Cabinet OK’s NEP: MHRD now Ministry of Education; M.Phil discontinued, multiple exit options in degree courses
After 34 years, the Modi Cabinet on Wednesday approved the much-awaited National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 which aims to revamp all aspects of India’s education system and bring it closer to the best global standards. The Cabinet has also renamed the Ministry of Human Resource Development as the Ministry of Education. The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and last revised in 1992.
The new NEP proposes MPhil courses to be discontinued and change the existing 10+2 curricular and pedagogical structure with 5+3+3+4 design covering the children in the age group 3-18 years. This would mean 12 years of schooling and three years of Anganwadi or pre-school.
Addressing a Press conference, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said it is important as for 34 years there were no changes in the education policy of the country.
The NEP aims to create an education system that contributes directly to transforming the country, providing high-quality education to all, and making India a global knowledge superpower. The policy aims at reducing the 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,” Javadekar said. Secretary of Higher Education Amit Khare and Secretary of School Education and Literacy Anita Kanwal made the major announcements.
The new structure 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). The mother tongue or local/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.
As per the policy, Board exams are set to get easier and, moots lowering the stakes of these tests, which lead to a lot of stress among not just students but also parents. According to the Government, the revised structure will “bring hitherto uncovered age group of three to six years, recognised globally as a crucial stage for development of mental faculties, under school curriculum”.
There will be a holistic report card prepared for the child, which will have three kinds of assessment. “First, the child will assess his/her performance. Second, classmates and third, their teachers. The report card will have the knowledge of skills the child has acquired by the time he leaves Class 12.”
Instead of exams being held every year, school students will sit only for three – at Classes 3, 5, and 8. Assessment in other years will shift to a “regular and formative” style that is more “competency-based, promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity”.
Board exams will continue to be held for Classes 10 and 12 but even these will be re-designed with “holistic development” as the aim. Standards for this will be established by a new national assessment centre – PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
The policy also proposes vocational education, with internships, for students from Class 6, a change to the 10+2 schooling structure and a four-year bachelor’s programme. The new will bring 2 crore out of school children back into the mainstream.
A new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be developed by the NCERT. Every State/district will be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans” as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities.
The National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of eight. The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.
The NEP 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 would have studied a vocational/professional course.
The new policy proposes single regulator for all higher education institutions, except for legal and medical colleges, common regulations for both the private and public higher education institutions, common entrance exams conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to universities and higher education institutions and mother tongue to be a medium of instruction till fifth grade and Sanskrit to be offered at all school levels and higher education as an option, including in three-language formula.
Under the NEP 2020, Sanskrit will be offered at all levels and foreign languages from the secondary school level. However, the policy also says “no language will be imposed on any student”.
The new education policy aims to give students increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study across the arts, humanities, sciences, sports, and vocational subjects. Departments in Languages, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Indology, Art, Dance, Theatre, Education, Mathematics, Statistics, Pure and Applied Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Sports, Translation and Interpretation, etc. will be established and strengthened at all higher education institutions (HEIs).
A Higher Education Council of India (HECI) like the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) will be set up to regulate higher education; the focus will be on institutions that have 3,000 or more students. Among the council’s goals is to increase gross enrolment ratio from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035.The HECI will have four independent verticals – National Higher Education Regulatory Council for regulation, General Education Council to set standards, Higher Education Grants Council for funding and National Accreditation Council for accreditation. It is estimated that 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions.
As per policy, teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes. Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators.
The new policy is based on a draft prepared by a committee led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan. The draft of the new policy was then put in public domain to seek feedback from various stakeholders and over two lakh suggestions were received by the HRD Ministry about the same.
Thursday, 30 July 2020 | PNS | New Delhi