Current news | National Education Policy 2020 | The masterstroke?

In this article, we are going to cover the vision of NEP 2020, the changes (in school and university level), positive points, and the negative or controversial points (mentioned at the end). If you are a student, teacher, the parent or anybody who is directly affected by the education system; you must definitely go through the article because there are a lot of changes which are groundbreaking as well as controversial, so do yourself a favor by updating your knowledge on the topic in hand and share it with your friends too!

Vision

NEP 2020 looks to provide a holistic approach towards education as described in the official document. While studying this document it is evident that the government wants more people to pursue higher studies with the belief that this will create better minds for the future. The policy looks to integrate a multidisciplinary education system where students are allowed to follow their interests productively; more on this will be discussed further into the article.

The policy also looks to improve the quality of education by emphasizing the practical knowledge acquired by a student. By the promotion of certain skills such as coding made mandatory at the school level, the government aims to broaden the logical thinking of students and equip them with better decision-making skills.

One of the most debated features in many foreign education policies was multiple entry-exit plan. This is one of the target features that NEP 2020 is meaning to introduce which will help the education system to be more flexible and also interest many students to pursue higher education.

This policy also concentrates on the quality of teaching done by the teachers and explores ways to improve it in order to get across to students better.



Changes:

Changes in school education policy

  • Change in structure

The main change that stands out in this policy is the change of structure. Instead of the age-old 10+2 system, schools will now be adopting a 5+3+3+4 system which has many intermediate benefits that aim to provide effective schooling for students.

From the Lower Kindergarten to 2nd standard, the policy promotes the usage of local language for teaching as by this they believe the grasp on the subject by the students will be better. During this stage of schooling, the students will face more activity-based learning.

From the 3rd to 5th standard, learning is planned to be achieved through a skill-based curriculum coupled with an interactive section to promote confidence and a forward going attitude in students.

From 6th to 8th grade, practical knowledge is giving more emphasis by the introduction of vocational projects. Parents often humorously taunt their kids by saying that they learn about electricity but they can't change a light bulb, thanks to the new education policy, now they can't. * lol *

Vocational projects include activities like carpentry, animation, disaster management, etc. These projects will give the students a hands-on working experience for better understanding. Students at this stage are also going to start coding, this move according to many might prove to yield very good results.

From 9th to 12th grade, the policy introduces a multidisciplinary structure in this stage where students are given the option of choosing the subject they want to study. This is a huge leap from main streams of commerce, science and arts. Board exams will also be conducted twice.



Positives

  • This different approach to schooling is not new to the global education scene. Many countries have opted for a structure of similar sorts and are getting good outcomes. The 5+3+3+4 system gives a better opportunity to the students to learn important skills early on and this can help immensely as they develop these skills in their further years of education.

  • The introduction to vocational projects will definitely be a great way for children to get a sense of the practical applications of what they learn in classes. The one complaint almost everybody has with the Indian system of education is the lack of exposure to practical thinking and application, hopefully, this new policy will take care of that problem.

  • Lessons can be taught in the regional languages until grade 5, this feature will definitely make it easier for the children to grasp the subject but this feature still does pose one problem which will be addressed later on in the article towards the end.

  • The option presented to students for taking up combinations that they prefer is a very vital improvement, this allows students to gain knowledge about the subjects that they are interested in. The possibility to learn varied subjects was limited in the old policy where students of a particular stream such as science, commerce or arts were unable to study subjects from the other stream due to the restriction opposed by the then education policy. This feature now makes the education system very flexible and creates an interesting atmosphere for the students.

  • Students facing their board exams will now avail of the chance of having two attempts. This decision was taken into consideration after taking into account the possibility of students falling ill or just genuinely having a bad 1st attempt. In the same lines of self-improvement, the policy also states that in the progress report there will be a section where the students will be assessing their performance in the academic year.




Changes in university college policy

  • Multiple entry-exit plans, it is made possible for students to save the credits they have earned in case they choose to discontinue their course temporarily. If a student leaves after the 1st year a certificate is awarded, if the student discontinues after the 2nd year a diploma is awarded.

  • This policy aims to provide more attention to research and development. Courses might be extended by a year for research studies which will not be made compulsory, if a student wants to leave after the course is completed they will be awarded a degree as usual.

  • Students will be given the option to take up the subject of a minor and will have the liberty to choose any subject.

  • Ph.D.'s will be a 4-year course and there will be no necessity of M.Phil.

  • According to the policy individual boards like UGC, AICTE, NCTE, etc will all be merged into one and called the HECI.

  • One of the most revolutionary changes is that tests will now have descriptive as well as objective questions in the questions paper.

  • Colleges will be prepared to provide good quality e-content. The colleges will also include virtual labs to enhance the understanding of the subject.



positives

  • Starting with the multiple entry-exit plan, this initiative is very useful for those students who want to work for a year which might be to support their families or take care of other priorities. The fact that credits earned will be saved in a digilock account will certainly benefit students.

  • The new policy promotes research studies which will give an in-depth and richer understanding of the subject.

  • The inclusion of e-content will make it easier for students to go about in their studies and progress even in situations like this(lockdown due to pandemic). As of now, e-content is being created by colleges but hopefully, the quality of the content will be better off once the policy is carried out in full swing.

  • Virtual labs: as of now these labs were installed in the IIT's but now the MHRD(Ministry of Human Resource Development) have taken the initiative to install these labs in colleges all around to ignite the curiosity in students and make it possible for colleges with lesser resources to avail the benefits of a lab and to conduct experiments.

  • The new policy allows students to select their minor subjects and do so with little to no restriction based on stream or course.

Negatives/Controversial points of NEP 2020

  • Education till the 5th grade will be done in the local language, while this may be very beneficial to the students of that state it will pose a problem to the students who have to migrate from one state to the other as language barrier might be a significant problem. The migration of students will be lesser. Illustration: If a family from Maharashtra is to migrate to Kerala, this will pose a problem to the student due to the difference in language.

  • The new policy has received a lot of praise but on the same hand, it has also faced a certain amount of criticism. The decision has been criticized as 'Anti-democratic'. This is backed up by the reason that the policy promotes centralization and removes power from the individual states. Eg:- The party, CPI(M)-Communist Party of India (Marxist), has voiced out that the decision has not been thoroughly discussed with the states.

  • The points stated in the policy has been criticized to be very theoretical and not practical. These claims are backed by reasons like- fewer students, fewer teachers in rural areas, poor infrastructure, etc. One other concern is that the application of this policy will take a very long time.

Conclusion