A lot more need to be done in the New NEP

Although the New Education Policy 2020 (NEP) makes a lot of progressive changes it requires so many updates. The Union cabinet is acting very fast. Ram Temple Bhoomi pujan, the arrival of the first fleet of Rafale fighters and now NEP2020. The 1986 policy will be replaced by the NEP 2020 on that work was going on since 2016 after the T.S.R. Subramanian Committee submitted its report to the Union government.

In June 2017, the K.Kasturirangan committee was constituted by the government which submitted its Draft NEP in 2019. The main intention is to integrate the Indian education with the global system, reduced emphasis on ‘rote-learning’, emphasis on rationalisation and instil confidence with nationalism among learners. It has also recommended that the name of the ministry of human resource development will be the ministry of education.

The NEP 2020 stresses to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) and will try to stop the drop-outs. It aims to bring two crore children to the schools. It recommends to develop infrastructure, create innovative teaching centres, appoint only trained teachers and counsellors, encourage open schools and adult literacy programmes.

10+2 system will be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 structure. The schooling will have 3 years pre-schooling for the children 3 to 8 years of age in Anganwadi centres. This will be followed by 12 years of schooling. Now, the government has extended its outreach to pre-schooling, including nursery education and kindergarten.

The NCERT will be the nodal body to frame a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of eight.  The ministries of Education, Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, and Tribal Affairs will be involved in this work.

The focus has been put on training children with “21st-century skills”. There will be flexibility in choosing the subjects. Rigid separation between Arts and Sciences, curricular and extracurricular subjects or vocational and academic streams will be done away. There is another proposal to do away annual examinations and will be replaced by a modular form in Grades 3, 5, and 8, 10 and 12.

PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), a new National Assessment Centre will be created to set standards of education. The NEP also includes setting up Special Education Zones to help socially and economically disadvantaged children and to set up the Gender Inclusion Fund. Now, in Mid-Day-Meal programme, breakfast will also be served in government schools to tackle child malnourishment.

A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be set up for the recruitment of teachers. A School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) will also be created, according to the NEP 2020.

The biggest point is that that education up to Class 5, and if possible until Class 8, will be given in the mother tongues of students. Classical languages like Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit have also been proposed at all levels. The NEP says that “no language will be imposed on any student”.

In the flexible curriculum, students have the choice to select through an interdisciplinary approach with multiple exit points in a four-year undergraduate programme. Proposed post-graduate will be of one-year duration. M.Phil programme has been scrapped. Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) and a National Research Foundation will be set up, according to NEP. There will be the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) and merging all other regulatory bodies like the University Grants Commission and the All India Council for Technical Education.

Boards of Governors will be appointed to oversee the day-to-day functioning of different universities. Graded autonomy will be given to the colleges. Emphasis has been given to digitalisation of higher education. An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will also be set up to the use of technology in college education. The NEP 2020 says that the central and state governments will try to raise spending on the education sector to 6% of the GDP.

The NEP 2020 tries to de-bureaucratize education by giving governance powers to academicians. The policy recommends including more academicians in decision-making bodies. It recommends preparing a category of educational administrators among the teachers — the idea behind this move is to minimise the dependence on the administrative services.

In NEP almost education is forced upon children. Forced education is worst than child labour. So, there should not be a compulsory education. A week and non-serious students should be ousted from the system to give for space to meritorious students. If a student fails to secure a minimum of 36% marks in every paper should be ousted from the school. This will also reduce the overcrowding of campuses. Instead of quantity and numbers, attention should be on quality and merit. Un–academic and populist schemes like Mid-Day-Meal should be scrapped.

Post-graduate is a very important degree in India. One year post-graduate will lose its sheen. Post-graduate should have remained of two years duration. Similarly, M.Phil gives a comprehensive understanding of research. So, it should not have been scrapped.

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