India’s New Education Policy 2020 recommends that scholars must first learn to learn.

New Education Policy 2020
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The New Education Policy of India in its’ recommendations attempts to recast the dichotomous life of Indian scholars who toil under a grade based learning system for a good part of their early life only to discover that they have no real world skills even after completing graduation.

The Union Cabinet recently gave its assent to the much-awaited National Education Policy, scrapping the almost 3-decade old former Policy on Education and heralding a new chapter in the history of India. With the introduction of the new policy, the government announced sweeping institutional reforms to create an educational framework in concurrence with international standards that encourages multifaceted learning with urbane and liberal choices. Exams too, will be reborn in a modular academic assignment format.

Whereas the directive principles behind the erstwhile policy were inclusion, infrastructure, teacher’s training, and prevention of commercialization, the new policy is guided by the need to remove rigid format and to incorporate industrial exposure within the gambit of academia.

#NEP 2020 outline, curated by a Nine Member distinguished committee headed by the Ex ISRO Chief Dr Kasturirangan nullifies the fear of the fabled board exams and challenges to change the very method of imparting education in India from being grade based to skill-based whilst combining all indigenous learning methodologies, the tradition of ‘Seva’ (Community Service) and with a crystal clear emphasis on liberal arts as it was practised historically at Nalanda and Takshashila but in a millennial-friendly avatar.

How will the #NEP2020 affect education at the school level?  What will be higher education in India be like post-2020? And above all are we Indians ready for such a paradigm change where physical sit in exams will be replaced by online academic assignments? Let’s find out…

How will the New School System look like?

The policy recommends 3 years of pre-learning as mandatory followed by Class 1 and 2; defined as the five years of foundational phase. Next is three years of preparatory phase followed by 3 years of middle schools and finally the 4 years of secondary education equivalent to a Graduation Degree.

R.I.P Board Exams.

Schools will now be practicing a 5+3+3+4 year system which will succeed the now defunct 10+2 system of education. Board Exams will be replaced by a modular assessment model which will allow students to take 3 subject board examinations per semester with a total of 24 subject assessments spread over three years.

#NEP2020 – Key recommendations in a nutshell.

Under the NEP, the Human Resource Development Ministry will be renamed as the “Ministry of Education”, providing a clear elucidation of its work.

The 10+2 format will now be 5+3+3+4 years of education and the college begins with the 12th  year of secondary education. 

Whereas the old policy mandated school education from the age of 5 to 14, the NEP also mandates three years of pre-schooling. The new policy has commissioned a total of 15 years of school education and advises to abolish the high stake ‘Board Exams’.

Final exams are now revamped as State Census Examinations in Grade 3, 5 and 8. During middle school education, scholars are required to take 5-6 subject streams per semester while the year will be divided into 2 academic semesters.

The overriding change, if brought about by the NEP is will facilitate easy entry and exit into degree programs. The panel has recommended that the Undergraduate degree must span over 3-4 years with exit and entry options. Completion of 1st year will reward students with a diploma and a two-year study will be rewarded with an advanced diploma.

Greater emphasis will be given on the mother tongue of the student as the predominant medium of instruction and discourse, until the 5th grade and even beyond. This is the most widely debated policy change brought about by the NEP. Though the policy still follows the language learning road map provided by the “Three Language Formula” of the previous education policy, the native language shall remain the primary medium of academic discourse.

Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) shall take over as the overarching body which will govern and regulate higher education across all academic domains, excluding only medical and legal education. HECI will now be the singular body for academic regulation in India thereby relinquishing the need for institutions such as UGC, AICTE and NCTE. UGC will, however, act as the grant facilitator.

M Phil Or the Masters of Philosophy degree, an advanced research program that was widely deemed as redundant in comparison to PhD or Doctorate programs, has been scrapped by the NEP. It recommends a four-year Liberal Education Degree reviving the legacy of Takshashila and Nalanda style of education in India.

There will be common entrance exams for entry into higher education institutions. Masters Program too will come with multiple choices. A two year program where the 2nd year is fully devoted to research or an integrated five year program Bachelor cum Masters study program.

What more changes will the new education policy bring about?

Greater Emphasis on the mother tongue: The main purpose of the reform is to ensure that any language, foreign or native, is not imposed on the students. The policy reform has also been devised from the focal point that a young learner can grasp trivial concepts in his native language better than in a new language. The #NEP does not mandate the adoption of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction.

Uniformity between public and private institutions: The new policy also postulates that there should be uniformity between private and public institutions of higher education in terms of regulation, accreditation and academic standards.

Flexibility in selection of educational streams: The NEP also removes the rigidity between the academic streams of Science, Arts and Commerce. One of the broad purposes of the New Education Policy is to remove the stringent separations between arts and sciences, and between vocational and academic streams. The new policy gives the students greater freedom to choose the subjects of their liking across different streams.

Vocational training: Importance will be given to vocational education from the 6th grade on wards. The NEP stresses the significance of industrial exposure and internships in helping the students learn the practicalities of the various disciplines.

Simplified entry and Exit: The New Education policy also brings about several changes in the model of undergraduate degree programs in India. The objective of these reforms is to help the students who are forced to drop out mid-way into their programs due to a lack of funds.

The students shall have multiple exit options within the duration of their Undergraduate program. The New Education Policy has made it mandatory for colleges to provide the student with a 1 year completion certificate if he wishes to leave after the first year of the program, a diploma if the student has completed 2 years and a bachelor’s degree if the student has completed 3 years of the program.

Centralized Academic Bank of Credit: The government will be establishing a central credit bank for digitally storing the academic credits earned by students pursuing various academic programs from all state-recognized institutions, public or private. The students shall have the option to continue their academic program after a break. The academic credits that they have earned in the courses thus far shall be reserved in a centralized Academic Bank of Credit.

How practical is the #NEP2020 in India and can we adapt swiftly?

With the New Education Policy, Modi Government aims to cleanse the education system and make India an educational hub for the international students. Although most academic experts coincide with the rationale of #NEP recommendations but have cast doubts about the availability of funds required to make such a major change. Almost all experts agree that effective implementation of the policy sans the corporate profiteering and red tape will be the key to creating India into a favoured education hub for her indigenous as well as global scholars.

What is your take on the NEP 2020 recommendations? We would be delighted to hear from you, please post your comments below or email us at dheraj@digiversal.in.

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