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National Education Policy 2020

The new National Education Policy (NEP) was unveiled on 30th July, indicating large-scale significant and transformational reforms in the education system of the country. 

Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar has issued a statement about NEP. She said, “We are happy that the multidisciplinary approach we have been practicing is recognised as the right way to prepare students for challenges in their careers. We are also happy that continuous assessment will be the way to evaluate students, which is something we believe in. The Government-recognised multiple entry and exit options at the Undergraduate level will give more options to the youth. This, supported by an Academic Bank of Credit to digitally store academic credits, will go a long way in providing a favourable environment to students to plan their education. Ashoka has a unique one-year multidisciplinary Young India Fellowship programme that is crafted to offer students a rich postgraduate experience in one year. The NEP also has made a bold move to resolve the binary of research and teaching and the focus on research will foster a strong culture for innovation. This, along with enhancement of digital infrastructure, will match our education system with the requirements of today’s dynamic business and economic environment.”

Key highlights from the policy are:

School education 

  1. From 10+2 to 5+3+3+4 structure – The current structure of 10+2 education will be modified with a new pedagogical and curricular restructure to 5+3+3+4 covering ages 3-18 pointing towards a more holistic development of learners.

  2. Reduce curriculum content – Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, to make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning.

  3. Multi-stream educational approach – Learners will have flexibility in choosing subjects across all streams they’d want to pursue. All subjects will be offered at two level of proficiency.

  4. Board exams – Board exams to test only competencies and could be modular (depending) and will be offered twice a year.

  5. Multilingualism and the power of language – The policy advocates for mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond. No language will be imposed on any student.

  6. Assessment Reforms – The approach will be towards a more competency-based regular assessment which tests analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity. A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be set up as a standard-setting body.

  7. Equitable and Inclusive Education – Learning for All – The policy proposes for a ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ and setting up ‘Special Education Zones’ for disadvantaged regions and groups. The NCERT and NCTE will develop guidelines for the education of gifted children.

Higher education 

  1. Increase GER to 50% by 2035 – The policy aims to increase Gross Enrolment Ration (GER) in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035. Institutions will have the option to run Open Distance Learning (ODL) and online programmes, provided they are accredited to do so, in order to enhance their offerings, improve access, increase GER, and provide opportunities for lifelong learning

  2. Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education – The policy introduces broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic undergraduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. The structure and lengths of degree programmes shall be adjusted accordingly. The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications, e.g., a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme.

  3. An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) is set to be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognised Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) so that the degrees from an HEI can be awarded taking into account credits earned.

  4. SAT-like college test – The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct common college entrance exam twice a year.

  5. Model public universities for holistic and multidisciplinary education called Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, etc., will be set up and will aim to attain the highest global standards in quality education.

  6. Internalisation – India will be promoted as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs. An International Students Office at each HEI hosting foreign students will be set up to coordinate all matters relating to welcoming and supporting students arriving from abroad. Research/teaching collaborations and faculty/student exchanges with high-quality foreign institutions will be facilitated, and relevant mutually beneficial MOUs with foreign countries will be signed.

  7. Financial support for students – Financial assistance to students shall be made available through various measures. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.

  8. National Research Foundation (NRF) will be established as an apex body. The overarching goal of the NRF will be to enable a culture of research to permeate through our universities.

  9. Transforming the Regulatory System of Higher Education – Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for 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.

  10. Curbing Commercialisation of Education – Multiple mechanisms with checks and balances will combat and stop the commercialization of higher educationAll education institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as a ‘not for profit’ entity. Surpluses, if any, will be reinvested in the educational sector.

  11. Effective Governance and Leadership for Higher Education Institutions – The definition of the university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive universities to teaching-intensive universities and autonomous degree-granting colleges. The policy suggests through a suitable system of graded accreditation and graded autonomy, and in a phased manner over a period of 15 years, all HEIs in India will aim to become independent self-governing institutions pursuing innovation and excellence. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an autonomous degree-granting college, or a constituent college of a university.

Open and Distance Learning: This will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER. Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.

Online and Digital Education: A dedicated unit for the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education.

Technology in Education: An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.

Professional Education: Preparation of professionals must involve an education in the ethic and importance of public purpose, an education in the discipline, and an education for practice. All institutions offering either professional or general education will aim to organically evolve into institutions/clusters offering both seamlessly, and in an integrated manner by 2030.

The complete policy can be accessed here.

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