In major school-to-college reforms, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday unveiled the new National Education Policy 2020 bringing major reforms in the portals of learning.
School education reforms
1. One of the sweeping reforms is the transition from the decades-old 10+2 format to 5+3+3+4 structure.
Now, what is the 5+3+3+4 system of education?
This structure brings the already existing play schools within the ambit of ‘formal education'. Today, a student (in most urban cities) enters formal education at the age of three by joining a play school. The child then moves to a ‘school' which is Kindergarten 1 and 2 and this is followed by 12 years of secondary and higher secondary education. The new structure now proposes to divide the same structure into cognitive developmental stages of the child-–early childhood, school years, and secondary stage.
The question that remains is will the 10+2 system of education now become redundant?
No. With the 5+3+3+4 system of education, the 10+2 system would not change in terms of the years a child spends within the formal education system in the country at the school level.
2. Earlier, schooling was mandatory for children aged between six and 14 years. However, now education will be compulsory for children aged between the three and 18 years.
3. The Policy emphasises on a child's mother tongue as the medium of instruction. However, The NEP only recommends the mother tongue as a medium of instruction, but has not made it compulsory. The policy states that children learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their mother tongue.
4. Early childhood care and education are sufficient preparation for primary school. Such a preparation focuses on 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.
5. There will be no stiff separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, and between vocational and academic streams. Students can select subjects of their choice across streams.
6. Vocational education will now start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships.
7. 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 for Grades 10 and 12 will be “redesigned” and a new National Assessment Centre, Parakh, 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. 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. Emphasis will be laid on socially and economically disadvantaged groups. 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.
Now, coming to reforms in colleges and universities
1. The undergraduate degree will now either be of a three- or four-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period. Colleges will have to give a certificate after completion of one year in any discipline or field, including vocational and professional areas; a diploma after two years of study; and a Bachelors' degree after a three-year programme.
2. The new policy aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher educations, including vocational education, from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035. For this, 35 million new seats will be added to higher education institutions.
3. The government will set up a National Research Foundation (NRF) with the aim of catalysing and energising research and innovation across all academic disciplines, particularly at the university and college levels.
4. SAT-like college test - The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct a common college entrance exam twice every year.
5. Over the next 15 years, colleges will be given graded autonomy to issue degrees. Affiliation with universities will end, and these institutions will be given the status of ‘deemed to be university'.
6. The New policy suggests a cap on fee charged by private institutions in the higher education space.
7. Top-rated global universities will be facilitated to come to India. Similarly, top Indian institutions will be encouraged to go global.
8. MPhil would be discontinued, paving the way for students with masters' degrees to get PhD.
9. To ensure the preservation of all Indian languages, the NEP recommends setting up an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation, National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, strengthening of Sanskrit and all language departments in higher education institutions.
10. The National Education Policy aims to achieve 100 per cent youth and adult literacy.
Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Founder Chairman - SAI International Education Group and Advisor to the Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan, Govt. of Odisha shared his opinion and views on the New Education Policy. Listen to the podcast to know what he had to say