Union Cabinet on July 29, announced the new National Education Policy 2020 proposing reforms in schools and higher education in the country.
The National Education Policy (NEP) was constructed by the Government of India to make the essential reform for the development of the education sector of the country. Due to the unprecedented outbreak of Coronavirus, the Government was compelled to pass the new NEP. The first NEP was passed in 1968, later in 1986 and now after a long span of 34 years. This policy is a reconfiguration of a 10+2 structure of the school curriculum with a 5+3+3+4 structure, which implies there are four development stages in the current system. Foundational Stage (Pre-school/Anganwadi/Class 1 or 2) for the age group of 3-8 years, Preparatory Stage (Class 3 to 5) for 8-11 years, Middle Stage (Class 6 to 8) for 11-14 years, and the Secondary Stage (Class 9-12) for 14-18 years.
Also, there is an emphasis on teaching up to class 5 in their respective mother tongue or regional language, there will be flexibility in choosing vocational courses, and there will be no rigid segregation amongst the three streams. However, a lot of people think that the inclusion of vocational courses is distracting and diverts students from studies. The NEP was announced after the reduction in the syllabus of Boards for minimizing pressure on the students.
There are many other reforms to be made in the UG courses making them multidisciplinary, versatile, and more integrated for the students. Also, there are multiple entries and exit options, which means, if students choose to exit at any point during the period of degree, they have the option to join back and resume from where they left. And the course would be of 3-4 years wherein for the completion of one year course students would be given Certificate, for two years Advanced Diploma, for three years’ Bachelor’s Degree, for four years Degree with Research while the M.Phil degree is to be discontinued.
Under NEP 2020, for teacher education, the minimum degree qualification will be a four-year B.Ed degree. A new National Curriculum Framework will be articulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) after the formal discussion with NCERT. For pursuing the doctorate, the students who have finished their masters would be eligible for pursuing a Ph.D. For the master level, students who complete the four years of UG courses would have the option of doing a one-year master’s degree and for those who do the UG degree for three years have to pursue two years master’s degree. A five-year integrated degree of bachelor’s and masters’ stands stringent.
Education is one of the most imperative parts of any society as it contributes to the development of its human resources. The wake of this pandemic thrives to strenuous on technology and digital expansion for the educational institutes. All the transformations are to undergo expert opinions before articulating and implementing them as education is a concurrent subject and both the Central or State governments can make varied choices. However, the numerous perceptions behind this new policy are paradoxical.
Some find many defeating flaws in the idea like infrastructure, investment, and teacher-student ratio while others think the change is for the better. As India is a diverse country following multiple cultures, languages, religions, and people belonging to different classes makes this topic debatable as not everybody has access to the required factors this new plan demands. Although NEP is not necessarily abiding, it is just a wide vision with many complications. And according to the incumbent government, the policy will undergo necessary modification, would not be immediate, and it will take a decade or two to implement the entire policy.