The government on Wednesday gave India’s new National Education Policy 2020, which provides for major reforms in higher education, increased focus on non-academic skills and increased inclusion through language diversity. The main features of the new education policy is replacing the 10+2 structure of school curriculum with a 5+3+3+4 curriculum structure.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “Cabinet under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval to new education policy for the 21st century. It is important, as for 34 years there were no changes in the education policy.” The Cabinet has also approved a proposal to rename the Ministry of Human Resource Development as the Ministry of Education.Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said there would be a single regulator for all higher education institutions and MPhil would be discontinued.
The new policy aims to achieve 100 per cent youth and adult literacy in India. While announcing the policy details, Amit Khare, Secretary, Higher Education said that the government aims to increase the public investment in the education sector from the current 4.3 per cent to reach 6 per cent of GDP at the earliest.
Highlights of India’s new National Education Policy 2020 :
1. What does 5+3+3+4 mean?
The 10+2 structure has been replaced with 5+3+3+4, consisting of 12 years of school and three of anganwadi or pre-school. This will be split as follows: a foundational stage (ages three and eight), three years of pre-primary (ages eight to 11), a preparatory stage (ages 11 to 14) and a secondary stage (ages 14 to 18). According to the government the revised structure will “bring hitherto uncovered age group of three to six years, recognized globally as crucial stage for development of mental faculties, under school curriculum”.
2. Foundational Stage (5 years ) :
For ages 3 to 8 years, the foundational stage has been suggested. The multi-level play activity based learning would include 3 years at anganwadi’s, pre-school or as commonly called play schools and the kindergarten classes catering to ages 3 to 6. To this, the grades 1 and 2 or classes 1 and 2 for students of ages 6 to 8 would also be added, keeping the focus on development of language skills and teaching by play based.
3. Preparatory Stage (3 years ) :
This is for ages 8 to 11 or classes 3 to 5. The focus would shift to play, discovery and activity based and interaction classroom learning. The focus till this stage would remain on development of language and numeracy skills, in accordance with the cognitive development of a child. Medium of instruction till Grade 5 would be home language or mother tongue or local language. Three languages would be taught to all students – and states would decide which ones.
4. Middle Stage (3 years) :
Referring to the classes 6 to 8, the new structure aims at transforming the pedagogy from the existing system to a more experiential learning in the sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences and humanities. Focus would be on critical learning objectives and not on rote learning.
5. Secondary Stage (4 years ) :
This includes classes 9 to 12 or the secondary and the higher secondary . The changes suggested at this stage include a multidisciplinary study where students would be able to pick and choose any set of subjects from the available structure. The focus would be on greater critical thinking and flexibility, allowing the child to pick subjects as per their interests – even technical and arts.
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6. Four year undergraduate programme :
The National Education Policy 2020 proposes a four-year undergraduate programme with multiple exit options to give students flexibility. A multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree will be awarded after completing four years of study. Students exiting after two years will get a diploma and those leaving after 12 months will be have studied a vocational/professional course. MPhil (Master of Philosophy) courses are to be discontinued.
7. Multilingualism and Mother tongue :
The mother tongue or local or regional language is to be the medium of instruction in all schools up to Class 5 (preferably till Class 8 and beyond), according to the policy. Under the NEP 2020,. Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula. Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options. No language will be imposed on any student. Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level.
8. Increase GER to 50% by 2035:
National Education Policy 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035. At least 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions.
9. New assessment scheme of National Education Policy 2020
Standards for this will be established by a new national assessment centre – PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
As per the new assessment scheme, school exams in grade 3,5 and 8 will test child’s basic learning with a 360-degree progress report card and aims at reducing curriculum load of students and allowing them to become more “multi-disciplinary” and “multi-lingual”. There will be no rigid separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities and between vocational and academic stream
10. National Scholarship Fund & E-Education.
NEP 2020 focus on financial support for students will enable equity in access for all Indians to receive a quality higher education degree. The National Scholarship Fund can be modelled as a Public-Private-Partnership, with a private-sector board to oversee the organization. 50% of the funding can be raised from citizens all over India on a 100% tax exemption.
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.
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