NEP, which is now known as the National Education Policy, is a guiding document for both the state and Centre. The NEP helps educators and policymakers to shape their views.
The first NEP-like document came in 1966 under the chairmanship of Prof. D S Kothari.
The second policy for education came in 1986 after 20 years. The plan of action for this policy came to light in 1992 after a long gap of six years.
After that, this new NEP is coming after 34 years, and it also shows the priorities of the government and its concern about education and educational causes. The chairman of the last NEP committee submitted its report on 30th May 2019, and after more than one year of its submission the report has come out in the form of the NEP policy.
The policy has gone through extensive discussion and deliberation overseen by three Human Resource Development (HRD) ministers.
It was initiated by Smriti Irani who ran an extensive campaign for it and did set the vision for the NEP during her tenure. She did consult all three tiers of Panchayati raj systems viz village panchayat, block panchayat and district panchayat along with people at the state level.
NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY,2020
Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 intending to introduce several changes in the Indian education system – from the school to college level.
The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education.
The NEP cleared by the Cabinet is only the third major revamp of the framework of education in India since independence.
- Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
- To bring 2 crores out of school children back into the mainstream through an open schooling system.
- The current 10+2 system is 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.
- It will bring the uncovered age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for the development of the mental faculties of a child.
- It will also have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre-schooling.
- Class 10 and 12 board examinations to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorised facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice.
- School governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.
- 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/regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
- 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 National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
- By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
- Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education is to be raised to 50% by 2035. Also, 3.5 crore seats are to be added in higher education.
- The current Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 26.3%.
- Holistic Undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
- M.Phil. courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels will now be interdisciplinary.
- 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 umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
Also, HECI will be having four independent verticals namely,
• National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,
• General Education Council (GEC) for standard-setting,
• Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,
• National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
o Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges.
• Over a period of time, every college is expected to develop into either an autonomous degree-granting College or a constituent college of a university.
COMPARISON WITH PREVIOUS POLICY
At a strategic level, the differences in both the policies are primarily around three major dimensions, namely, the vision of the society, social purpose, and purpose of education. Both the education policies were developed, keeping in mind the structure of society.
In a way, the policies of 1986 and 2020 have a vividly distinct idea of Indian society. In the 1980s, world economies were largely local, and some were in the transient phase. Comparatively, the world economies today are operating as complex global entities. Because of the same, the 1986 NPE focused on standardization and equal opportunities for all.
The point of difference is concerning social purpose. The NEP 1986 was geared towards providing standard educational opportunities to various social groups therefore, its primary purpose was largely centred on the inclusion of disadvantaged groups.
While the NEP 2020 retains the focus on social inclusivity, it also hopes for the creation of special education zones in the areas having a significant proportion of disadvantaged groups. Additionally, NEP 2020 focuses on the economic value arising out of educational learning and training.
The NEP 2020 has a significant focus on skill-based learning and employability arising out of it. This is evident from an increased focus on providing technical skills at various levels to those seeking secondary and post-secondary education.
Thirdly, the difference lies in their understanding of the aims of education. The earlier policy stressed more about understanding the world and human life. According to NPE 1986, the aim of education is threefold, namely, the overall development of human resources international cooperation, and peaceful co-existence, development of socialism, secularism, and democracy.
The present policy focused more on national development by creating citizens with knowledge, skills, and individual development. Specifically, the aim of education as defined by NEP 2020 is to achieve full human potential, development of a just and equitable society, and promoting national development.
The curriculum in the new policy is more inclined to allow for critical thinking, discussion, and analytical learning, which aims to enrich India’s talent and human resource pool.
Overall, the NPE 1986 created a pool of education and training human resources who contributed to the value chain but NEP 2020 dreams of creating human resources who will create value propositions.
New NEP is a good step because, with the implementation of the new NEP 2020, the Indian education system is poised to become closer to international standards. In an online survey conducted across 1103 students across India, nearly 96.4% were optimistic about the results that come out of the implementation of the new policy.