National Education Policy 2020: Major highlights to help understand what has changed

The Union Cabinet announced the New Education Policy on Wednesday. Here are some level-wise highlights of the policy.

The Union cabinet, on Wednesday, rolled out a major change in the Indian Education system. With the advent of the New Education Policy, the government of India has completely changed the face of education in India.

The National Education Policy 2020 has brought a shift in the focus of Indian education from traditional rote learning to a multi-disciplinary research based learning which values understanding. For this, the government has introduced extensive changes at all education levels.

Here are some of the key changes introduced by the government as per the education levels:

School Education

  1. The overall policy for school students focuses on a revision of the curriculum and “easier” methods of assessment including board exams. It also shifts the focus from rote learning to understanding and retaining “core essentials” and values experiential learning and critical thinking.
  2. The policy has divided the schooling years into a design which suggests “5+3+3+4” system. The age group 3-8 (foundation stage) would comprise of the first segment. 8-11 would be the preparatory stage. The middle school comprises of age groups 11-14 and then the secondary school which marks the age group 14-18 (secondary).
  3. The government has brought the pre-school education under the ambit of formal schooling system and has extended mid-day meal program for for the pre-school students.
  4. The policy has also given away with the “stream system” and would now allow students to take subjects as they like, without conforming to a particular disciplinary section.
  5. The policy has also brought a major learning change, enabling students up to fifth grade to study in their regional languages.

College/University Education

  1. The government has extensively focused on multidisciplinarity and research orientation in academics at higher education level.
  2. The government also aims to change the Gross enrollment ratio and increase it to 50% by 2035.
  3. The undergraduate degree would be changed to a 3 or 4 year duration with multiple exit options. Students can also leave by the end of 2nd year with a diploma instead of a degree.
  4. The capacity of the Universities would transform to Research Based universities, teaching based universities and autonomous degree granting colleges.
  5. A centralized university entrance test would be conducted for admission into higher education institutions. However, government has kept this as optional.
  6. An Academic Bank of Credit would be set up which would digitally to record the academic credits earned by student from various institutions of higher education for them to be added further to the degree or transferred to another degree or another institution.
  7. A shift of focus towards a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum as opposed to restricting the expanse of students and depriving them of critical thinking and vocational skills.
  8. The masters degrees have been encouraged to be research intensive and not the conventional paper-pen assessment based.
  9. The M.Phil degree has been scrapped by the ministry.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, which has now become the Ministry of Education has also decided to increase the expenditure on education to 6% of the GDP.

The target for the full-fledged implementation of the policy has been set as 2040. This policy provides a holistic learning atmosphere and focuses on skill development rather than theorizing everything, so as to further a child’s understanding and mental capacity in the budding years and prepare them to be employable in future.

The policy would only be effectively implemented if the central and state government are committed to these reforms and work collaboratively towards bringing a change.

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