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Highlights of the National Education Policy – NEP 2020 – by Dr. Seema Shah

In this article, I have shed light on the highlights of NEP 2020.

A National Education Policy formulated periodically by the government describes the principles, laws and rules which govern the operation of the education system across schools to universities delivering higher education and beyond to adult education and job training.NEP hence will engage people of all ages. The earlier education policies were formulated way back in 1968 and then in 1986. The latter education policy was proposed by the Rajiv Gandhi led government with focus on strengthening the primary school education system.

A light peek into NEP 2020

With NEP 2020, the government aims to bridge social gaps in participation, access, and learning outcomes in school education with a target of zero school dropouts by the end of this decade.The policy takes into consideration experiences in the education domain, empirical research, feedback from stakeholders and lessons from best practices and is moving towards proposing liberal education, the benefitted population will be armed with innovative thinking, skills necessary for local markets, research oriented aptitude. The emphasis is also on enabling access to education to the rural and minority population and saving youth from running after redundant degrees. NEP, if implemented well, will be an inclusive, holistic and futuristic policy with a vision to make India a knowledge hub by 2030.

Features of NEP 2020

In this article I have presented the highlights of NEP 2020. First a look at the salient features:of NEP 2020:

The current 10+2 structure will be replaced with a 5+3+3+4 structure which maps to the age groups of 3-8, 8-11,11-14 and 14-18 years. So a 3 years of pre school experience is taken further to 12 years of schooling. This change is possible with revamp in curriculum, content, and pedagogy at all levels through the National Curriculum Framework- NCF. This restructuring will need changes at the grassroot levels too.

There is a need to integrate technology with the teaching learning process. The National Educational Alliance for Technology-NEAT, a regulatory body will be set up for this function. It is proposed that NEAT will use AI to enable a personalized learning experience for the student.The alliance with Edtech companies will be explored for enhancing the learning outcomes.

It is proposed to set up a national assessment center to keep a regular check on the education system:Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development- PARAKH. Moving beyond the curriculum, NEP also aims to evaluate higher order thinking skills , namely creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, visualization and idea generation. Assessments will now be focused on evaluating higher order thinking skills and not just academic grades. The student progress will be assessed through a 360 degree Holistic Progress Card which will closely track achievement of student learning outcomes..

India being a land of many languages NEP has focused on the use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction till class 8, with no mandate on a specific language. The idea is that a mother tongue enables a student to grasp the concepts easily.

The divide between science, arts and commerce and also between vocational and academic streams is blurred with emphasis on multi disciplinary learning. Vocational training and internships will be encouraged from class VI itself.

NEP is a blend of digital and traditional learning systems and will need educators to be trained in digital teaching and learning processes.

Impact of NEP on various levels of Education

What is the change NEP brings in at various levels of education: from school to college?

At the school level:

The policy has brought in focus on the age group of 3-6 years- an important state of development of mental faculties of a child, which was uncovered so far. Additionally the policy has encouraged the open schooling system to bring back school dropouts. The standard X and XII examinations will now be focused on testing core competencies and not rote learning and students will be given a second chance to give these exams. There will be more importance given to foundational literacy and numeracy. The policy brings in systematic move towards focus on application of few core concepts and innovation and away from the traditional rote learning system involving shallow memorization of vast syllabus.

Public and private schools will be governed with a new accreditation framework and an independent regulatory authority. NEP mentions the formulation of National Curriculum Framework 2021- NCFTE jointly by National Council for Teacher Education-NCTE and National Council for Educational Research and Training- NCERT. With such major education reforms, NEP has cited that by 2030 the minimum degree qualification for becoming a teacher would be a 4 years integrated B.Ed. degree,

At the college level:

The policy proposes holistic education at the UG level with a flexible curriculum, of 3 to 4 years with multiple entry and exit options and relevant certification options during the period, and common entrance exams for universities.All courses at UG, PG and PhD level will be interdisciplinary.while M.Phil course will be discontinued.Global standards of multidisciplinary education will modelled by setting up Universities at par with IITs and IIMs, called as Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities

The policy aims to grant graded autonomy to colleges in a staged manner by gradually phasing out affiliation of colleges over a period of 15 years. Apart from the regulatory bodies as per NEP an autonomous body called the National Education Technology Forum-NETF will be created for free exchange of ideas on how to use technology to enhance learning assessment, planning

and administration.

Other features of NEP 2020

NEP has chalked out a path for foreign universities to set up campuses in the country. Other salient points include the need for setting up of Gender Inclusion fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups, a National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit and Indian Institute for Translation and Interpretation.

How will NEP 2020 implementation be regulated?

There is a plan based on NEP to create an apex body for building a strong research culture and capacity in higher education titled National Research foundation. A single body Higher Education Commission of India- HECI to govern higher education is proposed by NEP. This will exclude governance of medical and legal education. Same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards will be applied to all public and private higher education institutions. HECI will handle four independent verticals:

National Higher Education Regulatory Council- for regulation

General Education Council (GEC)- for setting academic standards

Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC)- for finding

National Accreditation Council (NAC)- for accreditation

Finally, to sum up, the National Education Policy 2020 is a game changer for the Indian Education system. It is aimed to provide the much needed change in the content, curriculum and pedagogy with emphasis on experiential, practical and vocational learning coupled with holistic development among the 21st century children and can rebuild India as a knowledge superpower.

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Seema Shah

Seema Shah

Dr. Seema Shah, Director of B.Tech Program at SVKM's NMIMS, Mumbai. An engineer by profession and passionate about teaching and building the leaders of tomorrow. She is also a recipient of many awards. Having published 150+ technical papers and authored several technical books, she expertises in Blockchain, Distributed Computing, Software Testing
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