National Education Policy, A glimmer of hope

We all at times have felt that there is some inherent flaw, a mismatch, a struggle between the passion of the soul and the institution that is given the responsibility to stoke that fire. This ambiguous, far-fetched, insentient body of institutions is our Education system. It has been more than 34 years since it was last dusted or repaired. I used to tell myself that I must follow my passion and not to be bound in an anemic structure of schooling lacking the tools to ignite passion, meaning, and innovation. National Education Policy (NEP 2020) changes that feeling, it does bring back the hopes of revival and rebirth of the Education of the 21st century, it dusts off my pessimism I harbored for years. It touches all the corners of improvements in terms of technology, language, assessments, and multi-disciplinary opportunities.

So let us talk about all the new-age necessary changes that have been made by MHRD in its New Policy. MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) which is responsible for the implementation and formulation of the National Policy on Education approved by the Union Cabinet of India and to ensure that it is implemented in letter and spirit has been renamed and now will be called the Ministry of Education.

“When a country plans to make big changes, seeks prosperity and wealth, the first step towards it is through the restructuring of Education Institutions and their functioning”.

We all know that India is a developing country, the new policy presses an increase in government education expenditure to 6% of GDP from a mere 3.1% last year (2019). Indian Universities with good performance will be encouraged to set up their campus in different countries. Top universities from all around the globe will be facilitated to open their campuses in India. The colossal task of the implementation of the new policy will be completed by 2040.

The new curricula and pedagogical structure will now be guided by a more exclusive 5+3+3+4 design:

  1. 5 years of foundation stage (up to class 2)

  2. 3 years of preparatory stage (from classes 3 to 5)

  3. 3 years of middle stage (from classes 6 to 8)

  4. 4 year of the secondary stage (from classes 9 to 12)

Exams will be held only for classes 3rd, 5th, and 8th. Boards will continue as they are but will be gradually re-designed. The pedagogy will now accommodate and accept native languages as the medium of instruction till 5th grade. This will allow a more conducive milieu for learning and better insight into the subject matter. The emphasis on the English Language will be reduced and support for indigenous art and literature will find more expressions.

In this technocratic world where technology plays an integral and palpable role in all aspects of human activities, coding will be introduced as a subject from 6th grade to hone the skills of the students. A comprehensive 360-degree report of the student’s performance will be provided that does not merely gauge on his/her performance in terms of marks but also in terms of skills and creativity.

The age-old tussle and bickering between science and commerce will soon be a part of the nostalgic legacy as the new policy dismantles these harsh divisions and allows the freehand on the choice of subjects. Students can now club diverse subjects like physics and fashion and study it without any hindrance. This loosening of stringent curricula does bring a breath of fresh air to the sultry and lackadaisical institutions lacking creativity and innovation. Students will now don’t have to struggle with the archaic Confucian style of learning where rote-memorization plays a pivotal role in deciding their future.

For colleges, NEP 2020 plans to conduct a common entrance SAT-like exam which will be conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) twice a year. The college will no longer have affiliations with Universities, the status of Deemed University will also be ended. The colleges will be given a graded autonomy to provide degrees in the course of the next 15 years.

There will be multiple entries and exit with credit storage and credit transfer. After the first year of the graduation, students will get a certificate, after 2nd year they will be eligible for the diploma, after 3rd they will get their degree, and in some areas, after 4th year students will be provided with a degree and research certification. If a student wants to drop out in between the college the credit for the past semesters will be stored in the Academic Bank of Credit and you can use those credits for further education. Even if the student wants to complete his course that he/she left midway, the student can return in a limited time period and can continue the study from where the student has left. All the big educational institutions (like IITs) will have to make provisions for Multi-disciplinary education by 2040 and the courses will have an option for majors and minors. And students should not suffer due to long-distance, so every institution would have to provide the option for online learning by 2030.

NEP proposes internship opportunities for students between Classes 6 to 12. NEP wishes to set up “skill labs” in collaborations with local industries and to mentor local experts in the field for practical exposure of the students. Vocational courses are also given great emphasis and will be introduced in secondary schools in a phased manner. There is also a proposal to set up vocational courses through online mode.

The report proposes an education policy that seeks to address the challenges of access to equity, quality, affordability, and accountability faced by the current education system. In short, the NEP 2020 proposes an overhaul of an Education system that lost its sheen long ago and was no more serving the need of a Modern India. NEP 2020 seeks to fuse the old and new, its emphasis on vernaculars and introduction of coding as a subject in early grades endeavors to strike a balance.

By Nandini Goyal

Nandini Goyal is a volunteer with Quillopia. The views expressed are the author’s own.

Image source: Google