An Overview of New Education Policy, 2020
Author By- Sonika Khandelwal
Abstract- This article gives an overview of The New Education Policy, 2020. It outlines the government steps to reform our school and the higher education system in India. It only brings out the salient features of this very idealistic policy because it is too early to criticize before implementation. We have to wait for some time for its outcome. Let’s hope this policy, if implemented with concerted efforts of all the stakeholders in time, brings a spectacular change in our education system to compete with world-class education.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
- By Nelson Mandela
Towards fulfilling the commitment of goal-4 of SDG i.e. to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030 and to achieve the economic target of $5 trillion reform in the education sector is a step in the right direction. With the changing times when globalization is permeated through technologies like AI, Data Science, Machine Learning, countries with a rich demographic dividend can reap the benefit of such advancements and if skilled can lead to the great strides in the economic development of the country.
Education reform in the first quarter of the 21st century if implemented properly can really make India a Vishwa Guru by 2040. The greatest part of this policy is the revitalizing of the ancient legacy of India in the form of inclusion of Indian languages and multidisciplinary universities on the lines of Takshila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, and Vallabhi.
The main objective of this policy is to bridge the gap between the learning outcomes and what is required in today’s times. This policy has been revamped with the aim to improve accessibility, equity, quality, inclusiveness, and adult learning. So, the overall objective of this policy is the holistic and integrated education system.
School education is the foundation of every child and thus the future of the nation. This policy envisages modification in 10+2 structure with the new pedagogical and curricular restructuring of 5+3+3+4 which entails 4 stages. These are foundational (3-8 years of age), preparatory stage (8-11 years of age), middle (11-14 years of age), and secondary (14-18 years of age) which corresponds to Anganwadi to class 2, class 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 respectively. Also, this policy has formalized the ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) and has been taken care of very intensively. The government has emphasized on Universal Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in place of only Universal education. The other pivotal points of this policy are: providing breakfast in addition to mid-day meals for the cognitive development of a child; learn while play; three-language formula; preference on home/mother tongue as a medium of instruction; experiential learning & critical analysis; developing scientific temper through the introduction of coding from class 6; bagless activities, internship programmes with local vocational experts; student counselling; reforming the board exams; discouraging the coaching culture; replacement of summative assessment with formative assessment; establishment of gender-inclusion fund; bringing the new category of special education zone; providing incentive to the girl child in the form of free boarding facilities, scholarships and other attractive schemes; establishment of school complexes as semi-autonomous unit; strengthening existing Bal Bhavans and establishing new ones; de-centralising regulatory mechanisms; establishing accreditation system of schools through transparent public self-disclosure; establishing National Assessment Centre PARAKH; peer-to-peer0tutoring for special attention to gifted children; public libraries; Indian sign languages for PWD students.
Indeed this policy has also identified the loopholes in our teacher training system. So, through this policy government has tried to revamp the whole process of teaching by recognizing teachers as the torch-bearer of a knowledgeable society. Therefore, the government has emphasized on teacher reforms by undertaking these steps: motivating teachers by giving them flexibility in determining their pedagogical structure; incentivization through appropriate rewards, promotion, recognition; bringing a new Tenure Track System similar to probation before making them permanent; workshops and online teacher development modules for their continuous self-improvement; conducive and friendly infrastructure; decent and safe workplace; exchange of teachers among schools in a region; establishing teachers community; revised B.Ed. courses in the form of 4, 2 & 1-year program; post-B.Ed. certification courses for their upgradation; provisioning master instructors through engaging local experts; residential facilities and allowances for teachers who are ready to serve in rural areas.
In higher education system government has tried to put an end to the fragmentation of higher education by transforming Higher Education Institutions into large multidisciplinary universities called MERU (Multidisciplinary Education & Research University). A stage-wise mechanism for graded autonomy to colleges through a transparent system of graded accreditation will be established. Some focal points which needs to appraised are: internationalization of higher education; students exchange programmes on a national and international level; multiple exit points for undergraduates students including certificate, diploma, and bachelor degree; Master programmes have been revised with the discontinuation M.Phil. Programme; integrated 5 years Bachelor/Master programme, 4+1 years and 3+2 years; focus on four components of effective learning – appropriate curriculum, engaging pedagogy, continuous formative assessment, and adequate student support; establishment of Higher Education Commission of India; merit-based appointment of institutional leaders, etc.
Besides the above-stated points, the government has also addressed the issue of the commercialization of education through this policy. Professional educations such as agriculture, healthcare, legal, and technical has also been talked about. Literacy & basic education are powerful force multipliers and to this aspect, adult education and lifelong learning have been given importance by the government. The government has emphasized the promotion of Indian languages, arts, and culture in the direction to establish a truly incredible India. The government has also recognized the importance of alternative modes of quality education in situations like the Covid-19 pandemic. So, this policy has suggested measures to strengthen it through online teaching and learning programmes and repository of class materials in the downloadable and printable formats, etc. Last but not least this policy has itself suggested how to implement it.
This is the first time that the government has acknowledged the fact that the credibility of governments school needs to be re-established. So, if this education policy, which is progressive and idealistic, if implemented in letter & spirit then no-one can stop India to become a Vishwa Guru in terms of the knowledge society, technical hubs, and scientific advancements. But still, there are some un-plugged gaps in this policy. It does not talk about sex education, parenting module, harassment committee in schools, QR ranking of schools in the line of higher education institutions, the uniform education system in the country on the line of Uniform Civil Code.
1. The New Education Policy, 2020