The government of India proposed a plan to reform the education system on all scales. This reform aims to change the learning of students and teaching by the facilitators at school and college levels. New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 replaces the national educational policy implemented in 1986. The ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party, announced to make exemplary changes in the education system during the 2014 elections. Since then, committees like Evolution of New Education policy 2016, and Draft National Education Policy 2019 submitted reports on education structure and reform.
Alignment of Education to the needs of the future workplace, providing flexibility to students in charting their careers, and standardization of the quality of the education are the primary focus of NEP 2020. At the school levels, the policy proposes the change from 10+2 structure to 5+3+3+4 structure. The first five years include the first three years in preschool and the first two grades in the primary. In the next three years, the preparatory stage includes grades three, four, and five. In the next stage, middle, grades six, seven, and eight are included. The high school grades nine, ten, eleven, and twelve come under the secondary stage. With this change in the structure, the policy plans to reduce the curriculum content to the core essentials.
The policy aims to improve the ability of the students in knowledge-seeking, problem-solving, working as a team, and focusing hard on communication skills. From grade six, with the formal schooling system, vocational education is integrated. So the separation between curricular and extracurricular or vocational and academic streams is diminished. NEP 2020 also states that students can enroll in the undergrad program with multiple exit points during the course. Certification at the end of the first year, with a diploma at the end of the second or a degree at the end of the third year. Students are provided with a choice of reentering if they exited without completing the full duration of the program. They can resume from where they left, and they can continue at the same institution or different. The policy also proposes a credit bank where the student credits are stored digitally by which students have the flexibility to plan their careers monitoring their credits from time to time. They can plan additional courses or discontinue their education temporarily at any junction.
This policy also aims to introduce the multidisciplinary approach in the education system so students can learn different combinations of subjects based on their interests. This measure opens doors to innovations into their learnings and makes students more advanced and ready for the workplace. The policy aims to make changes in the assessment system. Board exams will focus on the core competencies of students rather than focusing on how well they memorized an answer. NEP 2020 also proposes a plan to implement standardized exams for grades three, five, and eight to track the progress throughout the schooling rather than testing at the end. The policy also plans reforms in the medium of education. It proposes the three language formula where students have the liberty to choose languages with two of them being native to India. The reform in the medium of education comes with applause and heavy criticism.
Along with reforms in the structure of the education system, this policy also aims to improve the skills of faculty. It proposes a large number of scholarships based on merits in B.Ed programs. It plans to improve the assessment by conducting eligibility tests by instilling the best material and using scores in that test for recruitment processes. It also plans to offer many regional, state, and international workshops along with modules to develop executive teaching methods. It aims to train teachers to inculcate a multidisciplinary approach in education that would help them and students to gain excessive knowledge on the subject through different disciplines.
Though the policy seems very effective in bringing changes in the education system of India, there are challenges in its implementation. Notable investment is required for building the infrastructure, technology, and training the teachers. It is a huge responsibility to change the current education system from the roots. Though the plans of tracking the progress throughout the schooling, introducing the multidisciplinary approach, and training the teachers are very efficient to read, they are tough to implement and require support to the central government from states and even opposition. The idea of bringing the whole education system under one roof is an idea worthy of applause, yet it requires changes at many levels. There are concerns raised in terms of teaching in regional languages up to grade five. If the common language is avoided entirely and replaced by regional language and if a child who attended school until grade four in one state and had to move to another state, then the child might face a lot of problems in learning that new language and the subjects taught in it.
NEP 2020 is a laudable proposal with a great vision to help India stand among the great nations. But to get there, the plan must be more lucid in its measures. In many countries, the whole nation has one common language in all states, and there are fewer barriers compared to India. The New Education Policy must also come up with alternative methods to tackle the obstacles it might face. There are questions regarding the implementation, financial concerns, and many others. With proper answers to those questions, NEP 2020 can gain more support without which it might be a difficult policy to run. Any country must be open to transformation and technological advancement in its education system for the sake of its development. Though the concerns are valid, the vision of NEP 2020 is excellent and might transform the country to greatness.