The government has replaced the 34-year-old National Policy on Education, framed in 1986, with the National Education Policy of 2020. The NEP 2020 has introduced several reforms in school education. Here is all you need to know about the new education policy reforms for students, teachers and schools.
Top 10 major reforms in school education: Highlights
1. Schooling will start at the age of 3 years
Earlier, schooling was mandatory for children between the age of 6 and 14 years. However, under the National Education Policy (NEP 2020), education will be compulsory for children between the age of 3 and 18 years.
2. 5+3+3+4 curricular and teaching structure
The new National Education Policy aims to shift from decades-old 10+2 format to a 5+3+3+4 system, keeping in mind a child's development and capabilities. Click here to understand the 5+3+3+4 format under NEP 2020.
3. Emphasis on mother tongue as medium of instruction
The National Education Policy puts emphasis on a child's mother tongue as the medium of instruction. However, The NEP only recommends the mother tongue as a medium of instruction; it has not been made compulsory. The policy states that children learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their mother tongue.
“Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language, mother tongue, local language or the regional language. Thereafter, the home or local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. This will be followed by both public and private schools," the policy states.
4. Universalisation of Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE)
Early childhood care and education is more than the preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and well-being. Anganwadis and pre-schools will have teachers and Anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum. The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the ministries of education, women and child development (WCD), health and family welfare (HFW), and tribal affairs.
5. No rigid separation between Science, Arts and Commerce streams
Under the National Education Policy, there will be no stiff separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams. Students can select subjects of their liking across streams.
6. Internships and vocational education from Class 6
The NEP 2020 states that vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships.
7. Focus on attaining foundational literacy and numeracy
A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will be set up by the education ministry. By 2025, states will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all students by grade 3.
8. Board exams to have low stakes
Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be “redesigned” and 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. The changes in the board structure which seek to make the exams a test of “core competencies” will be implemented from the 2021 academic session.
9. Reduction in curriculum to core concepts
The policy states that curricular content will be reduced to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and greater focus will be on experiential learning.
10. Education of gifted children
Emphasis will be given on socially and economically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs), which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities. This includes setting up of the gender inclusion fund and also special education zones for disadvantaged regions. The policy states that children with disabilities will be able to attend regular school from the foundational stage to higher education, with support of educators with cross-disability training and technology-based tools tailored to suit their needs.