Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy during its meeting on Wednesday. The significant changes to the policy, which has been overhauled after 34 years, includes discontinuing Master of Philosophy (MPhil) courses, making board examinations for Class 10 and 12 students easier, establish a single regulator for higher education, flexible undergraduate courses with multiple exit options and appropriate certification, and intiatives to bring back 2 crore out-of-school children, among others. The new education policy also envisions increasing public investment in education sector to 6 per cent of the GDP.
Major highlights from the new National Education Policy 2020 are:
- New Policy aims for universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
- NEP 2020 will bring 2 crore out-of-school children back into the main stream through open schooling system.
- The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognised globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi or pre-schooling.
- Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools; vocational education to start from Class 6 with internships.
- Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue or regional languages. No language will be imposed on any student.
- Board examinations for Class 10 and 12 will be made easier. Assessment reforms with 360-degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes.
- A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
- Master of Philosophy courses to be discontinued.
- Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50 per cent by 2035; 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
- The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
- Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate transfer of credits.
- Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
- The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have four independent verticals - National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
- Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.
- 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.
- NEP 2020 emphasises setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
- New National Education Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up.
- The Centre and the states will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6per cent of GDP at the earliest.
Bharatiya Janta Party had promised to implement a new education policy in its manifesto ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy' led by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian submitted its report to the government in May 2016. The erstwhile HRD Ministry had prepared a document called 'Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016' based on the recommendations from the Subramanian committee.
Later, a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan had submitted the draft of the new National Education Policy to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' when he took charge last year. Following this, the HRD Ministry had asked placed this draft before the public to seek suggestions from various stakeholders. The HRD Ministry had received 2 lakh suggestions on the draft.