Written by Kamakshi Anand, a grade 11 student.
On July 30, 2020, the Union cabinet of India approved a New Education Policy 2020 (NEP), which replaced a 34-year-old National Policy on education that was framed in 1986. The NEP has made large reforms in school and higher education, including teaching.
The following are the main features of this policy
- Mandatory schooling starts at 3 years
The age group of mandatory education was expanded from 6-14 years to 3-18 years. This includes three years of pre-schooling that is for the age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum. Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) has been emphasised upon greatly and hence, the 10+2 structure of school curriculum is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
- Medium of Instruction
“Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language, mother tongue, local language, or the regional language. Thereafter, the home or local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. This will be followed by both public and private schools,” the policy states.
This also reiterates the RTE Act’s 29(2)(f) provision that the mother tongue is considered as a medium of instruction when possible. This is a broad guideline and hence, not compulsory.
- Standardised norms for regulation of Higher Education and Entrance Exams
Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single body for all higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation, and academic standards. Common entrance exams will be conducted for all universities.
- No rigid streams
There will be no rigid separations between humanities, science and commerce streams, between curricular and extra-curricular activities and between vocational and academic streams. Students can select any combination of subjects. Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships. Digital learning and coding to also be introduced.
- Coding to be taught from Class 6
- Four Year Undergraduate Programme
Undergraduate degrees will be of either 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options during this period. It will be mandatory for the college to give a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme.
- M Phil Programme
The M Phil Degree programmes will be discontinued.
- Board Exams
Board Exams will continue but these will be designed with an aim to develop core abilities. A new national assessment centre PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) will be established. Board exams will have less stakes. All students will be allowed to take Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired.
- Renaming of Ministry of Human Resource Development to Ministry of Education
- Foreign colleges
High performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries, and similarly, selected universities, those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.
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