On 29th July, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved the National Education Policy 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. This change comes after almost three decades. The last policy was introduced in 1986. The Cabinet has renamed the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD)as Education Ministry.
The New Education Policy is built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability, aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and aims to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to 21st century needs and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.
- National Education Policy 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre school to secondary.
- It emphasizes on “Early Childhood Care and Education”, the old structure will be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively
- The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling by including uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum.
- It emphasizes on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools Vocational Education to start from Class 6 with Internships.
- The policy promotes mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
- The Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes, Under which students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority. Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the aim.
- A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.
- New and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree. Stringent action will be taken against substandard stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
- New Education Policy envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. For example, Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years.
- It aims increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50 % by 2035 and 3.5 crore seats will be added in higher education.
- An Academic Bank of Credit to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.
- 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 overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
- Open and Distance Learning will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER. Measures such as online courses and digital repositories will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.
- In a bid to ramp up digital learning, a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) would be created. E-courses will be developed in eight regional languages initially and virtual labs will be developed.
- The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.