“Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think”– Albert Einstein
Education being a Fundamental Right and the world enduring rapid changes in the knowledge landscape, a requirement was pointed out to come up with a new Education Policy. The policy will encourage economic growth, social justice and equality, culture preservation and scientific developments.
The new Education Policy, 2020 has revamped the already existing Education Policy of 1986. An alteration has been fetched after 34 years to the prevailing Education Policy. These changes have been fetched for the school children seeking primary education or higher education to undergraduates and postgraduates.
Through the Cabinet meeting being chaired by our Hon’ble Prime Minister, the vision behind the policy is to provide global education to all and make India a global super-power. The Ministry of Human Resource and Development has been rechristened to the Education Ministry.
The Policy of 2020 has brought foremost variations in the Education System. Some of the basic characteristics of this Policy in various sectors are mentioned below.
- The major alteration carried in schools is that the prevailing 10+2 structure has now been substituted by 5+3+3+4 structure.
- Students are not restricted to study subjects relating to a particular stream, they have a flexibility in choosing the subjects of their interest i.e. they are offered at two levels of proficiency.
- Also, a system of Informal Internship has been structured where in a year student have 10 days where they can expose themselves to any vocations of their choice.
- Our mother tongue is to be a medium of instructions for students upto class 5th etc.
- The policy puts emphasis on not only restricting students to academics but also on skills enhancement of students. Both curriculum and extra-curriculum are to be in par.
In Higher Education:
- SAT like common examinations will be conducted twice in a year by the National Agency.
- Undergraduate degree will be of either 3 year or 4 years duration and will also have appropriate exit options with appropriate certifications.
- Encouraging top-rated Universities to facilitate and come to India. On the other hand, encouraging Indian Institutions to go global.
- M. Phil (Master of Philosophy) to be discontinued and so on.
Others Areas of Focus:
- On education of the adult;
- Promotions of language, culture and art of India; and
- Technology use and integration.
Reforms with time are a necessity. Carrying reforms aid us to think new, divert from the path and achieve more than alleged in the near future. It styles us to come out of our comforts. But these reforms turn out to be positive as well as negative. Similarly, the Education Policy of 2020 has some pros and cons.
- The board examinations conducted for students will focus now on the actual knowledge on a subject rather than just having core learning. In today’s scenario, a student focuses more on grasping concepts rather than understanding its actual meaning and applicability.
- Students will not be only restricted to academics as the grade cards in schools will also focus on the skills and capabilities of a student. In other words, both curriculum and extra-curriculum will be in par.
- It will encourage the public to spend on education i.e. approximately 6% of GDP.
- It also focuses on Digital Education i.e. by providing equal use of technology all by students. As this lockdown has clearly set up an example where some students are without any barriers continuing their learning while other are struggling to get an excess to such technology to their children and enable their learning without any hindrances.
- The government through this policy aims to double the gross enrolment ratio of students in Higher Education, including vocational education by 50% i.e. by 2035 as compared to gross enrolment ratio of 26.3% in 2018.
- The policy also elaborates on point of “Gender-Inclusion Funds” where the Central Government will focus on providing equitable quality education to all girls and transgenders.
- References of providing education to the disabled by participation from primary to higher education have also been highlighted in the policy. Even Bal Bhavan’s establishment will be encouraged in state/ districts for participation in activities like art, play and career.
- Also, teaching through sign language will also be focused on. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)is to develop modules on the same.
- The fact that our mother tongue will be the medium of instructions for students upto class 5th, will lead to a back step for children in English language as this is the language which is used globally. Major affected category will be the unprivileged sector.
- The fact related to cash payments and hidden fees has not been addressed under the New Education Policy, 2020. In other words, it does not address the tax treatment of educational services.
- Globalization thrust in education policy to compete with global higher education is absent.
- The Policy makes no mention as to how education budget will be 6% of GDP.
- The policy creates no vision on improving of the government schools as majority of students in government school are first-generation learners.
- There is no provision of training of the existing teachers.
- Integrating pre-school with government school system may pose infra and logistic challenges.
- Also, fees control in private schools may face legal challenges.
- There is no mention of sports made in the policy.
Taking into contemplation all the pros and cons of the New Education Policy a few recommendations can be made in order to make the policy wholly fruitful. This can be done by enacting law to ensure 6% of GDP is allowed to education, making the training of existing teachers a priority and by removing layers of regulation and thereby all this will aid in accomplishing the four pillars of the policy i.e. equity, access, affordability, quality, and accountability.