Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030 set by the United Nations and adopted by 193 countries around the globe considers Education one of the most important targets under SDG 4 QUALITY EDUCATION. Education should not be considered a forced task that is mandatory to finish. but it is a fulcrum of a person’s life. It provides knowledge and with it develops your personality, it gives freedom to think and develop, it helps us to differentiate between the right and the wrong and helps us to be dynamic in nature.
And therefore shouldn’t we, in the same way, expect the government to change their ways according to the changes around us and according to what the world demands?
We should, right?
Let’s understand the New Education Policy.
A New Education Policy is a framework that states the changes in the existing education policies of a particular country. From time to time the government of India has made reforms to bridge the gap between the current state of learning outcomes and what is required to bring the highest quality, equity, and integrity into the system. A reformulated NEP is accepted by the government once every decade and India has had 3 reforms till now. When Congress MP Siddheshwar Prasad criticized the government for lacking a vision and philosophy for education in 1964, that was the very first time a need for an education policy was taken into consideration by the government of the country and in 1968 a new education policy was launched. The second reform was introduced in the year 1986 under Rajiv Gandhi and after 34 years on 29th July 2020 under PM Narendra Modi NEP, 2020 was declared to replace the 1986 policy.
If the reforms come every decade or so, why is everyone discussing the New Education Policy 2020?
The Education Policy 2020 comes with a set of reforms that will change the entire education system of India for the better. It contains reforms that India’s youth has wanted for many years and now they are finally going to implement it. This National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st century that aims to address the varied and dynamic developmental imperatives of our country. The Policy lays particular emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual. It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive capacities - both the ‘foundational capacities ’of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive capacities, such as critical thinking and problem-solving – but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions.
Now let’s discuss what actually are some major reforms which are interesting yet challenging for the country to adopt in this Policy:
Mandatory increase in the number of schooling years from 6-14 years to 3-18 years of schooling. Hence, the system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre-schooling.
The 10+2 structure of the school curriculum is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively due to the major emphasis on Early Childhood and Education(ECCE).
The dismantling of the University grants commission, popularly known as UGC with other exams conducting commission such as AICTE and NCTE and this all will be replaced by Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) which will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
The students can now choose their combinations of subjects and there will be no bifurcation on the basis of science, arts, and commerce and not even in vocational or any other extracurricular activities.
Doesn’t it sound quite amazing? Some of the graduates might surely relate to this and wish if these amendments were there when they were in school or college. However, the reforms don’t end here, there are more so let’s get back.
The mother tongue as the medium of communication and instruction. The NEP only suggests the use of the student's mother tongue as the medium of exchange and does not put a compulsion on the same. It sticks to the ‘three-language formula’ but also mandates that no language would be imposed on anyone.
With an aim to decrease the dropout rate, the undergraduate degree will have either 3 or 4 years of education with multiple exit options for the students.
NEP declares the discontinuation of the M.Phil program.
But the real question that haunts some and on the other side excites some is when this will be implemented? A year, in 5 Years, A Decade, or even more?
This will not happen immediately because changing everything at one go needs skilled human resources, Budget and obviously establishing this in a country like India where the GDP is sufficiently low. The incumbent government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire policy. Sufficient funding is also crucial; keeping in mind that the 1968 NEP was hamstrung by a shortage of funds.
Here’s another interesting question which some of you might be skeptical about while reading this and that is, are all these reforms beneficial or some may impose destruction?
I would like you to think about it and let me know in the comments!!
- Kashish Changrani, a volunteer at EdJustice, a 2nd-year student pursuing Economics Honours at Kirorimal College.