The format for education in schools across India is set to change. A new NEP or National Education Policy 2020 has been framed to replace the 1986 NEP. This will be India’s third NEP.
The policy gives a broad framework for educational institutes but it is not mandatory for state governments to follow the guidelines.
Interestingly, education is a concurrent subject that the center and state government can both make laws on. The central government plans on implementing the policy by 2040.
National Education Policy – Key Points
Some of the main highlights of the 2020 NEP are:
Replace AICTE, NCTE and UGC with a single regulator
The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will function as a single regulator for all types of higher education except for medical and legal studies. Private and public higher education institutes will be governed by the same rules for academic standards, regulation and accreditation.
Replacing the 10+2 school curriculum with a 5+3+3+4 structure
The NEP includes the three years of pre-school that were unregulated until now. Children will have 12 years of schooling including these pre-school years from the age of 3 to 15 years.
This will be broken up into functional stage (3-8 years), preparatory stage (8-11 years), middle stage (11-14 years) and secondary stage (14-18 years).
Reformed board exams
The board exam structure will be reformed to shift emphasis from rote learning to critical thinking and experiential learning. The exams may become modular and be offered twice a year as objective and subjective exams.
Introduction of multiple entry and exits points for graduate courses
Bachelor’s undergraduate programs will now be 4-year programs. Students who exit after 1 year will get a certificate, those who leave after 2 years will get a diploma and those who complete 3 years will get a bachelor’s degree.
Masters degrees will continue without changes but students completing the 4-year undergraduate course will be positioned with the knowledge needed to enter research degree programs directly.
No rigid definition of streams
The NEP blurs the line defining streams such as Arts, Commerce, science, etc. Vocational streams will be given as much importance as academic streams and there will be no distinction between curricular and extra-curricular activities. Vocational education will start from class 6 and will also include internships.
Phasing out of single-stream educational institutes
Higher educational institutes will move towards becoming multidisciplinary to give students an all-round education. The system of affiliated colleges will also be phased out in the next 15 years. Universities will have a common entrance exam.
Discontinuation of the MPhil programs
MPhil programs were typically seen as a bridge between a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. This will be phased out so that students with a Master’s degree can enter a Ph.D. program directly.
Mother tongue as medium of instruction
The NEP advises schools to use mother tongue or regional languages as the medium of education up to at least class 5 and ideally class 8 wherever possible. For higher classes, the local language or mother tongue may be taught as a language subject.
The policy also acknowledges children in multilingual families and encourages teachers to use a bilingual approach to communicate with these students. Sanskrit will also be offered at all classes.
Opening up higher education to international players
According to the NEP, some of the top 100 universities in the world will be allowed to set up campuses in India. Currently, foreign universities can only share faculty with partnering institutes in India and participate in collaborative twinning programs.
There are over 6,560 foreign education providers who maintain such arrangements with educational institutions in India. Similarly, Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses abroad.
Other Points Mentioned In The NEP Document
- All subjects will be offered at two levels of proficiency and students will be free to choose subjects across streams
- Students to have 10 bag-less days in school each year where they may participate in a vocation of their choice
- Fees charged by private higher educational institutions may be capped.
- National mission to focus on basic literacy and numeracy
- Academic Bank of Credits system to be set up for undergraduate and graduate students
- A National Book Promotion Policy to be set up to promote libraries
- Report cards to be redesigned to mention not only marks but notes on the student’s overall growth.
The 2020 NEP comes 34 years after the last NEP. It is aimed at universalizing education from the pre-school to secondary level. It aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. It remains to be seen though as to if and how states will implement these guidelines.
Karnataka Strides Ahead With NEP Implementation
The Government of India approved of the National Education Policy 2020 in July 2020 outlining a vision for the country’s new education system. As of August 2021, Karnataka becomes the first state to start implementing this policy.
The NEP will be implemented from the academic year starting October 2021. Admissions for the same will start from August 23rd. The program was launched in Bengaluru through a virtual event. The launch follows the setting up of the NEP Task Force by the Karnataka state government in March 2020 and the successful trial of implementing the NEP in 270 polytechnic colleges across Karnataka.
Given that the state is the first in India to implement the NEP, an awareness campaign will be taken up to educate people about the same. A one-day workshop by the HEA (Higher Education Academy)-Dharwad will be organized for all government and aided college teachers. Live YouTube sessions, phone-ins and talks will also be given by prominent personalities in the field of education.
Universities will also be holding NEP workshops and college-level weekly orientation programs for teachers as well as students and parents.
You can also get clarifications through the NEP Helpline: 080 24486666
NEP To Be Implemented On Higher Education
The NEP will be first implemented for students applying for higher education. Students will have the freedom to choose 2 subjects from their chosen field and an elective from any discipline for each of the 4 semesters. They will be given the option of multiple entries and exit levels.
Students completing the first year will get a certificate, those completing the second year will be awarded a diploma and on completion of the third year of studies, they will finally be given a degree. Students completing 4 years of education will receive an honors degree.
If needed, students can transfer from one college/university to another at the same level with a credit transfer. Career guidance will be provided and personality development classes will be made mandatory from Class 8 onwards.
Students can also get 40% credits by attending authorized online courses. As part of the government’s efforts to digitize education, all villages will be connected through the internet and first-year degree students will be given table PCs.
The state will also be implementing a Learning Management System (LMS) wherein classrooms will be made smart classrooms with internet connections.
Diploma Level Twinning Programs
Along with launching the NEP 2020, the Karnataka state government also announced a collaboration between the Department of Technical Education (DTE) and the Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), US.
This collaboration will result in twinning diplomas and associate degree programs in travel and tourism and cybersecurity.
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