Decoding the New Education Policy 2020 in India

10 minute read
New Education Policy

On 29th July 2020, the former and current HRD Ministers of India jointly disclosed a New Education Policy for the country in a press conference. The first major policy revamp since 1986, NEP holds the responsibility to overhaul India’s outdated education model. Exceeding everyone’s expectations, the policy envisions far-reaching transformations in the educational landscape of the country, right from its micro-segments to major governing bodies. A plan of this magnitude will take a few years to fully unfold and implement itself. This article includes all the prominent information relating to the 60-page policy draft. Let’s explore the New Education Policy of 2020 and see what it ensues.

Drafting the New Education Policy

The New Education Policy of India is approved by the Union Cabinet, after thorough research and consideration for more than five years. The Government of India has been using public opinion extensively for the process, connecting with lakhs of individuals through online portals, Gram Panchayats and other mediums of communication. K. Kastoorirangan committee etched up the first draft of New Education Policy, which was handed over to the Human Resource Development Ministry. To get an opinion from the think-tank and political groups across the country, the policy was translated into 22 languages, along with an audiobook version. This followed a deliberation with MPs of numerous Indian states, who provided practical inputs on the subject. 

To elaborate on the implementation of this policy, CABE was also invited for deliberation in 2019, followed by a standing parliamentary committee in November 2019. Finally, after fine-tuning and following the legal processes, the New Education Policy was rolled out on 29th July 2020.

New Education Policy

New Education Policy Latest Update

Karnataka becomes 1st State to Implement New Education Policy: The government of Karnataka has issued an order on 07-08-2021 of New Education Policy 2020 in the current academic year 2021 – 2022. 

The minister of higher education, Dr. CN Ashwath Narayana, stated this after setting up a meeting with department officials and state higher education council. Narayana said, “With this, Karnataka has become the first state in the nation to issue the order regarding implementing New Education Policy 2020.” 

Guidelines To Execute New Education Policy 2020

The below list represents some of the important guidelines on New Education Policy 2021 in the state of Karnataka: 

  • Candidates of BSc or BA degrees should opt for two subjects (discipline core) available in their respective colleges. In addition, they can select one major and one minor or opt for both as major subjects. Also, they need to select Kannada and one more language as language subjects. 
  • It is not important to opt for any subject not necessary for studying subject-based graduate courses such as BCom, BCA, BBA, BVA, BPA, etc. 
  • Candidates will receive the certificate even if they discontinue for any reason after the completion of the sophomore year of graduation (National Skills Qualifications Framework Level 5).
  • Candidates shall receive the diploma certificate even if they discontinue for any reason after the completion of the second year of graduation (National Skills Qualifications Framework Level 6).
  • Candidates will receive the bachelor’s degree even if they discontinue for any reason after the completion of the first year of graduation (National Skills Qualifications Framework Level 7).
  • Candidates will receive the honors degree if the 4th of the course is available in the college where the student has studied the earlier years and the selected optional subjects. (National Skills Qualifications Framework Level 8). Also, if a research project is part of the course, such students will be eligible to directly go for Ph.D. studies. 
  • Non-mandatory for colleges to have an honours degree. 
  • Candidates can receive a maximum of 40% of the expected credits through official online courses
  • The candidates can get a degree after receiving a maximum of 50% credits from the respective university 

Key Features of New Education Policy 2020

The policy provides an immense scope of expansion and change in the education sector. It comprises almost every aspect of formal education in India, right from pre-schooling to research institutions. There are numerous policy provisions, for all academic levels. We have encapsulated these provisions under suitable department heads for easy comprehension. Here are some of the major highlights:

Changes in the School Education System

A majority of provisions under the New Education Policy focus on transforming the school system. The NEP has directed some root-level changes in the very way the students approach education. A newer curriculum, holistic student development and integration of practical knowledge are some of the features of this visionary policy. Here is some comprehensive information:

Revamping the Pedagogical Structure
Formal schooling will witness certain structural changes. In place of the previously established 10+2 format, the schooling journey of students is now divided into four groups, which are:

-> 5 years: Pre-primary to 2nd standard
-> 3 years: 3rd to 5th standard
-> 3 years: 6th to 8th standard
-> 4 years: 9th to 12th standard

This has been done to prepare dedicated education frameworks for each age group, which would help in providing progressive and supportive learning to students.

Transformation of School Curriculum
This policy eyes towards making some big changes in the core curriculum offered in schools, making it more practical and relevant to today’s world. The syllabus size will be reduced, and interactive educational activities like projects, debates and others will be promoted. NCERT will also make some foundational changes in its curriculum, enabling mathematical thinking and analytical approaches to subjects.

Education will be imparted through the medium of regional languages at least till class 5th, and preferably until class 8th. Schools would be encouraged to teach 3 languages to students, two of which should be native to India. Indian Sign Language will be standardised and implemented pan India.

E-Learning and Computer Education
To promote digital learning throughout the country, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be established which will encompass many subjects and will also be available in 8 regional languages initially. 

Notably, now students will be offered coding subjects as early as class 6th. This is done while keeping the changing dynamic of global businesses, as the demand for IT professionals is gaining pace by the hour. 

Health Education and Student Wellness
To improve health education and awareness among students, schools will have dedicated training for healthcare skills like First aid, CPR and personal hygiene. A health card will be issued to every child which will keep track of their well-being and mark any illnesses that a student faces.

To aid students with disabilities, schools would be trained to provide a better environment. The burden of a school bag will also be lessened by observing bag-free days in schools. On such days, schools will impart practical and life skills to students. Besides physical health, every school will be encouraged to hire counsellors who can help any children in need.

Eliminating Stream Rigidity
The New Education Policy has done away with the existing classification between Humanities, Science and Commerce subjects. Students can now choose from a much wider pool of subjects, picking those which are more relevant to the career they aspire to pursue. Along with that, there will be no distinction between curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Each subject’s importance in shaping a student will be identified and promoted.

Promoting Vocational and Skill Learning
To inculcate practical workmanship skills in students, vocational training is introduced for classes 6th to 12th. Students will get in touch with their local businesses and traders, understand their business operations and support them for a span of 10 days during their summer break. This is done with a view to seed entrepreneurial and business knowledge among students from an early age, while also serving as an ethical lesson to respect all types of work. Additionally, vocational courses will no longer be deemed as inferior to traditional education.

Overhauling Board Exams
The NEP plans to lessen the burden of board exams on students. Coupled with lessening the school curriculum, the significance of board exams will also be dwarfed. Additionally, board exams will be conducted in two parts, i.e. objective and descriptive exams. This type of exams will initiate with Mathematics, and slowly move to other subjects. The exams will also focus more on testing the practical skills of students, instead of promoting rote learning.

Improvement in Student Assessment
To uplift the present standards of student assessment, this policy aims to launch an AI-powered software which would keep track of student progress throughout the years, displaying areas of strength and aptitude. Speaking of aptitude, National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct quality aptitude tests to map student skills. Additionally, peer assessment and teaching will be promoted so that students grow in synergy. The final report card will provide a holistic view of a student’s performance, notably also including the student’s own views on their performance.

Akshay Chaturvedi on New Education Policy 2020

Changes in the Higher Education System

Another key element of the educational apparatus, colleges and universities have gotten their fair share of policy changes in this New Education Policy. The policy aims to make higher education a globalised affair while integrating the regulatory boards and breathing fresh air in the country’s research wing. Here is some descriptive information regarding the same:

Integration with Global Education
One of the salient features of the New Education Policy is its acceptance of international education. The NEP invites top universities from across the globe to set up their campuses in India and bring their skill and expertise to our developing country. These international universities will be regulated by the norms set up by Indian authorities. Similarly, top Indian institutes will be offered an opportunity to set up their campuses abroad, allowing inflow of foreign exchange, as well as international recognition as a leading country for education.

Common Entrance Exam
National Testing Agency (NTA) will offer a standardised test to all students who have completed their class 12th. Much like the American SATs in nature, this test will be detrimental for students to score a seat in Colleges and Universities. This common test will not be mandatory, but a primary gateway to higher education for students. 

Fee Fixation for Educational Institutions
As a major decision in the education industry, the government will regulate the fee structure for both public and private institutions. All educational institutions will be recognised as Non-profit institutions and their profits will go back towards improving educational levels. The government will also determine a fee ceiling, which can not be surpassed by private or public institutions for any reason.

Promoting Multidisciplinary Institutes
Multidisciplinary colleges are those which offer courses and degrees to students across a variety of disciplines. All the prevalent educational institutions which provide education in only a few disciplines will be promoted to become multidisciplinary. This includes premium institutes like IITs. This is done with a vision to improve campus diversity as well as the face value of Indian colleges and universities. 

Improving College and Course Flexibility
The NEP brings forth a host of provisions which will facilitate students in shifting their courses as per their wish. There will be multiple entry-and-exit points in every degree course, enabling students to jump from one course to another. To support this process and ensure that there is no obsolescence of courses which are half-completed by students, the NEP envisions to establish an Academic Bank of Credit. All academic progress of a student will be recorded here in the form of credits earned after studying any subject in any course. These credits can then, in turn, be used as a reflector of student’s knowledge of a particular discipline.

Along with this, students will be allowed to choose their major and minor subjects as per their own will, and they will be graded accordingly. 

Akshay Chaturvedi on New Education Policy 2020

Education Governing Systems

Not just schools and colleges, the regulatory and governing departments of education have been transformed with the New Education Policy. While some have been integrated, other redundant educational ventures have been discarded. Here’s some key highlights:

Integration of UGC and AICTE
In an attempt to centralise the regulation of higher education in India, the New Education Policy plans to integrate leading regulatory bodies- UGC and AICTE. This move is projected to have a positive impact on the governance of higher education institutions in our country, bringing the key funding organization and the Council of Technical Education a step closer to each other. 

Establishing an Assessment Center
To evaluate the performance and functioning of educational institutes throughout India, the policy plans on launching PARAKH, an assessment centre for state and central boards of education. This will standardize schooling education across states, ensuring all students have a common platform for learning and assessment. Along with this, the HECL will also establish a meta-accreditation body, named as National Accreditation Council (NAC). This body will grade institutions on the basis of basic norms, public self-disclosure, good governance, and outcomes.

Evolving Teaching Methods
The policy also lays down the procedure for training teachers to adapt to the new educational framework. It aims to enable all teachers to teach and assess students according to the NEP by 2023 across all schools in India. Coupled with this, all teachers will have to complete a 4-year B.Ed course by 2030 if they want to professionally teach students. All training institutes which are inept at proper teacher training will be discontinued. 

Increased Expenditure on Education
The government plans to increase its overall expenditure on education by a vast degree. The proposed expenditure is as high as 6% of the GDP of the country. This will include technological up-gradation of all government-owned schools, recruiting better-trained staff, along with student counsellors and healthcare professionals. 

Improvement in Indian Research Facilities
New Education Policy aims to improve the researching facilities in the country, facilitating indigenous research in reaching its potential. A new governing body of research will be established, named the National Research Foundation (NRF). This will be headed by a rotating board of directors, who would all be top researchers from their respective fields. 

Students who have performed research work during their academic degree will be allowed to complete their research and upon completion, their research work will be recognised along with their degree. Additionally, M.Phil will be scrapped for all academic courses.

In conclusion, readers must observe that this is the biggest policy decision in the Indian education system in a long time. These changes in the educational framework are forward-looking and transformative in nature, made according to the needs of the modern world. This policy will work in synergy with premier Indian Ed-Tech companies like Leverage Edu in bolstering the opportunities for securing globally recognised higher education for Indian students. Students must brace themselves for the changes to come in the future, and stay informed with the relevant developments in the education system.

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