New Education Policy 2020-India has a long history of holistic education. Education in ancient India was concerned not just with the acquisition of knowledge for living life in this world, but for complete realisation and liberation of the self from the worldly shackles. Education in India got enriched through the mixing of cultures that came to India from the invasions, till the arrival of the British. Realising the value of education as an important tool in life building and character building, after independence several initiatives were taken and are still being taken in the arena of education
Education has the power to make the world a better place. It is a tool to achieve Principles of the New Education Policy prosperity, development, empowerment, freedom and self-reliance. It helps to develop foundational cognitive skills of literacy and numeracy, higher order cognitive skills of critical thinking and problem solving and soft skills of cultural awareness, empathy, perseverance, grit, teamwork and leadership.
If the education becomes inclusive, it becomes one of the most effective tools to promote a vibrant and tolerant society. The world is undergoing rapid changes. There is a sizeable shift in the understanding of the world with the emergence of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence etc. The present world problems call for expertise in multiple disciplines. These disciplines particularly involve mathematics, computer science, data science in conjunction with subjects like humanities, social science etc. With the quickly changing employment and global ecosystem, it becomes increasingly important for the children to be creative, multi-disciplinary, and be adaptive and innovative.
The New Education Policy has been launched to provide accessible, equitable, and affordable education to all without any discrimination and consideration of their socio-economic background.
The Principal of the New Education Policy
The New Education Policy of 2020 is based on the following principles
It seeks to provide flexibility for learners to choose their learning trajectory and choose their path according to their own talents.
To provide holistic education across all spectrums such as science, social sciences, arts, humanities, sports etc.
• Ethical and Constitutional Values
It aims to inculcate values of empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, etiquette, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, equality and justice.
•Equity and Inclusion
It will be the aim of all educational decisions, to ensure that all the students are able to thrive in the education system.
• Professional Values
All the teachers and educators will be recruited through rigorous preparation. There will be emphasis on preparation, continuous professional development, positive working environment and service development.
•Integrity and Transparency
It seeks to insure a transparent educational system while ensuring innovation and out of the box ideas through autonomy, good governance and empowerment.
• Continuous Policy Making
Policies to be based on regular assessments of realities on the ground. Taking into account India’s rich, diverse, ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and tradition.
• Life Skills
Focussing on building life skills such as cooperation, teamwork, communication, resilience etc.
• Education as Fundamental
Right Education is a public service and not a commercial activity. It should be available to all with adequate quality. There shall be strong and sustainable investments in a vibrant public education system as well as an ethical and philanthropic private system.
Thus, with the application of these principles, the policy aims to build a globally excellent education system rooted in Indian ethos and aligned with the goal of a brilliant India. This will transform India into a global super power.
Components of the New Education Policy
The new policy aims to introduce several changes in the Indian education system from school to the college level. It includes revamping the following systems of education.
The policy states that 85% of a child’s brain development occurs prior to the age of 6 years. Thus, early childhood learning is of utmost priority. Early childhood care and education is the need of the hour. This early education and care will consist of flexible, multi-faceted, multi-level, play based, activity based and discovery based learning. It will develop motor skills, social-emotional, ethical skills and development of communication and early language skills.
The current system of 10+2 after the early education will be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curriculum structure. Now, the children in age group of 3 to 8 years will spend 5 years for foundational stage in preschool education and class 1st and 2nd. Three years will be spent at preparatory stage in classes 3 to 5.3 years will further be spent at middle stages in classes 6 to 8. Four years will be in secondary stage for classes 9 to 12.
Co-curriculum and vocational subjects such as sports, arts, commerce, science will be treated at the same level. Students will be allowed to take up coding from class 6 onwards to improve their computer skills. Vocational education will also be given a push with internships from class 6. The exams of class 10th and 12th will be made easier to test competencies rather than memorise facts with all the students allowed to take the exam twice. The curriculum content is set to be reduced in classes and there will be focus upon critical thinking, and more discovery based, inquiry based and analysis based learning. A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for teacher education will be formulated for improving teacher capabilities.
Medium of Instruction
The policy provides that medium of instruction in schools shall be the mother language till atleast class 5th but preferably till class 8th and beyond. This will improve learning at the school level and children will be better able to understand the subjects that they will study.
The rate of dropouts from school education will also be reduced and curtailed with overhaul in the curriculum to make it more engaging and useful to students in the vernacular medium. For those who have dropout from schools, overall initiatives will be taken in order to bring them back.
In higher education, the gross enrollment ratio will be raised to 50% by 2035 from the current 26.3%. The policy also provides for a multi-disciplinary higher education framework with portable credits and multiple exits with certificates, diploma and degrees. The aim of university education will be to develop good, well rounded and creative individuals. It proposes a higher education system consisting of large, multi-disciplinary universities and colleges with atleast one in every district.
It proposes increased access to higher education through open schooling, online education and open distance learning. It seeks to end the fragmentation of higher education institutions and turn them into large multi-disciplinary universities. A comprehensive education system in the higher education institutions in which even the engineering institutions such as IITs will move towards more arts and humanities and students of arts and humanities learning more science so that education becomes more holistic.
Departments in languages, literature, music, philosophy, ideology, art, dance, theatre, education, statistics, pure and applied sciences, sociology, economics, sports etc. will be setup in higher education institutions to give education a comprehensive and holistic dimension.
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 setup a single umbrella body for entire higher education excluding medical and legal education.
College affiliation system will be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism will be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, every college will develop into an autonomous degree granting college or a constituent college of a university.
Multiple mechanisms with checks and balances will be established to stop commercialisation of higher education. All the educational institutions will be audited as per standards of audit. The private higher education institutions will be encouraged which have philanthropic and public spirited intent.
Literacy and basic education opens up a whole new world of personal, civic, economic and lifelong learning opportunities for individuals that enables them to progress personally and professionally . An outstanding adult education curriculum framework will be developed by a new and well supported institution under NCERT.
The curriculum will focus on foundational literacy and numeracy, critical life skills such as health awareness, childcare, family welfare, vocational skill development, basic education, and holistic education courses in arts, science, technology, culture, sports, recreation etc.
A suitable infrastructure will be ensured so that all interested adults will have access to education. Setting up of public libraries, which will be equipped with information and communication technology will be undertaken.
A national literacy mission will be started to mobilise community organisations and volunteers in order to achieve large scale adult literacy and education outcomes. Government will work closely with NGOs and other community organisations and support them as necessary.
Promoting Indian Arts and Culture
The preservation and promotion of India’s cultural wealth will be considered as high priority for the country. Cultural awareness is important for the individual as well in order to provide him with a sense of identity, belonging, as well as an appreciation of other cultures and identities.
Initiatives will be taken from pre-primary level through the higher education level for exposing the students to Indian music, arts, crafts and languages. An accurate account of traditional Indian knowledge across humanities, sciences, arts and crafts and other sports will be undertaken.
India will also expand its institutes and universities studying all classical languages and literature with strong efforts to collect, preserve, translate and study the tens of thousands of manuscripts from ancient India.
All languages in India and their associated art, culture will be documented via a web based platform/portal/wiki in order to preserve endangered and all vulnerable Indian languages and their associated rich local arts and culture. The platform will contain videos, dictionaries, recordings, poetry, folk songs etc. to preserve them.
Further, a new body known as National Education Alliance for Technology (NEAT) will be setup to provide a platform for the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration for both school and higher education. It aims to create a rich software for students and teachers so that education reaches all. New technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be used in fields of research with strong data backed framework. This will fulfil the needs and demands of 21st century students and the teachers.
How will it Improve Education in India?
The New Education Policy will give importance to student’s practical knowledge and skills instead of pushing them towards rote learning. It is going to help the students develop scientific temper from a very young age. It will have the following benefits:
• It is going to focus upon universalising access from early childhood to higher education, integrating over two crore out of school children and aims to provide education to even the socio-economically disadvantaged children.
• Improving early access to education and childcare will strengthen the foundations of children’s education and make them better humans. A strong foundation will also help the young children in adapting and learning quickly.
• Teacher education will be given a push. It will ensure that the right teachers teach the students. Comprehensive review of teacher training will ensure that teaching capabilities are enhanced, which in turn will enhance the learning outcomes.
• Increasing technology use will be able to bridge the gap in the existing system, students who were not able to get access to education will be connected to education system with the help of technology. Technology will also aim to defy the traditional barriers of caste, class, society, occupation etc.
• The policy seeks to deregulate the institutions and remove bureaucratic shackles. It will give more autonomy to the educational institutions which will improve their efficiency and delivery of education. It will improve the quality of institutions everywhere across the country. Universities will be able to introduce new courses without going through cumbersome regulatory processes.
• Adult education is going to develop at a faster pace. Vocational education for adults will enable them to get incorporated in the new world which requires learning of new skills for a better and prosperous future.
• The focus on learning through mother tongue will lead to intensive development of children at an early age. They will be able to relate to the local culture, geography, history and local arts. This will enable them to become good learners. It will increase their capacity of learning and understanding
The New Education Policy is a step in the right direction. It focuses on critical thinking, experiencial learning, interactive classroom, integrated pedagogy, and competency based education. Inclusive digital education serves as an empowering component of the policy. If investments in the education system will be made and all the states cooperate in fulfilling the aspirations mentioned in the policy, India will be able to reap the benefits of its young demography. NEP could shape the future of education across India. Through a robust education system, India will take a giant step towards establishing itself as a knowledge superpower.
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