The Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020 approved the New Education Policy 2020 introducing various transformational reforms in the ways education was carried out in schools and colleges for the past 34 years.
The NEP 2020 states that, ‘The global education development agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by India in 2015 – seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. Such a lofty goal will require the entire education system to be reconfigured to support and foster learning, so that all of the critical targets and goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be achieved.’
In our last article we said, ‘When a flower doesn’t bloom, you don’t fix the flower. You fix the environment.’ Well, the NEP 2020 does exactly the same. The old 10+2 system has been replaced by a 5+3+3+4 system with an added focus on pre-primary (playschools) and primary classes. The entire process now brings emphasis to a more learning and interaction-based environment to identify and foster the capabilities of each student by introducing flexibility, a multidisciplinary and holistic approach, focus on creativity, importance of ethics from an early age and inclination towards technology.
The policy, now, gives the students a choice of subjects that can be as diverse as History and Physics with importance given to vocational studies as well. This gives the students an opportunity to study subjects of their interest without having to feel pressured by societal norms. The policy framework also puts emphasis on the usage of mother tongue and internships at school level. Board examinations remain the same however, the overall emphasis has shifted towards a system that adopts critical thinking and practical knowledge more than theoretical concepts.
The biggest change, and a much needed one, has been the introduction of a standardized test to be held by NTA (National Testing Agency) for college admissions. This test is similar to the SATs conducted by the US. Another important reform, that gives students the flexibility to leave college education whenever they want, is the concept of getting something for each year of attained education. Anyone who completes:
· First year gets a certificate
· Second year gets a diploma
· Third and fourth year are eligible for a degree
And not just this, you get credits for each year that shall stay with you for life. So, for example, if you plan on completing your education post some years, you can resume from where you left. This would also help the students whose parents are in jobs that require frequent shifting.
Colleges have been given the freedom to go multidisciplinary. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education which means no more UGC, AICTE or NCTE.
Now why was all this required?
As per WENR, ‘India is a rapidly changing country in which inclusive, high-quality education is of utmost importance for its future prosperity. The country is currently in a youth bulge phase. It has the largest youth population in the world with more than 30 babies being born every minute. If India manages to modernize and expand its education system, raise educational attainment levels, and provide skills to its youth, it could gain a significant competitive advantage over swiftly aging countries like China.’
The NEP 2020 envisions to instil among the learners a deep-rooted pride in being Indian, not only in thought, but also in spirit, intellect, and deeds, as well as to develop knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being, thereby reflecting a truly global citizen. All this shall help India become a superpower of knowledge and improve its global stature, increasing the chances of quality employment for its citizens. Hopefully, this shall have a positive impact on its economy.
And as Nelson Mandela once said, ‘No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated’. We couldn’t agree more.
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