Author:- Jaipriya Saggu
The Union Cabinet of India replaced the three-decade-old National policy on Education, which was introduced in 1986. It framed the new education system on 29th July 2020, and it renamed the Ministry of Human Resource and Development as Ministry of Education. The new policy aims to modernize Schooling and restore Higher Education in India.
The committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy, which was chaired by former Cabinet Secretary Late Shri T.S.R Subramanian, began framing the new Education Policy, which presented its report in May 2016. By June 2017, a ‘Committee for the Draft National Education Policy’ was created under Dr K. Kastrurirangan. On 31st May 2019, the draft was submitted to the Honorable Human Resource Development Minister. Along with this, NEP2020 has been in the process of consultation that involved nearly two lakhs suggestions from Gram Panchayats, 6600 Blocks, 6000 ULBs, and 676 Districts
Why do we need a new education policy?
The new education policy was much needed in the country, as it is mentioned earlier that it got renewed after three decades. The root of our education is in our schools. At the same time, most of India’s schools follow a CBSE-based pattern, which recently excluded specific topics. The education system is being changed, especially at schools, a place where students explore themselves, and, more importantly, they can make the correct decision for their career, so this change was much needed as it can bring out the best in a student. The necessary modifications which have been made here in the new education policy include:
1- Vocational Education
Every child will get a chance to learn at least one vocation and be wide-open to many more. They will learn pottery, gardening, crafts, essential electric works, metal works, etc. as decided by states and local communities during 6-8 grades. These courses will centre practical knowledge and effort than theoretical.
2- NCC wings in secondary and higher secondary schools under the Ministry of Defence
In the Ministry of Defence’s guidance, the State Government may support introductory NCC wings in schools, together with those located in tribal-dominated areas. Not many schools had NCC wings, and the best part of it would be schools located in tribal-dominated areas provided by this facility.
3- Digital and online learning
In this pandemic situation, online learning is the only way to reach out to students in both school and higher education; this proves the importance of digitalization; it ascertains as a substitute mode of education, wherever and whenever traditional modes of education are not possible. But there is a significant problem in India when it comes to digitalization, only less than 33% of people use smartphones so that this implementation could be challenging for the government as well as students
4- 6% GDP now to be given to the educational sector, prior it was 1.7%
The new policy aims to expand the literacy rate of the country, which will lead to employment. The government is looking for developing access to higher education for 50% of high school students.
5- Regular health check-ups for school students
There would be an exceptional health card for government school students, which will carry a complete health record. These are the great initiatives which the government has taken for underprivileged children.
6- Coding will be taught from 6 grade onwards
Anita Karwal, the School Education Secretary, ensures students would be taught coding in schools of class 6 grades onwards, and so that students will be skilled by the time they will graduate from the school. This aims to ensure that every child can adapt to at least one skill.
7- Flexibility in Multi-stream
The compartmentalization into arts, science, and commerce post 10th grade will no longer be rigid. As per the new education policy, students will be allowed to study the subject depending on their interests. This is another great thing which the government has included in this policy
These are the much-needed changes made in the new education policies that would be useful for the up-coming generation, and it may boost employment in the nation, which will probably lead to developing the country’s economic condition. Apart from that, certain reformations have been added to the policy that can be difficult for them to cope with. In India, it has been seen that many government schools are in a very pitiable condition where teachers hardly show up, and there is a lack of competition among the students in those schools. Education is not delivered to students as it should be. The government should look after the solutions to these problems too. The question here lies in whether the underprivileged students would get equal facilities and quality education as privileged and go to private schools. Because these fundamental reforms are vital when it comes to the future of the up-coming generation. The learning features should be advanced and equal for privileged and underprivileged children so that there would be no diversity between two sections of society. Then we can merely think of a better future for our Nation. The Government has made modifications for school students, but there are some loopholes too in this policy, which involves:
1-The Three Stages of Language
Language is the primary concern when we talk about NEP, 2020, the students will be taught in their mother tongue in schools, and it becomes debatable as English is considered a more integral language than other regional languages. Forcing students to learn other languages would be difficult for the students to handle, as India is a diverse nation, a child who does not belong to that state will be forced to learn the regional language. Then comes the biggest challenge, Sanskrit, to be mainstreamed; if the Government aims to transform, why does it not seem futuristic. Suppose language is the concern, then why they are not after teaching Foreign Languages like Spanish, French or German, etc.
Secondly, because of the language, there might be diversity between sections of society. As public schools have to implement the NEP, they would be left with no options but to teach students in the regional language. In that case, it might be possible that they would not focus on the English language. Whereas, in Private schools where English is being taught initially, they would not follow this language pattern. The value of the English language is significant in the Global and Indian market. There is no such upgrade in language.
The National Education Policy mentions that the existing exams’ existing structure will not be in the 10+2 pattern, but this has to be replaced to 5+3+3+4. The committee observed and recommended that the children till 3rd grades should accomplish Initial numeracy and literacy knowledge. The National Mission on foundational numeracy and literacy will be set up under the Ministry of Human Resource and Development guidance to undertake these goals.
2- The Disadvantage of vocational education
The vocational education provided to students will start from 6th grade, which appears to be too early for a child to learn practical things, including electric and metalwork and pottery and gardening. Besides, it is also said that they will be provided bagless-days and informal internship, students from 6th to 8th grades aged between 12-14 years, here students’ mindset might get changed, at a very young age, they will be fixated towards getting a job, which may lead to peer pressure in different ways. This may divert students’ minds from studies; there are both advantages and disadvantages in this vocational course. The disadvantage here is the students’ tender age who will be getting trained for this vocational course. This course should be shifted to older students who can make the best use of the course and the studies in a similar way.
New policies for Higher education
1- Multidisciplinary Education
The undergraduate degree will be made more flexible with multiple exits preference. There would be no chance of college dropouts. Students will get a degree every year and are allowed to discontinue their studies and rejoin the course in 2 years. If a student decides to discontinue after two years of graduation can be provided with a diploma certificate associated with that degree. Furthermore, the best part of the graduation is that the student will get an opportunity for a research presentation in the final year. Not every college in India delivers research presentations in their course.
2- MPhil course to be discontinued
MPhil was a one-year intermediate course between Masters and PhD degree. MPhil will not reduce the quality of research because PhD students learn more about research, as it is a 3-4 year duration degree. In these initial years, students put their best efforts to make their research useful. So, there has been no need for one extra course before PhD.
3- Teacher Training
The new national education policy, framed by the Cabinet Minister, has made compulsory for a 4-years integrated B.Ed degree. Strict action would be taken against insufficient stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions. This would conceal the assumed tasks of the teacher at diverse levels of proficiency required. Teachers should not be engaged in non-teaching administrative activities.
4- Foreign Universities
Indian Universities will be set to build campuses in foreign countries. The tie-up between Indian universities with foreign universities may increase the price of education, but at the same time, it will improve the quality of education.
It is highly debatable that, for higher education, Indian Universities are expected to tie-up with Foreign Universities, but in schools, students will be burdened with regional languages, and no foreign language will be taught there.
Few States find loopholes in the education policy, so they may review the policy thoroughly before implementing it in their state. In Jharkhand, the education minister states that the right to education, which enables every child to attend school, is a positive move by the government, but every student’s promotion despite their academic performance is not the proper thing to do. Along with Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu rejects the three language practices, adding that the government should consider Tamil opinions and permit states to take up their language policy as per states’ respective ideology. Instead, they will follow only two language policies in which Hindi will not be imposed.
Education is a synchronized matter, in which both centre and state share equal rights to carry reforms in legislation and implementation. The major challenge for the new education policy would be that the states have to be conveyed on board for implementation as education in a synchronized matter
The National Education Policy,2020, aims to transform the way to a more scientific approach to education. This will benefit students to cater to capability in different walks of development. This includes intellectual development as well as social development. Even though there might be some loopholes in the policy, it is ground-breaking.
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