The National Education Policy 2020: Promising a Strong Base for a Progressive Future.


The education policy was first introduced in India in 1968 during the Indira Gandhi government. This was followed by the 2nd education policy in 1986 during the Rajiv Gandhi government which was further modified by P.V Narsimha Rao’s government in 1992. After 34 long years of waiting, National Education Policy 2020, has been introduced with a promising potential to transform the delivery of education in India. This policy was first mentioned in BJP’s 2014 manifesto and was mentioned again in 2015 when Mrs Smriti Irani became the Human Resource Development minister. This committee was formed to suggest modifications and customizations for a new national education policy, however, they failed in doing so. It was only in 2019 that a committee headed by Dr K. Kasturirangam was assigned the task to draft the new education policy we are now seeing. In this article, we will look at just how effective this new education policy is in transforming the education system in the country.


The Significant Changes

Amongst many other new additions, there are few changes mentioned in this education policy that stands out. The name of the Human Resource Development ministry is to be changed to the Education ministry. This name change was among the key recommendations of the new National Education Policy draft (NEP). The previous Ministry of Education was renamed as the Human Resource Department ministry in 1985 during the tenure of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Furthermore, the government has also decided that the GDP investment in the Education sector will be increased from 1.6% to 6%. This will not only open gates for new inventions but will also make educational infrastructure across the country more efficient. Another significant change is the aim to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3 per cent to 50 per cent by 2035. However, these changes are only achievable if a dynamic change is introduced in the existing approach.


Analysis of the Pedagogical System

The existing pedagogical system of 10+2 is revised to a 5+3+3+4 system corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. The division of the Pedagogical framework was made to include children of early education with age groups 3-5, into formal education and also to include this stage of education in the school curriculum as per the Global norm which has not been done before. The method for including the coding system in early education is to compete with developed countries. Moreover, the inclusion of their mother tongue as an educational medium at an early stage will give children an advantage to better understand the language, as it is done in Europe. The intriguing storybooks with pictures and signs, toys and activity-based learning of private nursery and LKG classes always excluded the underprivileged who couldn't afford this, but with versatile, multi-level, play-based, activity-based and inquiry-based learning for all, the new pedagogical and curriculum framework of school education has now been created with affordable prices for the masses.


Inclusion of Skills Courses

Keeping in mind the phrase “Atma nirbhar bharat” or self-reliant India the HRD ministry has given thought to the skill development of coming generations to ensure students become self-reliant and more efficient after completing their schooling. This objective is going to be achieved by including contemporary subjects, vocational courses and extracurricular activities. “Bal bhavans” which are special daytime boarding schools, are to be established to support mechanisms tailored to suit the needs of students and vitalize them to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities.


Promoting Social Responsibility

In 2015, the United Nations defined 17 sustainable development goals mentioning SDG4 primarily for delivery of quality education. The new education policy also mentions the setting up of institutions for social awareness that will include activities for society and provide a socially cohesive environment at schools. Furthermore, the policy also mentions the discussions of the main roles of Higher Education Institutes in social involvement, school funding, value-based education and environmental education. A person's holistic development is promoted by positive inclusive education and not restricted to specific subjects. The intention is to prepare students to think and adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle from the primary levels of education.


Globalization of Higher Education

Promoting global exposure and creating efficient opportunities for foreign students in the country is mentioned for the first time in an education policy of India. It targets on turning India into a knowledge hub attracting foreign nationals and to promote research collaborations and student exchanges between Indian institutions and global institutions through organized efforts. They will be allowed to share credits between international universities and home institutes for awards of an appropriation degree as per HEI. This is a significant multi-benefit reform that should benefit seamless education and industrial jobs for students around the globe. It will not only benefit educational ties but will also strengthen international relations with other countries. Additionally, foreign students will become more familiar with Indian culture, socio-economic diversity, trade regulations, industry strengths and many other things.


The Use of Technology by Creating Digitized Classrooms

The recent pandemic crises and the initiative of digital India have led to the introduction of reforms which promote digital libraries, digital content, digital classrooms, online teaching and learning of different languages in the National Education Policy 2020. Further, to make India a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, the policy continues to mention details about a dedicated unit for planning and development of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building of institutes in technology to look after the e-education needs of students in school and higher educational institutes. The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), an autonomous body, is being proposed to provide a platform for facilitating decision-making on technology induction, deployment, and use, as well as the opportunity to consult and share best practices.

Making Teaching Staff Thorough and At Par with Contemporary Technology

Initiatives have specifically been introduced for teacher training in schools and higher education sectors. It is aimed to educate them in digital technology with each district's assistance from national agencies and centres. It also mentions higher teacher remuneration for attracting the industry's best talents. Introduction of B.Ed education courses and compulsory certified education in teaching pedagogy with contemporary demands for aspiring professors during Ph. D enrolment has also been made necessary.


Conclusion

Many intriguing features have been inserted in the NEP and it looks very promising on paper, however, implementation will have its challenges in terms of funding, best-in-class resources and support of the concerned people and authorities. Still, after so many years of waiting, this initiative has all the potential to transform the quality of education of India and should be welcomed by us with open arms. We should support this policy and also keep a check on its implementation and ensure that benefits are being availed by the majority of people and keep giving feedback for a further scope of improvement as well.


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