The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is the paradigm shift that India was waiting for. It holds the promise of a revolution in the Indian education system, with its fresh and modern initiatives and inclusive character. Educationists across India talk about NEP and how it will change the landscape of learning.
An ambitious plan
The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 announced by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, envisages to make the Indian education system at par with that in Germany and Singapore.
The age-old education system tries to fit students into three categories: science, commerce, and humanities but more often than not, students are interested in a variety of subjects. As per the new policy students will have more flexibility to choose their subjects — they can study physics with political science. NEP is a comprehensive framework for elementary education to higher education as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India. It aims to transform India's education system by 2030.
A change in the structure
According to the principal, Prathibha V of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala, Ernakulam, "I think it's a good initiative because students have several options. Else most of the children would presume engineering and medicine are the only two streams of professions." If students get exposure to a range of universities, they would drop the clichéd streams and find sources to match their aptitude and interests.
The NEP proposes to change the school curricular structure from the current 10+2 (Class 1-10 of general education followed by two years of higher secondary school with specialised subjects) with a 5+3+3+4 structure, bringing children from ages 3 to 5 years within the formal education system for the first time. In response, says Renuka M, HOD, Economics, Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, Hyderabad, "It's a good move aimed at laying a strong foundation for students. Playschool as part of formal education will benefit the child.”
Changes in higher education
For higher education, a new umbrella regulator has been proposed with separate verticals for regulation, standard-setting, accreditation, and funding. It will absorb arts and science, technical and teacher education into its fold, replacing several existing regulatory bodies, and also ensure a level playing field for public and private players.
In India, it has often been observed that when it comes to compliance with policies at the grassroots, there is always a lacuna, this is one of the fundamental reasons why policies in India fail to bring about the desired outcome. "Compliance of NEP will be ensured through a separate centralised body to ensure its implementation at every stage,” says Kajal Chhatija, Founder and Education Change Maker EduDrone, We Connect, Pune.
Towards internationalising education
According to the NEP, top foreign universities will be allowed to set up campuses in India. Interestingly, seats in top medical and engineering colleges across India are vacant - in such a scenario is allowing foreign universities to set up shops in India, discreet? Says Prathibha V, "Many seats are vacant because of the aforementioned reason. Students struggle to get through the entrance exams with dismal performance, hence admission is not given."
Mother tongue is all-important
NEP has been criticised for its take on language. Till 5th grade students have the option to study in the local language. Shouldn't English, a globally accepted language be given top priority? Opines Prathibha V, "Only in places where the use of mother tongue is required, to enable understanding of concepts it can be used. The bilingual approach is suggested. The three-language formula should continue to stay."
All in all, although this is a welcome move, a lot will depend upon its effective implementation towards benefiting different sectors of society.
The New Education Policy not only focuses on the foundation by implementing a 5+3+3+4 system of education but is also flexible in nature. The introduction of internship culture from school age and the importance of vocational courses will definitely go a long way in building up a strong nation.
Dr. Ravija Prakash, Principal, Sachdeva Public School, Rohini
Presented during the time of the pandemic, this policy relates well with the changing perspectives of the current generation. Empathy, compassion, kindness, creativity, and aspirations are some of the virtues that have crossed the minds of not only the students but even their parents during the lockdown.
Dr. Sharda Sharma, Director & Dy. CEO of an international institution in Mumbai
It's a good move aimed at laying a strong foundation for students. Playschool as part of formal education will benefit the child. At the degree level, the option to opt-out after each year will ensure the student doesn't lose out on studies. The flexibility between humanities with sciences will greatly help, as it means a student can follow his dreams and passion at the same time.
Renuka M, HOD, Economics, Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, Hyderabad
Compliance of NEP will be ensured through a separate centralised body to ensure its implementation at every stage. Those who are now in class 8 will be the first batch to experience the new curricular framework and assessment system, starting next year, as per the Department of School Education and Literacy's plans to turn the NEP's proposals into reality in schools.
Kajal Chhatija, Founder and Education Change Maker EduDrone, We Connect, Pune
I think it's a good initiative because students have several options. Else most of our children would presume engineering and medicine are the only two streams of professions. If students get exposure to a range of universities, they would drop the clichéd streams and find sources to match their aptitude and interests.
Prathibha V, Principal, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala, Ernakulam