The National Education Policy – 2020


The New Education Policy was enforced on Wednesday, July 29. The Union cabinet approved the policy that aims to enhance the country’s education system. Union Ministers for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar and Human Resource Development minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, made the announcement on the NEP- 2020. Earlier Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reviewed the policy draft which was prepared by a panel of experts led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The NEP 2020 aims at making India a global superpower in education.

The New Education Policy 2020, that will certainly be a landmark in the history of India’s education reforms. It has been approved by the government after wide ranging consultations. The policy is comprehensive, far sighted and will certainly play a cruical role in the future growth of the nation. The policy replaced the ancient policy that was enacted 34-year-old ago on Education, framed in 1986, with the New Education Policy of 2020. The NEP, approved by the union cabinet, made overwhelming reforms in school and higher education including teaching.

Constitutional provision for education

Part IV of the Indian Constitution, Article 45 and Article 39 (f) of Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), focuses on state-funded as well as equitable and accessible education.

Article 29(1) states “No citizen shall be denied admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.” Article 30 of the Indian Constitution relates to certain cultural and educational rights to establish and administer educational institutions. The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976 moved the subject of education from the State to the Concurrent List. The education policies by the Central government provides a broad direction and state governments are expected to follow it. The 86th Amendment in 2002 made education an important and fundamental right under Article 21-A. The Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009 aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years and enforces education as a Fundamental Right. It also mandates 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of the society. Article 350 A directs, “It shall he endeavour of every state and every local authority to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.”

Aim of the new policy

An NEP is a far sighted framework to guide the development of education in the nation. The need for a new and better policy was first felt in 1964 where it was criticized for lacking a vision and philosophy for education. The same year, the Education Commission, headed by UGC Chairperson D S Kothari,  drafted a national policy on education. Based on this draft of this Commission, the Parliament passed the first education policy in 1968.

The National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and restructured again in 1992. More than three decades have passed since previous policy has been modified according to need and demands of people. It was necessary and remarkable step in the education sector needs to gear towards the demands of the 21st Century and the needs of the people and the country. Calibri, innovation and research skills will be the basic foundation on which India will become a knowledge super power.

Why there was need of new education policy?

Education leads to employment and a new education policy ought to create more employable individuals. This bit is fairly accurate and although many people are rightfully disillusioned about the return on investment associated with education, it’s safe to say that you’re likely to do better with a degree in tow.

Education and health are areas which should be focused on only for making the country developed. If the public is neither healthy nor educated, it is very difficult to imagine development of any country. Economic growth without improvement in education and health cannot facilitate development.

Policy makers need to actively engage with educational institutions to produce graduates who better fit the present scenario and  must also offer students the same kind of flexibility to pick and choose as they like. If the education system is highly rigid, students will be forced to go through a program, even if they feel they are better suited elsewhere.

Improvements in School Education

The policy propounded the universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030 and to bring large number of children back into the mainstream by the way of an open schooling system. The current 10+2 education system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curriculum corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. Bringing the uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage of development of mental ability of a child. It also talks about 12 years of schooling with three years of pre schooling popularly known as Anganwadi. Class 10 and 12 board examinations to be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorized facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice. The school governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools. The policy revolved on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schooling. Vocational Education to be the part of curriculum from Class 6 with Internships. Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue or the regional i.e local language. No language would be imposed on any kid. Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes. A comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be conducted by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). By 2030, the minimum qualification for teaching profession will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.

Improvement in Higher Education

It propounded that Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035. Also, 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education. The graduate education with a flexible curriculum can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary. Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate Transfer of Credits. Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to be set up as models of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.

Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire 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. Also, HECI will be having four independent verticals namely, National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.

Affiliation of colleges is to be carried out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism would be established for granting the graded autonomy to the colleges and institutes. Over a period of time, every college is expected to be established into either an autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.

Other Changes

The policy propounded to set up an n autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration. National Assessment Centre- ‘PARAKH’ has been created to assess the students. It also provides the way out for foreign universities to set up campuses in India. It focused on setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up.

Implementation of policy

The policy is meant to transform the education system by 2040. Some proposals will be implemented immediately, starting with the change in the name of the Ministry of Human Resource Development into the Ministry of Education. There are approx 100 action points from the Policy of 2020. Implementation will be done in phases, based on time, region and types of institutions with Institutes of Eminence (IoEs) and Central Universities taking the lead, said Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare. For instance, four-year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry-exit options will be introduced in the 20 IoEs from the 2020-21 academic year, while others continue with the existing three-year degree courses. Existing M.Phil students can continue until they complete their degree, although new admissions for the programme will not be accepted.

The National Testing Agency will introduce a pilot version of the common entrance test by December 2020, which will be used for admission to all IoEs and central universities in 2021. Some Indian Institutes of Technology are working on developing the technical structure of the Academic Credit Bank, which will also be established by December, and become applicable to all new students joining central universities next year.

Author : Deepanshu Kaushik