Towards Holistic Development of Students
In pursuance of the goals and objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 issued on 29th July, 2020 and to assist States and UTs in this task, the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education has developed an indicative and suggestive NEP Implementation Plan for School Education, called ‘Students’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement through Quality Education (SARTHAQ)’.
Released on 8th April 2021, the plan keeps in mind the concurrent nature of education and adheres to the spirit of federalism. States and UTs are given the flexibility to adapt this plan with local contextualization and also modify as per their needs and requirements. This implementation plan delineates the roadmap and way forward for implementation of NEP, 2020 for the next 10 years, which is very important for its smooth and effective implementation.
SARTHAQ has been developed as an evolving and working document through a wide and intensive consultative process with States and UTs, Autonomous bodies and suggestions received from all stakeholders.
SARTHAQ is divided in two parts and has been uploaded on the Department’s website under the links mentioned below:
It may be noted here that with the formulation of National Policy on Education, 1986, India initiated a range of programmes for achieving the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). These efforts were intensified in the 1980s and 1990s through several schematic and programme interventions, such as Operation Black Board (OBB), Shiksha Karmi Project (SKP), Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP), Bihar Education Project (BEP), U.P. Basic Education Project (UPBEP), Mahila Samakhya (MS), Lok Jumbish Project (LJP), District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) – the flagship Centrally Sponsored Scheme in partnership with State Governments for UEE across the country. This was further strengthened with the passage of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 which gave a legal mandate to provide free and compulsory elementary education to every child in the age group of 6-14 years.
A successful programme of UEE is the precondition for taking the first reliable step towards Universal Secondary Education. The NEP emphasised improving equitable access to secondary education and the enrolment of girls, SCs and STs, particularly in science, commerce and vocational streams (Para 5.13 of the NPE, 1986). The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) scheme initiated in 2009, demonstrated the government’s ambition for a secondary education system that can support India’s growth and development.
In the year 2013-14, four other Centrally-sponsored Schemes for secondary education viz., ICT in Schools, Girls’ Hostel, Vocationalisation of Secondary and Senior Secondary Education and Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary stage were subsumed under RMSA. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Restructuring and Reorganization of Teacher Education (CSSTE) were initiated in 1987 pursuant to the formulation of the National Policy on Education (NPE, 1986).
The NEP has stated that improvement in the status and professional competence of teachers is the cornerstone of educational reconstruction and envisaged teacher education as a continuous process with pre-service and in-service training being its inseparable components. District Institute of Teacher Education (DIETs), Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs), and Institutes of Advanced Studies in Education (IASEs) were, therefore, established. Thus, the CSSTE Scheme aimed to provide infrastructural and institutional support to Government Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs). The SSA, RMSA and CSSTE were the three major flagship school education development programmes of the Ministry of Education (MOE), Government of India being implemented in partnership with State/UTs.
In the year 2018-19, the Samagra Shiksha Scheme was launched with the aim to universalize quality school education from pre-school to class 12 which subsumes the erstwhile schemes of SSA, RMSA and CSSTE. It endeavours to support States and UTs in effective implementation of the RTE Act, 2009, besides targeting Universal Access, Equity and Quality at all levels of school education including Vocational Education and strengthening of TEIs.
The Samagra Shiksha Scheme has been formulated in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG-4) that is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The Goal SDG-4.1 states 18 that “By 2030, ensure that all boys and girls complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”.
Further, the SDG 4.5 states that “By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of Education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations”.
The National Education Policy, 2020 is the third in the series of National Education Policies (1968 and 1986 modified in 1992) in India and is the first education policy of the 21st century. The NEP 2020 envisions a massive transformation in school education through–“an education system rooted in Indian ethos that contributes directly to transforming India, that is Bharat, sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing highquality education to all, thereby making India a global knowledge superpower.”
The National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP) is founded on the five guiding pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability. It will prepare our youth to meet the diverse national and global challenges of the present and the future.
NEP 2020 looks at school and higher education as a single organic continuum, and is rooted in the Indian ethos and constitutional values with simultaneous emphasis on the imbibing of 21st century skills. It inter alia includes universalisation of pre-primary education; national mission for achieving foundational literacy and numeracy; flexibility in the choices of courses for students in schools and higher education; examinations, governance and regulation reforms along with accreditation for quality both in public and private educational institutions; a systematic focus on inclusion of all sections of the society; innovative and extensive use of technology for education; embedding of vocationalisation and Open and Distance Learning at all levels; developing a policy for gifted children; revamping of teachers’ education; and creation of National Research Foundation for a renewed and futuristic prioritisation on cutting edge research, among others.
This learner centric NEP shall not only ensure the holistic development of students by accentuating their creative potential, but will also develop India as a global study destination and promote internationalisation of higher education through student, faculty and institutional mobility.