The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was approved by the Union Cabinet yesterday, July 29, and will include a wide number of changes within the educational system. Besides eliminating the M.Phil degree programme, new methods to inculcate learning through digital means are also listed within the policy.
This new policy draft – the first in 34 years – was made public last year for feedback. The Ministry of Human Resources and Development has been renamed to Ministry of Education.
Here are a few important points from the new National Education Policy 2020:
MoI to be mother tongue up to class 5
The regional language or the mother tongue is to be the medium of instruction in all schools up to class 5. The NEP 2020 also lays emphasis that Sanskrit will be offered at all levels and foreign languages from the secondary school level, but it makes it clear that “no language will be imposed on any student.”
Regular 10 + 2 structure to be replaced
The new policy says that the usual 10+2 format will be replaced by a 5+3+3+4. This includes 12 years of schooling and three years of pre-school or Anganwadi. This will be split into categories: a foundational stage (three and eight years age), three years of pre-primary (eight to 11 years age), a preparatory stage (11 to 14 years age) and a secondary stage (14 to 18 years age). Another highlight of the policy also is that government schools will now offer pre-school education, right from nursery and KG, which previously was offered by private institutes.
Board exams to continue, but will be re-designed
The policy mandates that the regular board exams for class 10 and 12 will continue as usual, however, they will be re-designed with ‘holistic development’ as the aim. These exams will be made easier and will test the core capacities and competencies rather than months of coaching, the policy says.
Focus on vocational education
Vocational education will be made available to students in schools and higher secondary institutions in a phased manner over the next 10 years. At least 50% of learners by 2025 through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education.
A 10-day bagless period a year, sometime during class 6-8 will be available so as to allow students get experience with vocational experts such as carpenters, gardeners, potters, artists, etc.
Four-year undergraduate programme
Under the NEP, four-year undergraduate programmes will be offered to students. This, which the government claims will be more structured, will allow colleges to have a choice between the regular three-year undergraduate programme, or a four-year programme.
Multiple options for students
The new policy gives freedom to students an option to leave college whenever they wish to. This means, that if any student completes one year of the course, they will be a certificate, two years then a diploma certificate, three then they get a degree.
If a student pursues a four-year programme with research, then according to the new policy, he or she will be entitled for a direct admission for a PhD programme. The minimum eligibility for a PhD will now either be a four-year programme with research, or Masters after a three-year programme.
Making universities multi-disciplinary
Under the new NEP 2020, the focus will be on making universities across the country multi-disciplinary. This means that no single stream-based institutes must exist and all must include streams of arts, science, social sciences, everything at a single university/institute. The aim, by 2040, is for all institutes to become multidisciplinary.
Multiple regulators to be done away with
The new policy says that individual regulators such as the University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) will be replaced by a single regulator.
A Higher Education Council of India (HECI) will be set up to regulate higher education and its focus will be on institutions that have 3,000 or more students. Among the council’s goals is to increase the gross enrolment ratio from 26.3 per cent (2018) to 50 per cent by 2035. The HECI will however not have jurisdiction over legal and medical colleges.