LAST MAJOR STEP WHICH WAS TAKEN IN THE FIELD OF EDUCATION BEFORE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2020 WAS THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION, 2009
The last major step which was taken in the field of education was that Article 21A was inserted in the Indian Constitution ie, the Right to Education which provides free and compulsory education for the children between the age group of 6 years to 14 years. It was in the year 2009 and also mandated a 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of the society. It also enforced education as a Fundamental Right.
In India, the National Education Policy was introduced for the first time in the year 1968 under the Government of Indira Gandhi who is the former Prime Minister of our country. The second National Education Policy was introduced in the year 1986 under the Government of Rajiv Gandhi which was modified in the year 1992 by the P.V. Narasimha Rao Government. After 34 years of no change in the education policies and education system, a new policy of education is introduced known as the ‘National Education Policy 2020’ under the Narendra Modi Government.
The National Education Policy came into force on 29th July 2020. This policy has been made and drafted with a holistic approach that provides an equal share for academic, vocational, and extracurricular activities. The main focus is to motivate the students and help them develop skills as per their area of interest and field of choice. This approach helps the students to face the atrocities of the real world immediately after their education is completed.
The main aim to introduce this policy is to-
● make India a Global Knowledge Superpower.
● facilitate a comprehensive, participatory, universal, holistic approach along with a variety of field experiences.
● take a progressive shift towards a scientific approach in the field of education.
● cater to a child’s needs in a better manner.
● make India at par along with the other leading countries of the world.
● increase the standard of education.
● achieve global standards of education.
In the year 2014 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to bring a new ‘National Education Policy’ in their manifesto. In 2015, when Smriti Irani was at the post of HRD Minister (Ministry of Human Resource Development) a new committee was formed in which T.S.R.Subramanian was appointed as its chairman. This committee submitted a report on the Education Policy on 7th May 2016. The main objective of the report which was submitted by this committee was to improve the education quality, bring the credibility of the education, addressing the gaps in the existing education system, and implementation of the new policies. The draft policy made by the committee was released and made open to new suggestions but nothing was brought into action. In 2019, under the chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan who is a former ISRO Chief, a new committee was formed. The committee constituted 9 members and drafted a National Education Policy in the same year that is 2019 which is now passed and is known as the National Education Policy 2020.
Three most important changes in this new National Education Policy
● HRD Ministry (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has been retitled as the Ministry of Education (M.Ed.).
● The government has proposed to increase the GDP(Gross Domestic Product) Investment in Education from 1.6% to 6%.
● A focus has been shifted towards the Gross Enrollment Ratio and is stated that it will be increased to 50% by the year 2035.
The 10 + 2 structure in the education system has been replaced with 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 structure. So, now it includes 12 years of schooling and 3 years of pre-schooling/ Anganwadi/ Balvatika. Number 5, the first part of the new structure includes pre-schooling of three years and schooling for the students of classes 1 and 2. Number 3, the second part of the new structure includes schooling for the students of classes 3, 4, and 5. Repeated number 3, the third part of the new structure includes schooling for the students of classes 6, 7, and 8. Lastly, number 4, the fourth part of the new structure includes schooling for the students of classes 9, 10, 11, and 12.
● Students will be taught coding from class 6.
● The mother tongue can be selected as a medium of instruction till the students of class 5 to keep the local language in the grip.
● A 360-degree holistic report card will be made which will not only contain academic, co-curricular, and practical results but also the skills and capabilities of a student.
● The Board examinations for classes 10 and 12 will be made easier and to test the core knowledge rather than sticking to memorising of facts. Moreover, each student would be able to take the examination twice and the best of two attempts will be taken into consideration.
● The Board examinations will be redesigned and a more holistic approach will be adopted such as dividing the examination into two parts- descriptive and multiple-choice questions.
● Both public and private schools shall be governed by an independent authority.
● A great emphasis will be put on the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. There would be no rigid separation between academics and other vocational and extracurricular activities at school.
● To keep a track of a student’s progress throughout school years and not just in Classes 10 and 12, all the students will have to take school examinations in class 3, class 5, and class 8 which will be conducted by the suitable, relevant authority. These examinations will focus on testing the achievements of a student’s basic learning outcomes via assessing the core concepts and the knowledge from the prescribed curriculum along with required relevant skills and application of knowledge in real-life situations, rather than mere memorising.
● As per the National Economic Policy, 2020 every student will have to take a fun course, during classes 6 to 8 such as pottery, carpentry, gardening, etc., as made clear by the States and the local communities. All students will have to take part in a ten day bagless period sometime during class 6-8 where they will be given an opportunity to do an internship with local experts such as potters, artists, carpenters, gardeners, etc. Similar internship opportunities to learn vocational subjects may be made available for the students throughout classes 6-12, including the holiday periods for them.
● The holistic undergraduate program will be introduced which will include flexible curriculum, vocational subjects, and interdisciplinary combination of subjects. This means that the strict division of streams like science, commerce, and humanities will no longer exist in higher education and students will be able to make their combination of subjects.
● In terms of language, Sanskrit will be offered for learning at every level of education. Moreover, other classical languages will also be available as an option at every level of education.
● The term ‘Academic Bank of Credits’ has been introduced which means that if a student wants to explore a different field of education from what he was pursuing previously he can take a one-year sabbatical from the stream and explore the new arena. On their return, they can rejoin without wasting any academic year from the same position they left by taking a year off.
● Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses have been made flexible by creating multiple entries and exit options.
● The Degree of MPhil has been discontinued.
● To encourage multidisciplinary education, ‘Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities’ (MERU) will be created at the level of IITs and IIMs.
● To foster research culture in higher education the ‘National Research Foundation’ will be set up as an apex body. Along with this, the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will set up this foundation as a dedicated and sole body of research. But it will exclude medical and legal education. HECI will have four independent names,
(a) The National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) is made for regulating;
(b) The General Education Council (GEC) is made for the setting of standards;
(c) The Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) is for the funding;
(d) The National Accreditation Council (NAC) is for accreditation, acknowledging and reconising.
● By the year 2035, the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) will be raised to 50% from 26.3% in present.
● All higher education institutions, whether public or private, will be governed by the same set of norms, standards, regulations, and academic standards.
● The National Testing Agency (NTA) will be offering a high-quality common aptitude test (CAT), as well as a specialised common subject exams in the streams of sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year for university entrance exams for students.
● For any graduation course if the student completes only one year of education he will be eligible to get a basic certificate, if the student completes two years of education then he will be eligible to get a Diploma certificate and if the student completes the full course then he will be eligible to get a degree certificate. This change is adopted so not a single year of any student will be wasted if he discontinues from the course. A certificate will be issued after a student completes one year in a discipline or field which also includes vocational and other professional areas, or a diploma after a student completes two years of such study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a student completes a three year program. However, the four year multi-disciplinary Bachelor’s program, shall be a preferred option since it provides the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors subject as per the choices of the student.
● After consulting with NCERT, National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021 will be created which is a new and comprehensive curriculum for teachers.
● 10 years down the lane that is by the year 2030, the minimum degree which will be required to qualify for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education).
● National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be created which will be an autonomous body to provide a high platform for the free exchange of innovative ideas on technological usage, learning, administration, planning, and assessment of them.
● Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development (PARAKH) which is a National Assessment Centre has been created to assess the students.
● This National Education Policy 2020 has paved a way for foreign universities to set up their campuses in India.
● An emphasis has been made to set up the fund for gender inclusion and special education zones to help the people of disadvantaged regions and groups.
● It has been decided to set up the National Institute for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit, an Indian Institution of Translation and Interpretation.
● The Ministry will set up a dedicated unit for creating digital infrastructure, content, and capacity building. The integration of technology will be done to improve classroom processes.
● The meritorious students who belong to SC, ST OBC and other socially and economically disadvantaged groups will be given incentives.
● The private institutions will be encouraged to provide scholarships to their students.
● The standalone health science universities, technical universities, legal and agricultural universities will be aiming at the becoming of multi-disciplinary institutions.
The CABE will continuously monitor the framework of education so that it can attain the vision and act as an authority in need of any decision making. The first step is taken by replacing MHRD as MoE. It will evaluate, articulate, develop, and revise the vision of education.
Affordable and quality education can be financed by investing in education and increasing the GDP and GER. Further investment can be made for research universities and other such centers of learning and education. Infrastructural development can also be improved by investing.
Hence, the National Education Policy, 2020 aims at raising the standards of Indian education and meeting international standards of education. It further creates many impactful changes for teachers, universities, students in school, and higher education. This policy takes hold of the holistic approach and will be effective if implemented and executed as per the planning.