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[Yojana Archives] National Education Policy 2020

February 2022

Context

  • The New Education Policy 2020 aims to mark a revolution in the entire process of teaching and learning.
  • Incorporation of quality in education is a requirement of essence not just in terms of estimation of efficiency but certainly a valuable dimension to reform the system creating new opportunities.
National Education Policy 2020: Highlights


The fundamental principles guiding both the education system, as well as the individual institutions within it are:
·         Recognizing, identifying and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, in both academic and non-academic spheres.
·         Achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by Grade 3.
·         Flexibility to choose learning trajectories and own paths of life, as per talents and interests.
·         Elimination of hierarchies and silos by ending the separation between curricular and extra-curricular activities, vocational and academic streams etc.
·         Multidisciplinary and holistic education across sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and sports.
·         Conceptual understanding instead of rote learning.
·         Promoting creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision making and innovation.
·         Instilling ethics, and human and Constitutional values like empathy, cleanliness, spirit of democracy, equality and justice. Promoting multilingualism.
·         Life skills like communication, cooperation and teamwork.
·         Regular assessments instead of summative assessment, to end the ‘coaching culture’. Use of technology for increasing access, removing language barriers etc.
·         Respect for diversity and local context.
·         Equity and inclusion.
·         Synergy in curriculum from preschool to higher education.
·         Capacity Building and providing a positive working environment to teachers and faculty.
·         ‘Light but tight’ regulatory framework through good governance and empowerment.
·         Focus on research. Continuous review of progress.
·         Pride in Indian culture and knowledge systems.
·         Education as a public service and right of every child.
·         Investment in education.

Backgrounder: Education Policies in India

  1. National Education Policy 1968: This was the first policy laying the pathway for further spread of education in the country. It called for increasing the expenditure on education to 6%. It also called for free and compulsory education to everyone, along with development of regional languages and equalization of opportunity for all.
  2. New Education Policy 1986: It was released by the Rajiv Gandhi government. The main features of the policy included inclusion of early childhood care in the ambit of education, emphasis on the education of vulnerable sections like SC, ST, women etc., and providing avenues for inclusive education like distance education and open universities.
  3. National Education Policy 2020: The current policy has been designed keeping in mind the requirements of 21st century and the rapid growth of technology in the world.

Inspiration for NEP 2020

The policy derives its inspiration from the below goals:

  • SDG-4: NEP 2020 has been formulated keeping in mind India’s commitments to Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 4, i.e. ‘to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
  • Right to Education: It was enacted by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act in the year 2009 and was enforced in 2010. It introduced a new Article 21A into the Constitution. The act provides for free and compulsory education for children in the age group of 6-14 years.

Components of NEP 2020

  • The National Education Policy 2020 is divided into four parts:
  1. Part I: School Education
  2. Part II: Higher Education
  3. Part III: Other Key Areas of Focus
  4. Part IV: Making it Happen

Objectives of the NEP 2020

  • Roadmap for becoming global knowledge superpower: The Policy aims to transform India into a global knowledge superpower.
  • Making of a responsible citizen: The policy seeks to build an informed citizenry, which is aware of its rights and upholds national integrity and sovereignty in high esteem.
  • Legacy pride: The focus is on making people aware of their rich heritage and culture, and take pride in being a national of a country having a great historical legacy, spanning over multiple millennia.
  • Sustainable development: NEP 2020 has an inherent focus on making the children of today, responsible citizens of tomorrow, who understand the importance of sustainable consumption of natural resources.
  • Time-bound development: The policy has a deadline of the year 2040 to implement the provisions mentioned in the policy.

Various policy initiatives

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: The central and the state governments have taken active steps through exemplary schemes like the SSA, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and Teacher Education to promote quality education and access in the disadvantaged and weaker sections of the society.
  • The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: Under this Act, good quality elementary education is mandated to adhere to the standards and provisions of the Act.  
  • NISHTHA (National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement): It is a unique programme under Samagra Shiksha by which the government is trying to revamp the teacher training process with the help of important academic bodies.
  • PM E-Vidya: It is noteworthy to mention and it aims to provide access to a variety of e-resources in 33 languages that involve Indian Sign Language, DIKSHA (one digital platform), Swayam Prabha and Podcast – Shiksha Vani.
  • PM POSHAN Shakti Nirman: It is a centrally sponsored scheme under the National Food Security Act that comprises children of Balvatika to class VIII in government and government-aided schools to be supplied nutritious food to the school-going children.
  • SAFAL Assessment: A competency-based assessment will be introduced through Structured Assessment for Analyzing Learning Level (SAFAL) for grades 3, 5 and 8 in accordance with the NEP.
  • Accreditation initiatives: The School Quality Assessment and Accreditation has been considered as the Standards Setting Authority for Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, Private Independent Schools and Government schools affiliated to the Board.
  • Performance Grading Index: It is an index released by the Ministry of Education for measuring performance of states in school education.

Challenges

  • Gaps in Learning Outcomes: The education system in India suffers from promotion of rote-learning and emphasis on bookish knowledge. This promotes a lack of understanding among the pupils.  
  • Lack of Parental Literacy: Due to the low literacy levels in the previous generation, there is a clear lack of understanding among parents and teachers about pedagogy.  
  • Lack of Motivation: At the same time, students complain of learning being a mechanical process, with teachers scrambling for course completion within the assigned time.
  • Workload on teachers: On the other hand, teachers complain about the overload of work due to additional responsibilities like census duty, preparing mid-day meals, awareness generation programmes and election duties, which are given to them by the government.
  • Ineffective School Leadership: Teachers complain about a lack of effective guidance and leadership from the higher management of the schools.    
  • Lack of Focus on Soft skills: The focus of school education is on rote learning. This diverts attention from the overall development of the child as the children are unable to learn basic life skills like communication and socialization.  

Way forward

  • Curriculum Revamp: The general perception regarding updates in curriculum is conservative in India. This needs to change as many subjects like IT show a rapid evolution in a short period of time and outdated learning in such subjects may lead to more harm than good.
  • Linkages across School Levels: Again, there is a need to incorporate incremental learning across different levels of schools to make children grasp the concepts in an efficient manner.  
  • Synergy with the World: Care needs to be taken in designing the course material in such a way that the subjects are informative and aligned with the real world.
  • Holistic planning: It is imperative to engage the subject experts who have an idea of latest updates in the field. Therefore, a committee comprising subject experts, teachers, as well as parents, should be formed to look into better designing of the materials.
  • Innovation in Pedagogy: It is well-established that all children have their own speed of learning and understanding a subject. Therefore, the teachers need to be encouraged to improvise teaching methods and engage all students in an inclusive manner.  
  • Proper assessment mechanism: It should be done in a manner which does not create fear of exams in the children. Therefore, there is a need for comprehensive evaluation of children, to be ensured continuously throughout the year.
  • Capacity Building: There is a need to make the teachers stakeholders in the education system, so that they understand their responsibility towards future development of the nation.  

Conclusion

  • India still suffers from a lack of basic numeracy and foundational literacy as manifested in the ASER report released by the NGO Pratham.
  • In such a context, NEP 2020 has come at the right time and is expected to boost India’s literacy and skill levels across the levels of education.
  • The need is to implement the well-intentioned provisions in the policy in a time-bound manner.
  • This will create hope for a better future for many of the poverty-afflicted households of the country and enhance the standing of the country at the international level and will create livelihoods.
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Asghar Tanveer
Asghar Tanveer
2 months ago

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