The Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on Wednesday. This is the first education policy of the 21st century to replace the thirty-four-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
The policy aims at universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
Some of the biggest reforms the NEP includes teaching up to class five in mother tongue or regional language, lowering the stakes of board exams, allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in India, a single regulator for higher education institutions except for law and medical colleges and common entrance tests for universities.
Here are 15 highlights of the New Education Policy 2020
1. The 5+3+3+4 system: The 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will include 12 years of schooling and three years of Anganwadi and pre-schooling.
2. Schooling from 3 years: According to the New Education Policy, from the age of 3, children will be part of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). This will be delivered through a) standalone Anganwadis; b) Anganwadis co-located with primary schools; c) pre-primary schools/sections covering at least age 5 to 6 years co-located with existing primary schools; and d) stand-alone pre-schools - all of which would recruit workers/teachers specially trained in the curriculum and pedagogy of ECCE.
3. Promoting libraries: A National Book Promotion Policy will be formulated, and extensive initiatives will be undertaken to ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, and readership of books across geographies, languages, levels, and genres.
4. Teaching up to class fifth in the mother tongue/regional language: The mother tongue or local or regional language will be the medium of instruction in all schools up to Class 5 (preferably till Class 8 and beyond), according to the NEP. Besides, Sanskrit will be offered at all levels and foreign languages from the secondary school level.
5. Creating Bal Bhavans: Every state or district will be encouraged to establish 'Bal Bhavans' as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities. Free school infrastructure can be used by Samajik Chetna Kendras.
6. Academic Bank of Credit: This to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned. The academic credit stored in a digital locker will be like a bank credit through which a student will be able to resume education after a break as specified by the higher education commission later.
7. Multiple entry and exit points in higher education: The new policy will have multiple entry and exit points. Under the four-year programme students can exit after one year with a certificate, after two years with a diploma and a Bachelor's degree after three years and Bachelor's with research after 4 years. The multiple entry and exit will be done through the academic bank of credit.
8. Affiliation of colleges will be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism will be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
9. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree
10. Easing of board exam: The board exams for class 10 and 12 will continue. However, the board exams will be made 'easier' as they will primarily test core capacities, competencies rather than months of coaching or memorisation.
11. Changes in report card: The progress card of all students for school-based assessment will be redesigned. It will be a holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report card that will reflect in great detail the progress and uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. The progress card will include self-assessment, peer assessment, and teacher assessment.
12. Foreign universities in India: NEP has paved the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India. Internationalisation of education will be facilitated through both institutional collaborations as well as student and faculty mobility. This will allow the entry of top world-ranked universities to open campuses in India.
13. NEP ends science-commerce-arts streams: NEP has eliminated the rigid separation of streams. Students will now be able to choose subjects like history and physics at the same time in class 11 and 12.
14. National Educational Technology Forum: An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
15. Common entrance exam for college admission: The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct entrance examinations for admissions to universities across the country. The NTA already conducts the all-India engineering entrance exam --JEE Main, NEET, UGC NET, and others. As per the NEP 2020, the entrance exam to be conducted by the NTA for admission to universities and colleges will be optional.