“Education has an important role to play in making India self-reliant” – Narendra Modi
A nation's prosperity is dependent on several factors, which include its financial stability, policies to protect citizens' rights, continuous developments in all areas, and education. Undoubtedly, all of these factors are interconnected, but education serves as the primary foundation for all of the others. Effective education is necessary not only for the growth of students but also for the country's future. As India is a developing nation, education is the most important driving force to change its status from a developing nation to a developed nation.
Understanding India’s National Education Policy – NEP 2020
To direct the promotions and innovations in Indian education, the Indian government promulgated the new National Education Policy in 2020. This National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the twenty-first century, and it seeks to address our country's many growing developmental requirements. Only three times in Indian history has a national education policy been proposed and approved. This is the third educational policy in Indian history and the first one of this century replacing the NEP of 1986. The NEP was revised after 34 years to reflect changing needs of Indian students and educational institutions to meet international educational standards.
The new National Education Policy in India (NEP 2020) is based on the pillars of "Access, Quality, Equity, Affordability, and Accountability." It promises to address the current challenges in the Indian education sector such as low literacy, high dropout rates, and a lack of a multidisciplinary approach.
One of the targets of NEP 2020 is the universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with a 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030. GER is the statistical term used in the Indian education sector. It exhibits the total enrollment of students in primary education, irrespective of age, as a percentage of the eligible official primary school-age population in a given school year. This way, NEP 2020 aims to bring 20 million (2 crores) children back to the mainstream through the open schooling system.
Key Highlights of New National Education Policy 2020 of India
NEP 2020 is a comprehensive policy with numerous features and action plans that aim to pave way for transformational reforms in schools and higher education systems in India. NEP 2020 is a structured framework to revamp the Indian educational sector by introducing numerous reforms that ensure high quality, integrity, and equality in the system. For example, according to the new policy, less emphasis would be placed on content and more on encouraging students to think critically and improve their problem-solving abilities.
Now, let's have a look at the major components of National Education Policy 2020 that have grabbed everyone’s attention and are to be implemented in the schools. NEP 2020 highlights:
1. Modification of 10+2 structure
The present 10+2 structure in Indian schools will now be replaced with 5+3+3+4 covering ages 3-18years. This means that the first five years of school will be the foundation stage, which will include three years of pre-primary school as well as classes 1 and 2. Classes 3 to 5 will be the preparatory stage, classes 6 to 8 will be the middle stage, and classes 9 to 12 will be the high stage.
2. Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE)
To engage young children in the classroom, ECCE focuses on a variety of play-based, activity-based, and inquiry-based learning. In the current scenario, quality ECCE is unavailable to millions of young students, especially to those children who lack a socio-economic background. Now, the goal is to provide excellent ECCE across the country to all the students for their Socio-emotional-ethical development, as well as communication, early language, and literacy development.
3. Foundational Literacy & Numeracy
As per the surveys, at the elementary level, there are at least 50 million children in India who can not even read and write. The ability to read and comprehend basic texts, as well as perform basic addition and subtraction, is referred to as foundational literacy. Various measures will be taken to make this possible under NEP 2020 like the professional development of teachers in schools.
4. Reduced Curriculum for Critical Thinking
As per New National Education Policy 2020, the curriculum will be reduced to only core essential content, allowing students to devote more time to activities that promote creativity, critical thinking, and analysis-based learning. Furthermore, a student's report card will reflect a 360-degree overall growth in various aspects other than academics.
5. Promoting Multilingualism
The medium of expression shall be the student's mother tongue or the local or regional language until at least grade five, but preferably until grade eight or later to help the students to understand the concepts faster. After the eighth grade, the local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. Multilingualism will also be encouraged, with students allowed to choose three languages to learn, two of which must be Indian.
6. Use of Technology in Education
The NEP 2020 promotes the use of digital learning modules, AI-based learning, and the incorporation of augmented and virtual reality into education. Moreover, digital learning or online education will also be developed to provide education to every part of India. The policy emphasizes the use of online learning technology in the Indian education sector and moves towards a hybrid model of learning.
7. Coding Classes from Middle School
Recognizing the significance of technology in today’s digital world, the New Education Policy 2020, has introduced coding classes from grade 6 promoting technology in education. The move has received positive feedback from the education community, with many describing it as the best part of the policy. With this, India is set to reach new heights as a leader in the IT industry. The introduction of technical skills to students at an early age will assist them in building a strong knowledge foundation for the future of digital India.
8. Flexibility in Stream Selection
Instead of limiting students' options, the policy ensures that they have the freedom to choose subjects based on their interests and aptitude. The NEP 2020 ensures that the students have the freedom and flexibility to select subjects based on their interests and skills, rather than limiting their options. The removal of the dividing line between arts, humanities, sciences, and vocational courses will break the stigma of one stream being superior to the other. Students will be able to freely choose the path that most interests them rather than the one deemed superior by their peers and society.
9. Bagless Days
Students in grades 6 through 8 will be encouraged to participate in "Bagless days," during which they will be able to work with various artisans and creators to gain hands-on experience with various arts and crafts. Under NEP 2020, from grade 6, children will be introduced to vocational courses in which they will receive formal education from experts ranging from carpenters to artisans. ‘Bagless Days’ will be encouraged throughout the year for several enrichment activities such as art, quizzes, sports, and vocational activities.
10. Teacher Recruitment Initiative
The National Education Policy 2020 focuses on merit-based scholarships for teacher recruitment. To ensure that truly excellent students enter the teaching profession, a large number of merit-based scholarships shall be instituted across the country for study at outstanding 4-year integrated B.Ed. programs. Also, incentives will be provided for outstanding teachers to take teaching jobs in rural areas. Apart from strengthening Teacher Eligibility Test (TETs), NEP will make sure that an adequate number of teachers are available across all subjects. Campus 365, school ERP also coming up with a teacher upskilling program for their professional development.
Our education system will undergo some quality reforms with the implementation of the new education policy in India and many underprivileged students will benefit from quality education. This policy will pave a path to the road of digital learning or online education making it the future of education in digital India. This is where the EdTech firms like Campus 365 play an important role as they are a catalyst in elevating the Indian education system through their automated solutions promoting digital learning. The education software will assist educational institutions in the successful implementation and management of this policy and in realizing the dream of digital India.