National Education Policy 2020 – An Overview
On July 29th 2020, the union cabinet approved a new national education policy after a 34-year gap. The National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st century that replaces the National Policy on Education (NPE) formulated in 1986. It has been recently approved by the union government with an aim to introduce several changes in the Indian education system that focus to make learning more effective and student-friendly. Thereby enabling every student to develop to their maximum potential. The new policy is practical in approach and has been formulated after rigorous and extensive research on the ground reality of the country’s education scenario. In essence, it has significantly increased the emphasis on creativity and innovation.
It was drafted by a panel of experts by former ISRO chief Kasturirangan, considering every issue from school to college to employment. The policy is a comprehensive framework from elementary to higher education as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India. It aims to transform India’s education system by 2040.
BENEFITS OF NEP 2020 FOR STUDENTS- Why was a New Policy Required?
History is abundantly full of examples of what a broken education system can do to the growth of a perfectly healthy nation. Policymakers have asserted that nations with a robust and sound education system that encourages individuality over collective identity make a mark in the field of innovations. The adults of such a learning system develop to create successful and unique career paths in diverse fields.
If you wonder why more than half of the social scientists in the world are from European nations, the answer is simple. Those social scientists were brought up in an education system that provided them an environment conducive to the growth of their seeds of thoughts to become full-grown grown trees of world-changing ideas and theories. One of the major reasons behind the 180-degree transformation of the aforesaid places is the superior quality of education.
On the other hand, Digitization and Automation will drastically change the education and employment scenario in the years to come. According to a study by McKinsey Global Institute, in the coming future, few occupations will be fully automated while the rest 60% of all the occupations across the world would have a chance of 30% automation. To keep up with the changing times and the rising demand for high-tech skills, policymakers will have to keep shuffling and upgrading policies until they arrive at the most superior version that serves the needs of youth and guarantee it excellent job opportunities.
The primary purpose of the NEP is to design a vision and framework for both school and higher education in India.
Let’s look at some of the key proposals of the national Education Policy of 2020.
KEY ELEMENTS OF NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2020
1) The NEP proposes to change the school’s education structure from (10+2 years) of schooling format to (5+3+3+4 years) format:
We currently have a 10 + 2 years of schooling system which has now been restructured to a 5+3+3+4 format. The first three years are your Preschool which consists of KG, LKG, and UKG. After Preschool, you go to the first and second standards. Together these five years are going to be the foundation for your education. Following that comes another three-year set, which comprises class 3 to class 5, which will be a part of preparatory education for primary schooling, followed by another three years, i.e., from class 6 to 8, that will be your middle schooling. And finally, four years from class 9 to class 12 will be your secondary schooling. So, together is from a 5+3+3+4 academic structure. In the new format, children from ages 3 to 5 years have been included in the formal education system for the first time. Previously, you could directly join class 1 without going to Preschool. The idea behind this is to have early childhood care and education—the foundation of learning.
2) The UG degree structure will be available for three- and four-years duration:
In the new system, students will be able to opt for a flexible three or four years of degree course. It will have multiple entries and exit options. For example: If a student chooses to leave the degree at any point during the period of the course, they can return and start where they left off. They will not have to begin their first year of undergraduate courses again. Along with multiple entries and exit options, a student will receive proper certificates. For example, a student will be awarded a diploma for one year of undergraduate education and an advanced diploma for two years of undergraduate education. And a bachelor’s degree for a three- or four-years course.
As per the national education policy 2020, the undergraduate degree program will be credit-based. In a credit-based academic system, one credit may be equivalent to 1 hour of teaching, lecture, tutorial or two hours of practical work or fieldwork. It is a new method that will hopefully supply flexibility in designing curriculum and assigning credits based on the course content and hours of teaching. Now the students will have the option to exit at various stages and reenter the higher education system. The credits earned by them so far will be counted for continuity. For this purpose, they will be in the Academic Bank of Credit, which will digitally store the academic credit earned from various recognized higher education institutes. Degrees will then be awarded, considering the credits earned. It is similar to how banks have credit scores for every account holder. It is called the CIBIL score. Based on that, it helps you get better deals on loans and credit cards. In the same way, this academic bank of credit will work similarly in education. Apart from that, the new education policy of India will allow students who will pursue a four-year UG degree program to move towards more research-based learning, as seen in the higher education structure segment.
3) The higher education offering institutes now will have the option of offering a one-year master’s degree under the new NEP 2020.:
Completing a master’s degree course takes two years of time. That form still exists and continues. But now, the second year of a master’s degree will focus on research for those who have completed an undergraduate degree of 3 years. And those students who have completed an Undergraduate degree of 4 years program, with research, will have their master’s degree completed in only one year. So, if you did a three-year Ug degree program like BCom, BSc, BA, etc., your masters will be for two years. But in that, the second year will focus on research alone. That makes it a 3+2 structure. On the other hand, if you pursue a four-year Ug Degree like B.Tech, B.Pharma, etc., your master’s will be for one year and focus on research, making it a 4+1 structure.
As per the NEP2020, the importance of a 4-year degree will lie in the fourth year, with the extensive focus being placed on research and development. That means students in their 4th year of undergraduate will get an opportunity to experience how to carry out academic research. This is being hailed as an important NEP Benefit for students which will add a lot of value to their holistic education.
4) Govt to discontinue M.Phil Program.
M.Phil. stands for master’s in philosophy. It is a less advanced qualification when compared to a Ph.D. It is a legitimate higher degree qualification. But you can finish your M.Phil. in 2 years, while Ph.D. takes at least three years. In addition, an M.Phil. dissertation usually is shorter than a Ph.D. thesis. Many students used to do M.Phil. before doing a Ph.D. because it has been believed that M.Phil. adds value to one’s research work. Although it was not mandatory, that used to be the trend. According to the national education policy 2020, the government is discontinuing the M.Phil. Program. Students who have completed their master’s degree will be eligible to pursue a Ph.D. or Doctoral Philosophy directly.
5) Elimination of strict boundaries between different subject streams
There will be no rigid separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extracurricular activities, between vocational and academic streams, etc. It has been done to cut harmful hierarchies among different areas of learning.
If you look at the arts and humanities subjects such as history, geography, sociology, psychology, political science, economics, etc., all the subjects come under the arts category. Under it, there are subcategories such as liberal arts, social sciences, and creative arts. On the other hand, hard science subjects include Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, computers, etc. These are called Stem subjects, abbreviated as science, technology, engineering, and Math.
Going by the contemporary trends in academic news, it has come into notice that often, incidents of clashes between soft science and hard sciences abuse the harmonic relationship between both the science streams. Social scientists believe in something, but doctors and hard science academicians might not believe in the same. Through this policy, the govt aims to minimize the probabilities of such unnecessary disturbances. It aims to do so by reducing the barrier between hard and soft science at academic level. So that, it may help in reducing the likeliness of developing toxic ideologies. Apart from that, this comprehensive approach aims to ensure the students’ overall development where they learn what is in their syllabus and learn essential life skills.
Unfortunately, the overall picture is still unclear about how it will be compiled and brought into force. The teachers will have a great responsibility in giving enough clarity and should be educated enough to handle this change. These multiple disciplinary approaches to education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports will help create well-rounded citizens.
National Education Policy 2020 TO BOOST ONLINE EDUCATION
NEP has come to the forefront as a harbinger of positive changes to India’s digital education sphere.
The pandemic has made a lasting impact on policy makers. They have realized and learned that the future of education is in emphasizing and promoting online medium of learning. Keeping that in mind, the Ministry of Education, along with the NEP recommendation committee has come up with a string of measures to facilitate a smooth transition from traditional to online mode of learning.
The government has decided to set up a new autonomous body dedicated to digitization of education. It will be called National Education Technology Forum (NETF). Its objective will be to oversee capacity building, developing e-content, and providing a convenient system for educational institutes and stakeholders to establish a strong education platform. Regular consistent efforts will be made to bridge the technological divide that exists today ensuring a wider reach of online education in the times to come.
According to government estimates, it will require 6% of the country’s GDP to bring about the aforesaid changes to the education framework. The most commendable aspect of the changes brought about is the emphasis the policy is making on research and development. It has also focused on the holistic growth of individuals by making pre-schooling compulsory for all. The policy is rich in ideas and formulae to imbibe a creative streak in students. It has also indicated how students ready with future skills in their hands will come out flourishing as the drivers of the economy. The fact that the government has proposed to set up a distinct autonomous body to facilitate the establishment of digital education platforms and services speaks volume of its focus on E-Learning. So, if you aspire to have a career devoid of any bottlenecks, join ImaginXP’s courses on diverse skills that are going to run the world tomorrow. With a wide variety to choose from, you can find a course best suited to enhance your strengths.