In a major reform in the country’s education system, the new National Education Policy (NEP) is approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, July 29. The policy provides a paradigmatic shift in education by changing the mode of instruction to mother tongue up to class 5 in all schools. It also proposes for increased focus on non-academic skills and its inclusion through course fluidity and language diversity. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval to new education policy for the 21st century. It is important, as, for 34 years, there were no changes in the education policy.” Also, the Ministry of Human Resource Development will be renamed as the Ministry of Education.
Some of the major reforms in NEP include plans to increase the public spending on education from around 4 percent to nearly 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Here are the key takeaways of NEP 2020:
1. The school curriculum’s 10+2 structure is to be replaced with a 5+3+3+4 curriculum structure that will correspond to the ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years, respectively. This new system will include 12 years of schooling, along with three years of pre-schooling/Anganwadi.
2. The mother tongue or the regional language or local language will be the medium of instruction in all schools up to class 5, but preferably till class 8 and beyond. Sanskrit, along with other classical languages and literature of India, will be offered as options to students. However, no language will be imposed on any student. Several foreign languages will be available at the secondary level.
3. Board exams will be continued for Grades 10 and 12. However, they will be redesigned with the aim of holistic development. School examinations will only be helpful for Grade 3, 5, and 8. The assessment for all other years will shift to a more competency-based regular assessment that will include critical thinking, test analysis, and conceptual clarity.
4. The policy aims to shift towards becoming “multi-lingual” and “multi-disciplinary.” The rigid separation between various streams like arts, sciences, and commerce, between academic and vocational, and between curricular and extra-curricular activities will be dismantled.
5. UG education can be of 3 to 4 years with multiple exit options. For example, a Certificate course after one year, a Diploma after two years, Bachelor’s Degree after three years, and a Bachelor’s Degree with Research after four years.
Other than these, the policy proposes Universal access to school education at all levels, attaining foundational literacy and numeracy, Holistic multidisciplinary education, Financial support to students, Promotion of Indian Languages, etc.
Keywords: Education Policy, National Education Policy, New Education Policy, School Education, Higher education