NEP aims at creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st century skills
The keys overall thrust of the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, as laid down in the fundamental principles that will guide both the education system at large, as well as the individual institutions within it, is an emphasis on conceptual understanding, rather than rote learning and learning for exams. The focus is on children learning how to learn. It aims at not only cognitive development but also building character and creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st-century skills.
NEP emphasizes to bring Out of School Children back to schools and to prevent children from dropping out by providing effective and sufficient infrastructure in the schools, regular trained teachers at each stage, safe and practical conveyances and/or hostels, alternative and innovative education centres and by achieving universal participation in school by carefully tracking students as well as their learning levels. Further, under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha, financial assistance is provided to the States and UTs for various activities to reduce the number of dropouts, which include opening/strengthening of new schools up to senior secondary level, construction of school buildings & additional classrooms, setting up, up-gradation and running of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, setting up of residential schools/hostels, free uniforms, free textbooks, transport allowance and undertaking enrolment drives, residential as well as non-residential trainings for mainstreaming of Out of School Children, Seasonal Hostels/ residential camps etc. Financial assistance is also provided for Inclusive Education of children with special needs. Also, Mid-Day-Meal is provided to students at the elementary level of education.
The special features of NEP 2020 includes
- Ensuring Universal Access at All Levels of schooling from pre-primary school to Grade 12;
- Ensuring quality early childhood care and education for all children between 3-6 years;
- New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure (5+3+3+4);
- No hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams;
- Establishing National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy;
- Emphasis on promoting multilingualism and Indian languages; The medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language.
- Assessment reforms – Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired;
- Setting up of a new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development);
- Equitable and inclusive education – Special emphasis given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SEDGs);
- A separate Gender Inclusion fund and Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups;
- Robust and transparent processes for recruitment of teachers and merit based performance;
- Ensuring availability of all resources through school complexes and clusters;
- Setting up of State School Standards Authority (SSSA);
- Exposure of vocational education in school and higher education system;
- Increasing GER in higher education to 50%;
- Holistic Multidisciplinary Education with multiple entry/exit options;
- NTA to offer Common Entrance Exam for Admission to HEIs;
- Establishment of Academic Bank of Credit;
- Setting up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities(MERUs);
- Setting up of National Research Foundation(NRF);
- ‘Light but Tight’ regulation;
- Single overarching umbrella body for promotion of higher education sector including teacher education and excluding medical and legal education- the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)-with independent bodies for standard setting- the General Education Council; funding-Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC); accreditation- National Accreditation Council (NAC); and regulation- National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC);
- Expansion of open and distance learning to increase GER.
- Internationalization of Education
- Professional Education will bean integral part of the higher education system. Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities, or institutions in these or other fields, will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.
- Teacher Education – 4-year integrated stage-specific, subject- specific Bachelor of Education
- Establishing aNational Mission for Mentoring.
- Creation of an autonomous body,the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration. Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education.
- Achieving 100% youth and adult literacy
- Multiple mechanisms with checks and balances will combat and stop the commercialization of higher education.
- All education institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as a ‘not forprofit’ entity.
- The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
- Strengthening of the Central Advisory Board of Education to ensure coordination to bring overall focus on quality education.
- Ministry of Education: In order to bring the focus back on education and learning, it may be desirable to re-designate MHRD as the Ministry of Education (MoE).
The NEP 2020 has been finalised after a detailed consultation process with all stakeholders including State/UT Governments. This Ministry has communicated to all States/UT Governments for implementation of NEP 2020 in letter and spirit. Ministry of Education is also organising ‘ShikshakParv’ from 8th September to 25th September, 2020 to deliberate on various themes and implementation of NEP 2020 aimed at eliciting suggestions. Ministry has also organised a Conference of Governors on “Role of National Education Policy in Transforming Higher Education”. In the conference, Governors and Lt. Governors of State and Union Territories, Education Minister of State and UTs, Vice Chancellors of State Universities and other dignitaries participated. There has been wide publicity with a positive and overwhelming response from stakeholders on NEP 2020.
NEP 2020 recognizes that vocational education is perceived to be inferior to mainstream education. Hence, this policy aims to overcome the social status hierarchy associated with vocational education and requires the integration of vocational education programmes into mainstream education in all educational institutions in a phased manner. Towards this, secondary schools will also collaborate with ITIs, polytechnics, local industry, etc. Skill labs will also be set up and created in the schools in a hub and spoke model which will allow other schools to use the facility.
Improving the quality of education across all levels from primary to university level is a continuous and ongoing process. Several initiatives are currently being undertaken in this direction. The SamagraShiksha, an integral scheme for School Education as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is being implemented and aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. It envisages the ‘school’ as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels. In higher education also, various schemes, namely, RashtriyaUchchatarShikshaAbhiyan (RUSA), Scheme for promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN), Impacting Research, Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT), Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP), Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM), National Digital Library, campus connect programme, UchhatarAvishkarAbhiyan, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Impactful Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS), Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA), National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are being implemented to improve the quality of higher education. A number of initiatives are also undertaken by UGC and AICTE for quality improvement in higher and technical education.
NEP 2020 unequivocally endorses and envisions a substantial increase in public investment in education by both the Central government and all State Governments. The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.