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NEP 2020: Opportunities & challenges

Cabinet headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the new ‘National Education Policy, 2020’

NEP 2020

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 Nov 2020 5:05 AM GMT

Gunin Borah

(The writer is the Faculty of Geography in Biswanath College, Chariali. The views expressed are his own. He can be reached at )

Cabinet headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the new 'National Education Policy, 2020' with transformational reforms in Schools, and Higher Education systems in the country. Though, not a binding constitutional document, the policy is aimed at envisioning the educational document. The new policy is aimed at upgrading the educational framework and orientation of the country in the upcoming years.

After a 34-year gap, there is change in the education policy in India, with the introduction of the New Education Policy (NEP), 2020. This new policy aims at universalization of education in India, with a 100 per cent gross enrolment ratio by the year 2030 for school education and 50 per cent by 2025 for higher education. Like all other policies, NEP 2020 also has its share of positives and negatives. Everyone read more to know about them.

The first among the positive policy prescription is the aim to increase the combined centre and state public investment in the education sector to 6 per cent of the country's GDP, which as of the current times, remain somewhere around 4.5 per cent of the total GDP. Though experts have long recommended raising the allocation to 6 per cent, it is up to the subsequent budget formulation to implement the raise envisioned by the new policy documents.

The NEP 2020 emphasizing on 'Universal access to school education at all levels- Pre- School to Secondary level of school' with infrastructural support and innovation. It expands the ambit of the free and compulsory school education for students belonging to category between 6 and 14 years as has been envisaged by the Right to Education Act, 2009 to the age category between 3 and 18 years and hence, allow more students to reap its benefits.

The NEP 2020 aims to bring back 2 corer dropout students into the fold of mainstream school education and attain 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Rate in school education. At the same time it 'aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3 % (2018) to 50% by 2035', while adding 3.5 corer new seats to Higher Education Institutions.

As it aims to reduce the rate of dropouts among students, beyond doubt its practical implication may usher in positive change in the country's educational scenario. This stands hand in gloves with the provision of equitable and inclusive education.

The existing 10+2 structure of school education will be replaced by 5+3+3+4 structure which will focus on the formative years of learning of a student. The structure corresponds to the age group as follows. The age groups are 3 to 8 years, 8 to 11 years, 11 years to 14 years, and 14 to 18 years at school level. These constitute 12 years in the school and 2 years in Pre-School for each student.

The NCERT has given the job to design and develop the National curricular and Pedagogical Framework for early childhood care and education. This will be for children within 8 years of age. There will be a formation of National Book Promotion Policy in India. Under this new education policy, National Mission or Functional Literacy and Numeracy by the Education Ministry will be setup soon.

The states of India will be responsible for the successful implementation for achieving the foundation numeracy and literacy for all students. This is applicable for students till class three and this has to be done by 2025.

There will be board examinations before in class-10 and class-12. But, they will be lesser stakes and more stress, and will be given on the holistic upgrading the students. The school examinations will be only held in class 3, 5 and 8 and the other classes will be assessed by the school authorities. It has been announced PARAKH will be setup soon. This will be a National Assessment Centre setup by the government under the new education policy.

The emphasis has been given on setting up Gender Inclusion Fund and Special Education Zones. This will be beneficial for underprivileged people. Bal-Bhabans will be established in every state. This will be boarding school, where the students can take part in art, play, career-related activities.

It has also been announced that a National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education by the year 2022. This will be done after consulting with SCERTs, NCERT, Teachers and Institutions. There will be an establishment of an Academic Bank Credit, where the Credits earned by the students will be stored, so that it can be later on counted when the Final Degree is completed.

The multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) will be setup in the country. These institutions will be at par with the existing IITs, IIMs, and will aim to showcase multidisciplinary education for the Indian students. Public and private academic bodies will be guided by the same list of accreditation and regulation rules. The college affiliation will be phased out and colleges will be granted autonomy. A four year B.Ed. Degree will be recognized as minimal degree for teaching by the year 2030. Online education will be promoted so that students can prepare for the pandemic situation. This will also prepare the system, while imparting quality education during such difficult times.

The sharpest criticism against the NEP has been that, it would lead to the privatization of higher education, which is a denial of social justice. The NEP aims to gradually phase out the system of affiliation to a university in 15 years and grant autonomy to colleges, which will open the doors to privatizing.

The language seems to be a negative factor in the NEP, 2020. India has the problem of a disturbing student and teacher ratio. So introduction of mother language in academic institutions for each subject is a problem. This is simply because finding a competent teacher is a challenge at times. And now the challenge is to bring study material in mother language.

The government of India wanted to follow in the steps of other countries like China, Germany, and France, where the foreign students need to learn the language of the country to understand the country better. And India has 22 active languages and not one language like in the other countries.

The NEP will further increase the difference between the sections of the society. While the students in government schools will be taught in their respective languages, the students in private institutions will be introduce to English from the early classes. This will further increase students, who will not be comfortable with English as they will be introduced to the subject about seven years later than the students in private schools.

Under the new education system, one has to study for four years to complete their graduations. However, the question arises as to why the students will continue with the program, if he or she can get diploma in two years? If he or she left the program mid way after two years, then he or she could easily have two years of experience of work, which will be valuable in the long run.

The National Education Policy, 2020, has more positives than negatives. However, it is only after its execution that the pupil will finally be able to judge its effectiveness.

The NEP- 2020 aspires to combine traditional knowledge with modern thinking and introduces vocational education from elementary school. It is emphasis on technology in education and attempt to transform education planning, teaching and learning assessment. But a large number of students do not have access to such technology and gadget. These excluded students would be deprived from the new modes of learning. Rising poverty, and job losses would impact the continuity of education for a large number of students. Some budgetary commitments have been highlighted for online education. But they might not be enough to offer devices to the students, or building e-infrastructure in rural areas.

Although there may be a few minor loopholes the new National Education Policy, nevertheless is revolutionary. Hopefully, there are further addressed in the parliament session to come. The implementation of the policy however will start immediately with first change being Ministry of Human Resource Development getting renamed as the Ministry of Education in India.

Other implementations are to be done in phases from the coming months. Meaning, many significant changes of over 100 action points being noticed. The complete New Policy however is meant to transform the education system by the year 2040. Final judgment on extent of its success can only be made on its execution.

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