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The HRD Ministry’s New National Education Policy to show major changes in the antiquated education structure

The government finally decided to get several reforms in the education system after 34 years. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday disclosed the new National Education Policy. The most noteworthy feature is of replacing the 10+2 curriculum with 5+3+3+4 curriculum system. This will focus more on developing and moulding the students from foundational to the secondary stage.

The cabinet has renamed the Ministry of Human Resources Development to Ministry of Education. The Union Ministers, Prakash Javadekar and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank played a key role in the development of this policy and presented a brief of it to the cabinet. Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the cabinet meeting is chaired by the Prime Minister Mr Narender Modi.

The National Education Policy visualizes to bring a new structure to the education system in the country, from school to higher education. Although, the number of years an individual gains education remain the same. It has been segregated into 4 stages, Foundation Stage, Preparatory Stage, Middle Stage and Secondary Stage.

Image Credits:- Skills Centre

The Foundation Stage would go up to 5 years, for an age of 3-8 years. It will be a multi-level play activity, based on learning of 3 years in playschools catering to ages 3 to 6. The 1st and 2nd standards would also be added to this for children of ages 6 to 8 focusing on the development of their language skills and teaching them by the activity-based curriculum.

The next stage is the Preparatory Stage that goes up to 3 years. It’ll include students from an age of 8 to 11 years. This stage would focus more on their language and numerical skills following the cognitive development of the child. Mother tongue or local language or home language will be the medium of instruction up to the 5th grade. Three languages would be taught to the students but the states get to choose this accordingly.

Then is the Middle Stage which will also be for 3 years. The focus in this stage would be to give more practical knowledge than the bookish one. Experimental learning in science, mathematics, social sciences, arts and humanities will be given. Coding will be taught to the students from class 6th.

The final stage is the Secondary Stage which will be for 4 years and includes classes 9 to 12. The NEP suggests that this stage will permit students to choose subjects based on their interest. They can choose any set of subjects from the available structure. The focus is on greater critical thinking and flexibility, even if it means taking up physics and studying music together.

Also, 100 foreign colleges will be allowed to set up their campuses in India. A National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be created to elevate digital learning. Amit Khare, Higher Education Secretary, said, “The E-courses will be developed in eight regional languages initially and virtual labs will be developed.” More higher education and professional education institutes will emerge into multidisciplinary education. “There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative and Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation,” he further added.

However, Shashi Tharoor, Congress leader and former HRD Minister welcomed the Nation Education Policy (NEP) but questioned for not introducing it in the Parliament first. In a thread of his tweets, he said that the BJP government has unworkable targets through NEP. In Shashi Tharoor’s firsts tweet, he said “There is much to welcome in what we have seen of the #NewEducationPolicy2020 announced by @DrRPNishank. A number of suggestions made by some of us seem to have been taken into account. However, the question remains why this was not brought before Parliament first for discussion.”

He then continued the series by focusing on the features of NEP and said that the government should ensure that aspiration is matched with implementation. “I’ve advocated revision of the 1986 National Education Policy since my days in MHRD, to bring it into the 21st century. I am glad the Modi Govt has finally grasped the nettle, even if it took them six years to do so. Challenge is to ensure aspiration is matched by implementation,” Tharoor said. In his final tweet, Tharoor added that The NEP should have offered more tangible & realisable targets for research. Total investment on research & innovation in India declined from 0.84% of GDP in 2008 to 0.6% in 2018. There are currently only 15 researchers in India per 100,000 of population, compared with 111 in China.

NEP Draft was presented in 2019 where it quickly received both appreciations as well as strong criticism. It is a progressive and more scientific approach to education. The new 5+3+3+4 structure would help in the development of a child’s cognitive, social and physical ability.

The NEP, however, propose a considerable change in the examination structure. The first three stages would be conducted to track the development of the child whereas in the secondary stage board exams would be reformed. They would be made easier and students would be tested on their core capabilities. But by keeping the medium of instruction as a regional or local language will act as a drawback because it will be very difficult for students to cope up with complex language and subjects in the middle stage. Although it is important to implement this new structure in its true vision for India to reach par with other countries. A better education model is expected to be in place in 2022-23.

Image Credits:- The Indian Express

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Written by Madeeha Khan

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