2020, the year of chaos and change. A year that shook up the citizens of the world, causing disarray in the economy and all its sectors. Along with chaos came change, positively for the education sector that needed revamping and modification. A change that has been awaited and needed has taken its place in the form of the National Education Policy, 2020.
India’s Union Cabinet on July 29th 2020, announced the new National Education Policy 2020. The policy is expected to set the path for the education sector keeping in mind the current employment scenario in the country. It also highlights non-academic skills and increased inclusion through language diversity and course fluidity. This is India’s third National Education Policy since the earlier ones from 1968 and 1986. The cabinet also decided to rename the Ministry of Human Resource Development as the Ministry of Education.
National Education Policy 2020 has a target of 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio, in school education by 2030.
The Policy reaffirms that major social gaps in access, participation, and learning outcomes in school education will continue to be one of the major targets of all education sector development programmes.
Schools will actually need to redefine the teaching and learning process for a proper implementation of National Education Policy 2020 to actually witness a trajectory of transformation for a phenomenal outcome.
The key takeaways from the policy are:
The National Education Policy, 2020 focuses on universal access to school education at all levels –preschool to secondary. To achieve this, provisions such as infrastructure support, innovative education centres to bring back dropouts into the mainstream, tracking of students and their learning levels, and several others are included in the policy. The policy also facilitates multiple pathways to education that include both formal and non-formal modes of education. Vocational courses, adult literacy, and life enrichment programs are some of the additional provisions of the policy. The traditional 10+2 structure of the school education will be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure, which will correspond to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. The modified system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of pre-schooling. The policy emphasises the use of regional/local languages as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5. Furthermore, Sanskrit will be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students. National Education Policy, 2020 plans to surge the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education including vocational education, from 26.3 per cent in 2018 to 50 per cent by 2035. To achieve this, approximately 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions.
Through this new policy, efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other minority groups. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to provide support, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Further, private higher education institutes will also be encouraged to offer a large number of scholarships to their students. The policy will focus on technology and digitisation of the education sector.
This revival of the policy after a gap of 34 years was much needed with fresh advancements and massive amendments the policy has a new outlook. The new face of the policy, unlike its predecessor, is built on a basic structure including access, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability. Its amendments aim to look realistic and towards the oncoming future.