WHAT DOES THE NEW EDUCATION POLICY MEAN?

Well! It’s the latest buzz around the block. After more than 3 decades, the Government of India (GoI) announced the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on the 29th of July 2020. Every parent without exception is asking what this new policy is and how it will affect their child – so here goes –

Already know about NEP 2020? Check out the initial reactions here.

Hitting the Highlights

OBJECTIVE

NEW EDUCATION STRUCTURE

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

DIGGING DEEPER

New structure and age grouping

No imposition of language up to grade 5

Vocational education begins in grade 6

Break down of walls between streams

Internships introduced in grade 6

Holistic progress cards

Redefining undergrads

Bank of Credits

Introducing MERU (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities)

Hitting the Highlights

Before we jump in here is a quick rundown of the changes that NEP 2020 brings –

OBJECTIVE

  1. “Universalization of education” across various K-12 levels
  2. Improving the GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio)
  3. Bringing 2 crore children back into the mainstream
  4. Bringing flexibility into the mainstream
  5. Focus on learning rather than performance

NEW EDUCATION STRUCTURE

  1. A new structure of 5+3+3+4 to replace the 10+2 system
  2. New age grouping for various levels and grades
  3. Schooling begins at age 3 with preschoolers covered under the new policy
  4. No imposition of language up to grade 5
  5. Vocational education begins in grade 6
  6. Break down of walls between streams
  7. Internships introduced in grade 6
  8. Holistic progress cards with a focus on learning outcome
  9. Ed. teacher training curriculum to be revamped
  10. Redefining undergrads under +4
  11. Multi-disciplinary undergraduate education
  12. Multiple entry and exit options for undergrads
  13. Introducing Bank of Credits to facilitate migration between boards and universities
  14. Introducing MERU (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities)

ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

  1. Setting up a new apex body – the National Research Foundation (NRF) – to foster a research culture
  2. Setting up HECI (Higher Education Commission of India) with 4 verticals –
    1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation
    2. General Education Council (GEC ) for setting standards
    3. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding
    4. National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation
  3. Levelling the playing field between public and private education
  4. Stage wise phasing out of college affiliation over the next 15 years
  5. Working towards the development of colleges into autonomous bodies or constituents of universities.
  6. Creation of the NETF (National Educational Technology Forum) for exchange of ideas on technology for education
  7. Setting up Gender Inclusion Funds and Special Education Zones for disadvantaged groups
  8. Promotion of Multilingualism
  9. Increasing public investment in the education sector

DIGGING DEEPER

As parents, you would naturally be most interested in the new structure and how it impacts your child so let us look at the structural changes a little more closely –

New structure and age grouping

The new 5+3+3+4 structure will replace the traditional 10+2 structure. The Indian system of education has evolved over the decades since independence when the GoI took on the responsibility of educating the Indian populous.

For more on the Indian System of Education read – A New Look at Education in India.

NEP 2020 marks yet another landmark in the history of the Indian education system. The new structure is as follows –

StageAge Group
First 5 years3-8
Next 3 years8-11
Further 3 years11-14
Final 4 years14-18

The GoI has finally acknowledged the universal truth that the ages of 3 to 6 are significant in the physical and mental growth of a child. Under NEP, a child will the education system at age 3 bringing preschoolers into the realm of the school curriculum. The first 3 years will be preschool or Anganwadi and formal education begins at age 6.

Not much different from the current system? Well, hitherto, preschoolers underwent a somewhat informal training with no prescribed curriculum. This is likely to change with prescribed learning outcomes for preschool as well as elementary (primary) school.

No imposition of language up to grade 5

NEP 2020 emphasizes gaining knowledge and skills rather than bookish knowledge. To this end, the first 5 years – the formative years – will be spent acquiring “foundational literacy and numeracy”. While the definition of this phrase is unclear, we can hope that a child who enters the system at age 3 will spend the first 5 years gaining knowledge of the language and honing his gross and fine motor skills while being introduced to the various subjects and streams of knowledge. There will, of course, be a prescribed curriculum but the pedagogy is likely to change considering the ultimate goal.

Speaking of language, the imposition of a first, second, and third language has been happily lifted allowing the child to acquire knowledge in a language of his choice – including his mother tongue – so bid adieu to regional languages at least in the first few years.

Focus – in the formative years – has shifted from scores to learning outcomes.

Vocational education begins in grade 6

Once again, we await clarity but presumably, a child in grade 6 would be introduced to subject wise study having spent 5 years learning generics. It remains to be seen whether this translates into branching of science and mathematics streams in grade 6. However, as we said earlier, the focus has hopefully shifted from acquiring high grades to achieving learning outcomes – definitely a positive step forward as it levels the playing field and eases performance pressure.

The concept of primary and secondary has changed with grade 5 merging into elementary education and vocational training beginning in grade 6

Break down of walls between streams

The walls demarcating Arts, Science, and Commerce have collapsed and, under the new multi-disciplinary system – a student – think learner – is now free to choose subjects of his choice irrespective of the stream of study. The new definition of undergrad is a flexible study pattern peppered with a creative mix of subjects including vocational subjects or courses. While it remains to be seen how this will pan out in terms of institutional structure and prescribed curricula, it is definitely an improvement on the traditional system.

Say Goodbye to Arts, Science Commerce – instead choose the subjects you would like to study

Internships introduced in grade 6

We await clarity yet again but presumably, students in grade 6 will be introduced to the real world with mock events and immersive study patterns considering that technology is increasingly being leveraged for providing education. What this means in terms of transition from grade 5 to 6 – let’s wait and watch.

Pre-teens and teens get ready to meet the real world!

Holistic progress cards

NEP 2020 endeavours to shift the focus from scores to outcome. The difference lies in the format of assessment and presentation of results. Under the new system, a child until grade 5 will be assessed on the acquisition of skills and knowledge rather than the ability to regurgitate his text. Assessments in future are therefore likely to be objective rather than subjective, requiring the learner to “think on his feet” and not simply replicate. Presentation of outcomes will also change with report cards acquiring a new look talking not just about scores but also motor skills, concentration, and other aspects of learning.

What you learn is more important than How Much you learn

Redefining undergrads

Under the new 5+3+3+4 system, the second +3 and +4 are presumably the undergrad years. While the GoI is yet to expand on this, they have said that a learner will have multiple entry and exit options. This ostensibly means that a learner may choose to quit school having completed the final +3 – and hopefully gained sufficient knowledge and skills to work – or he may choose to study for a further period of 1, 2, 3, or 4 years. Of note here is the fact that a learner completing the second +3 phase would still be a minor and not eligible to work.

The NEP 2020 has introduced much-needed flexibility into the Indian system of education.

Bank of Credits

The traditional system of TOC (Transfer of Credits) has been replaced by a “Bank of Credits”. Considering that the NEP 2020 introduces flexibility in education, a learner under the new system is likely to jump from one stream, course, or subject to another. To speed up the transition process, new policy introduces Bank of Credits, under which when a student has cleared a certain level, subject, or course; his credits will remain in his “bank” until he chooses to exit the system.

Bank of Credits may possibly extend to career launch – so start investing now!

Introducing MERU (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities)

Another new and amazing concept introduced by NEP 2020 – the MERU will be modelled on the lines of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIM (Indian Institute of Management) – two of the best multidisciplinary models in the country operating on global standards.

While clarity is awaited on many concepts introduced by the new policy as well as the process of transition from the traditional system to NEP 2020, there is no debating the fact that the new education policy is a giant, positive, and much-needed step forward for the Indian System of Education.

Do you think this will work for your child? Tell us on Facebook, Linkedin, or Instagram, Don’t forget to stay tuned.

BYN tries to tell it like it is – with no fluff.

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