On Wednesday, Union Cabinet announced a New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 proposing sweeping changes in schools and higher education. The new comprehensive framework will guide the development of the education sector in the country. Earlier in 1964 also there have been a lot of discussions on the need to change the education policies. Although, the new education policies come along every few decades. India has had three to date. The first was in 1968, then in 1986 which was revised in 1992, and now in 2020. The first major impact of the NEP 2020 is likely to be felt in the academic session 2022-23 when the center plans to roll out easier board exams and a new school format of 5+3+3+4 with a reformed 360-degree report card system. These new reforms have been taken place due to the imbalance in the education system during the pandemic. Looks like, something good has finally come out amid the crisis!
This new examination system aims to test the achievement of basic learning outcomes through assessment of core concepts and knowledge from the national curriculum along with the higher-order skills and gaining some practical knowledge rather than sticking to the rote memorization.
However, the examination pattern for classes 3,5 and 8 has not been finalized by the government. The decision is yet to be made that the exams will be either taken by schools or any external authorities. Although, the situation has been closely examined by the officials of the education system but seems unlikely that the boards will be conducting these examinations.
The CBSE officials said “it is clear that CBSE as a board cannot conduct exams for classes 3,5, and 8. It will most probably be conducted by schools with some framework send by either state’s education department or the guidelines developed by the center.”
There is a need to ensure that minimum and basic learning levels are attained, especially in the primary schooling years because they are the foundation of molding the children learning capabilities. Meanwhile, considerable actions are already taken to make the examination level easier by the CBSE and bring the reduction in the syllabus to retain core essentials, also improving one’s experimental learning and critical thinking.
The new education policy is entirely different from the previous ones. It basically tracks the progress of the students throughout the school, not only on the basis of the 10th and 12th. The NEP includes the opening up of higher education to foreign universities as well and decided to dismantle the UGC and AICTE education systems with the introduction of a four-year undergraduate plan with multiple exit options. The exit options including leaving the course in one year with certification, after two years with a diploma, and after three years with a bachelor’s degree. This is just like adopting the foreign education system!
The policy provides broad directions and the state government tended to follow it. But it’s not always the same. For instance, Tamil Nadu does not follow the three language format which was prescribed in the earlier education policy of 1968. And it is okay! Since education is a concurrent subject, the new reforms made can only be implemented if the center and states work collaboratively. Obviously, it can’t happen immediately. Such a huge level of change needs some time. The target has been already set by the government to implement the entire policy by 2040.
Additionally, the new policy will open up higher education for foreign players as it will give the opportunities for top 100 universities in the world to set up campuses in India. Earlier, global universities like Yale, Stanford, MIT, Cambridge, did not show any interest in entering the Indian education market. Right Now, the foreign participation of universities is limited in India. Maybe this new policy will bring some change, and attract universities. But, will India be able to make arrangements for foreign students?
Well, The national foundation Literacy and Numeracy Mission will launch this scheme by November-December, in order to not wait any more time. And, ensure that every child in the country necessary attains the guidelines in Grade 3 by 2025. Meanwhile, the HRD ministry will start working on the New Curriculum Framework by next month on the year-long exercise at NCERT.
However, there are some points of concern remains. These include the emphasis on the mother tongue as a language of instructions until fifth grade, which if brought in effect, might infringe the autonomy of parents.
But this new policy will definitely bring new reforms in schooling years up to Grade 12, which are directed towards the holistic development of students. The way students will be evaluating will be changed, as the main focus will be on student clarity and analytical skills. The subjects like music, sports will not be considered as extra-curriculum activities but will be put on the same platform as other academic subjects. This, in turn, will bring more sports star in India.
Up till now, the education system in India has been criticized for the unhealthy importance it puts on the rote learning through board exams and ended up increasing the pressure on students, instead of contributing to their radiance for the outside world. The change in policy will definitely bring various skill developments in the upcoming generations in different ways.