Two attempts may be given to students in Board Exams. Board exams in some subjects could be transformed into an objective and descriptive type papers. Respective authorities will decide in the future.
  • National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct a common exam related to Science, Humanities, Quantitative Reasoning, Arts, Vocational subjects, etc. Students can choose subjects as per their choice. Related to that choice, higher studies courses will be available.
  • The curriculum will be designed in such a manner to convert the system of rote memorization to a creative, analytical, and logical thinking system. The early specialization will be prevented.
  • All possible measures will be taken to ensure equality to all students whether be it minorities, SC, ST, or OBC.
  • Current Affairs will also be incorporated in the curriculum which will change dynamically. Debates, Quizzes shall be organized to make students think in a creative way.

Initiatives taken in New National Education Policy 2020 :

  • To increase infrastructural facilities in schools
  • To expand school buildings
  • To open new schools especially in rural areas
  • To increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in schools to 100% by 2030
  • To increase the intake capacity of schools
  • To provide students a safe environment
  • To help stand-alone schools
  • To provide proper sanitation facilities in the school
  • To reduce drop-outs in schools with the help of social workers and counselors
  • To increase transportation facilities in the nearby school regions
  • To build roads in rural areas to promote easy traveling to schools
  • To encourage students to pursue higher studies especially girls
  • To increase attendance rates in schools

Advantages of National Education Policy 2020 :

This new National Education Policy 2020 will help to promote Indian Languages. This will help in the enrichment of Indian Languages. This policy will greatly enhance the communication skills of the student. Rote memorization will be replaced by a creative and innovative way of thinking.

New National Education Policy will help to maintain various disciplines in the students. The National Education policy will help to reduce the stress of students. This will help to promote arts and other subjects which are until getting ignored.

Disadvantages of New National Education Policy 2020 :

There might be few negative outcomes of this policy. Fees structure for schools may get affected. Private schools may increase fees to increase infrastructural work. Lack of language teachers might affect the implementation of this Policy. Any clear Recruitment procedure for teachers is not mentioned. Any instructions are not mentioned for English Medium Schools.

Everyone knows the situation of Government Schools in India. In such Government Schools, the implementation of such policies will be difficult for the government. To improve Infrastructure in the schools, it will 4-5 years, if constant efforts are made.

If the implementation of the policy went right, this might emerge as a revolutionary step in the Education System.

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