Home Knowledge Path to Progress... National Education Policy (NEP)2020

Path to Progress... National Education Policy (NEP)2020

by Madhavi Mihir Bhuta (National Executive Member, BJP Mahila Morcha)
Jun 19, 2021
Path to Progress... National Education Policy (NEP)2020, Knowledge, KonexioNetwork.com

Bharat, since the ancient era had been famous as an education destination.

The Hindu culture is classified in Ashram Vyavastha and it holds eminent importance in Hindu culture. The four Ashrama, in Hinduism, are the four stages of life through which a Hindu ideally passes through. This system of Ashrams is believed to have been prevalent since the 5th Century BCE, in Hindu society and described in the classic Sanskrit texts called the Asrama Upanishad, the Vaikhanasa Dharmasutra, and the later Dharmashastra.

The first Ashram (first phase of life) is defined as “Brahmacharya Ashram”- where a person leads the life of gaining formal education and it lasts until around the age of 25. During this period, the student leaves home to stay with a Guru and attain both spiritual and practical knowledge. Based on this system, there were innumerable Ashrams of pious saints who imparted valuable education to students in the pre-Vedic era.

Later, during the post -Vedic age, many acclaimed universities were set up across the length and breadth of Bharat, where students from far and wide, within Bharat and from far away lands enrolled for learnings.

Nalanda Vishwavidyalay in Magadh (current Bihar), Taksashila Vishwavidyalay in Gandhar (current North -Western Pakistan), Vikramshila Vishwavidyalay in Bhagalpur, Bihar, Odantapura Vishwavidalay on Hiranya Parbat in Bihar, Valabhi Vishwavidyalay in Saurashtra, Gujarat, Puspagiri Vishwavidyalay in Orissa, Somapura Mahavidyalay in Bengal are few of the education centres, where students, researchers, travellers, historians visited from across the globe. Additionally, Kashi and Kashmir were considered important centers of learning In the medieval age.

Kashmir was considered the supreme learning center of Sanskrit. The Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in Kashmir Valley, near Srinagar, had notable names who were educated there. Son of Guru Nanak Dev and Sansthapak of Udasin sect, Guru Shreechand, and Mughal prince Dara Sikoh have acquired Sanskrit knowledge at this institute. The history of education began with the teaching of traditional elements such as Bharatiya religions, Bharatiya Mathematics, Bhartiya Logic at Hindu and Buddhist centers of learning, in ancient Bharat.

With the advent of Islamic rule in Bharat, Islamic Education became ingrained in the Bharatiya education system. But, the drastic change in the education system of Bharat came with the establishment of British rule. British administration was accompanied by the British education system. British education was sponsored by Christian missionaries.

In 19th century Bharat, “English education “ meant “modern education”.

Lord William Bentinck and Thomas Macaulay strongly believed that traditional Bharat had nothing to teach regarding Morden skills, hence the best education would happen in English.

Macaulay called for an educational system -now known as Macaulayism-that would create a class of anglicized Bharatiyas who would serve as cultural intermediaries between the British and the Bharatiya.

British education became solidified into Bharat as missionary schools were established in the 1820s. Macaulay succeeded in replacing Sanskrit and Persian with English, as the administrative language, the use of English as the medium of instruction, and the training of English-speaking Bharatiyas as teachers, through the “English Education Act of 1835”.

Contemporary education is absolutely essential for growth but Bharat’s social fabric, before the British rule was imbibed with various skills, that enhanced the person to be self-reliant.

From Science to Mathematics to Logic to Literature, In every sphere of knowledge, Bharatiya had excelled and presented many innovations to the world.

The Bharatiya education system produced great scholars such as Charakh, Susurta, Aryabhatta, Varahamihir, Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, Chanakya, Chakrapani, Datta, Madhava, Panini, Patanjali, Nagarjun, Gautam’s, Pongla, Sankardev, Maitri, Gargi, and Thiruvalluvar among numerous others who made a seminal contribution to the world in diverse fields such as Mathematics, Architecture, Astronomy, Yoga, Fine Arts, Medical Science and Surgery, Engineering, Shipbuilding and Navigation, Chess and more.

But, unfortunately, as the nation came under a foreign rule, these glorious legacies were replaced.

When Bharat acquired freedom after a long lasted battle, the effect of Western influence continued in every sphere from Governance to Education. Unfortunately, the then Congress Government, post-independence, which remained in power for almost 65+ years, did not try to revive what was apt and suitable for the wholesome growth of our society and our generations thereafter, turned into “Macaulay ‘s children.”

But, times are changing...

The Narendra Modi Ji-led Government has initiated creating New Education Policy (NEP), in Modi02 in 2020. The global development agenda is “Agenda for Sustainable Development “which has been adopted by Bharat in 2015 (During Modi 01) and it seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.

Such a lofty goal will require the entire education system to be reconfigured to support and foster learning. The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), which was approved by the Union Cabinet on 29th July 2020, outlines the vision of Bharat’s new education system.

The NEP 2020 envisions an India-centric education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing high-quality education to all.

The crucial change that NEP enacts is the increase in state expenditure on education from around 3 % to 6 % of the GDP as soon as possible.

The important objectives of NEP are as follows :

A) Languages: The Policy emphasis the importance of Mother Tongue and regional languages.  It is well understood that young children learn and grasp the non-trivial concepts more quickly in their Mother tongue.

Medium of instruction until class 5 and preferably beyond, should be in these languages.

As research clearly shows that children pick up languages extremely quickly between the age of 2 and 8 and that multilingualism has great cognitive benefits to young students and hence children would be exposed to different languages early on (with emphasis on Mother Tongue) from the foundation stage onwards.

All languages would be taught in an enjoyable and interactive style with the skill development of reading and writing in other languages from grade Three and beyond.

The three-language formula would continue and the choice of languages would depend upon the state, the region, and the students themselves.

In particular, the student who wishes to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or 7, as long as they can demonstrate basic proficiency in three languages by the end of Secondary school.

Bharat is bestowed upon with extremely rich literature in other classical Languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, etc. In addition to this, classical languages like Pali, Persian, Prakrit and their work of literature must also be preserved for the pleasure and enrichment of posterity.

As a country progresses economically and socially, it is essential that the coming generation, is enriched with Bharat’s extensive and beautiful classical literature in these languages and their rich artistic treasures of Literature would be available as options.

The importance and relevance of Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient Bharat can not be overlooked.

Sanskrit, while also noted as an important modern language mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, possesses classical literature that is greater in volume than that of Latin and Greek put together, containing vast treasures of Mathematics, Philosophy, Grammer, Music, Architecture, Metallurgy, Medicine, Poetry, Drama, Storytelling, Politics and more. It is known as Sanskrit Knowledge Systems written by people of various religions as well as non-religious people from all walks of life.

Sanskrit would be offered at all levels and higher education as an important enriching option for students. In addition to the high-quality offering of Bharatiya languages, foreign languages such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian would be offered to students for enabling them to learn about the cultures of the world and enhance their global knowledge.

The teaching of all languages would be augmented through innovative and experimental methods including through gamification and apps, by weaving in the cultural aspects of the language-such as films, theatre, storytelling, poetry, music-and by drawing connections with the various relevant subjects and real-life experiences.

Indian Sign Language (ISL) would be standardized across the country and the National and State curriculum material would be developed for students with hearing impairment.

B) School Education :

Currently, the education system projects a 10+2 structure, as class 1 begins at 6. The children in the age group of 3-6 are not covered in the 10+2 structure.

In the new 5+3+3+4 structure, a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from the age of 3 is also included.

Over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs before the age of 6, indicating the critical importance of appropriate care and stimulation of the brain in the early years, to ensure healthy growth, hence the strong investment in ECCE, would have the potential to give all young children such access and solidifying their base to enable them to flourish in the educational system throughout their lives.

Thus, the new NEP targets ensuring that all students entering Grade 1 are school ready and this goal to be achieved, not later than 2030.

ECCE ideally consists of flexible, multi-faceted, multi-level, play-based, activity-based, and inquiry-based learning, comprising of Alphabets, Languages, Numbers, Counting, Colours, Shapes, indoor and outdoor play, puzzles and logical thinking, problem-solving, drawing, painting, and other visual art, Craft, drama and Puppetry, Music and movement.

It also includes a focus on developing social capacities, sensitivity, good behavior, courtesy, ethics, personal and public cleanliness, teamwork, and co-operations. The overall aim of ECCE would be to attain optimal outcomes in the domains of physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development, cultural and artistic development, and the development of communication and early language, literacy, and numeracy.

For universal access to ECCE, Anganwadi Centres would be strengthened with high-quality infrastructure, play equipment, and well-trained Anganwadi workers/teachers.

Every Anganwadi to have well ventilated, well-designed, child-friendly,well-constructed,well-constructed, and well-constructed building with an enriched learning environment.

Foundation Stage: This would cover children aged between 3-8 years. It includes three years of pre-school or Anganwadi, followed by classes 1 and 2 in Primary school.

Preparatory Stage: Classes 3 to 5, which would cover the age of 8-11 years. The subjects like Speaking, Reading, Writing, Physical Education, Languages, Art, Science and Mathematics would be gradually introduced in this stage of learning.

Middle stage: Classes 6 to 8, covering children aged between 11 and 14. In this stage, children would be introduced to more abstract concepts in subjects of Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities.

Secondary stage: Classes 9 to 12, covering the ages of 14-19 years. It is subdivided into two parts: Classes 9 and 10 cover the first phase while Classes 11 and 12 covering the second phase. These four years of study are intended to inculcate multidisciplinary study, coupled with the depth and critical thinking. Multiple options of subjects would be provided.

Instead of exams being held every academic year, school students would appear for three exams, in classes 2,5, and 8. Board exams would continue to be held for classes 10th and 12th but would be re-designed.

PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) will form an assessment body to make them easier. The exams, which would be in two parts, objective and subjective,  would be conducted twice a year, with students being offered up to two attempts. This policy aims at reducing the curriculum load of students and allowing them to be more “inter-disciplinary” and “multi-lingual”.

Example: If one wants to learn Bakery with Accounts or Fashion Designing with Chemistry, they would be allowed to do so.

Coding would be introduced from class 6 and experiential learning would be adopted.

The Mid-Day meal scheme would be extended to include breakfast. The vital focus would be given to student’s health, particularly Mental health through the deployment of Councillor and Social workers.

C) Higher Education:

The new NEP proposes a 4-year multi-disciplinary bachelor‘s degree in an undergraduate program with multiple exit options. These would include professional and vocational areas and would be implemented as below: 

A certificate after completing 1 year of study.

A diploma after completing 2 years of study.

A Bachelor‘s degree after completion of a 3-year program.

A 4 year multidisciplinary Bachelor‘s degree (the preferred option).

MPhil course would be discontinued to align degree education with how it is in the Western models.

A Higher Education Council of India (HECI) would be set up to regulate higher education.

The council’s goal would be to increase the gross enrolment ratio. The HECI would have 4 vertices.

a) National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) regulates higher education, including teacher education while excluding Medical and Legal Education.

b) National Accreditation Council (NAC), a ‘Meta-accrediting body.’

c) Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC), for funding and financing of Universities and Colleges.

This would replace the existing National Council for Teacher Education, the All India Council for Technical Education, and the University Grants Commission.

d) General Education Council (GEC) to frame “Graduate attributes”, namely the learning outcome expected.

It would also be responsible for framing a National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF).

The National Council for Teachers Education would come under the GEC, as a professional standard-setting body (PSSB). Other PSSBs would include professional councils such as Veterinary Council of India, Council of Architecture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and National Council for Vocation Education and Training. The National Testing Agency would now be given the additional responsibility of conducting entrance examinations for admissions to universities across the country, in addition to the JEE Main and NEET.

The policy proposes a change in regards to the diversity of learning in higher education institutions like IITs. The policy also proposes to internationalize education in Bharat. Foreign Universities can now set up their campus EA in Bharat.

The fee structure, of both, private and public universities would be fixed. 

The NEP 2020 has proposed substantial changes in regards to Teacher and Teacher’s Education. For a Becoming-Teacher, a 4 year Bachelor of Education would be the minimum requirement needed by 2030.

The Teacher’s recruitment process would be strengthened and made transparent. The National Council for Teacher Education would frame a National curriculum framework for Teacher Education by 2021 and National Professional Standards for Teachers by 2022.

The policy aims to ensure that all students at all levels of school education are taught by passionate, motivated, highly qualified, professionally trained, and well-equipped teachers.

Under NEP 2020, numerous new educational institutes, bodies, and concepts have been given legislative permission to be formed.

These include- a) National Education Commission, headed by the Prime Minister of Bharat. b) Academic bank of Credit, a digital storage of credits earned to help resume education by utilizing credits for further education. c) National Research Foundation to improve research and innovation. d)Special Education Zones to focus on the education of underrepresented groups in disadvantaged regions. e) Gender inclusion Fund, for assisting the nation in the education of female and transgender children. f)National Educational Technology Forum, a platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas on the technology used to improve learning.

The policy also proposes new language institutions such as the Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation and the National Institutes for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit.

Additionally, it has also proposed the National Mission for Mentoring, National Book Promotion Policy, National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.

As per Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, chairperson of the National Education Policy (NEP) drafting panel,” No language is being imposed. Multi-lingual flexibility is still the basis for the new NEP 2020.”

The rich heritage of ancient and eternal Bharatiya knowledge and thought has guided the policy. The pursuit of Knowledge (Gyan), Wisdom (Pragya), and Truth (Satya) has always been considered in Bharatiya thought and Philosophy as the highest human goal.

Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development.

Providing universal access to quality education is the key to Bharat’s continued ascent and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, Scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation.

The Hon. Prime Minister is techno-savvy and a keen supporter of innovative thinking and novel ideas, but he has an eloquent vision to preserve the Golden ingenuity of our nation and make it applicable in today’s world.

The new National Education Policy  2020 is a roadmap of Bharat’s intellectual strength in the coming years.