NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY: A BOON AMIDST THE CRISIS
April 19, 2021, 10:58 p.m.
Pens of Law students
Profile of the Author: Manmeet Kaur is a 3rd-year B.A. LL.B. (H.) student of University Institute of Law, PURC, Ludhiana.
A child without education is like a bird without wings, while quality education is the passport to a bright future. The current Indian education system still produces clerks for the empire that no longer exists. Britishers left India decades ago but the marks they left behind remain embarked on the walls of the Indian education system. British education was only introduced in India to develop a workforce conversant with local customs to ensure the smooth functioning of the British administration. The Britishers provided Indian youth limited access to resources and imbedded an inferiority complex in them about the traditional education system. In an attempt to become English Babu, Indians overlooked their magnificent heritage. Thus, remaining slaves of the British lifestyle even after decades of independence.
Need for National Education Policy, 2020
The National Education Policy (‘NEP’), 2020 envisions that “Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation”. The National Education Policy, 2020 aims to break the shackles of ignorance and redefine the education system.
The pandemic of Covid-19 brought the fast-paced world to a halt, so the Ministry of Human Resource Development (‘MHRD’) took the initiative to address the critical issue at hand. The closing of the educational institutions highlighted the ineffectiveness of the existing examination system. Consequently, a vital question arose: what is the purpose of exams when it does not assess the conceptual understanding of the subjects? The lockdown advocated introspection which eventually revealed the flaws in the existing education system. It was realised that schools are producing machines that work 12-14 hours a day. This realization advocated the need for change in the current education system. The New Education Policy aims to eliminate this system of producing machines keeping in mind the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by India in 2015 that seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030”. The Policy promotes the holistic development of a child. Further, its objective is to introduce Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in the education system.
Overview of the Policy
The framers of the policy took into account the rich history of the Indian Education system. They made attempts to ensure that each child in India adopted that approach and felt proud of its history. “The rich heritage of ancient and eternal Indian knowledge and thought has been a guiding light for this Policy. The pursuit of knowledge (Jnan), wisdom (Pragyaa), and truth (Satya) was always considered in Indian thought and philosophy as the highest human goal. The aim of education in ancient India was not just the acquisition of knowledge as preparation for life in this world or life beyond schooling, but for the complete realization and liberation of the self. World-class institutions of ancient India such as Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila, and Vallabhi, set the highest standards of multidisciplinary teaching and research and hosted scholars and students from across different backgrounds and countries”.
Fundamental Principle of the New Education Policy, 2020
1. Recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitizing teachers and parents to promote the holistic development of the student’s in both academic and non-academic spheres: Students are regularly judged based on their academic performance. Their talents are suppressed by this irrational race of achieving more marks in academics. Therefore, the new policy will create a healthy environment for students growth and development by evaluating students based on their unique talents and not just their academic performance.
2. Conferring the highest priority in achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in all students of Grade 3: This will lay a strong foundation. It will shape a wise and rational future generation
3. Flexibility: The curriculum shall be flexible so that the students can choose their learning paths based on their interests.
4. No rigid separation between arts and sciences, curricular and extra-curricular activities, vocational and academic streams, etc.: The new policy will eliminate hierarchy among students of different courses and curtail the unnecessary parental pressure on students to pursue a particular stream to prove their academic excellence. The new policy will provide students with the freedom to choose their subjects.
5. Multidisciplinary and holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports for a multidisciplinary world: This will ensure integration of all subjects knowledge instead of restricting the same.
6. Emphasis on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning: This step will promote the real spirit of education.
7. Creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision making and innovation: The new policy will create an amicable environment to rekindle curiosity. This will foster innovation and development.
8. Inculcate Constitutional and ethical values in the curriculum: The course will include values like empathy, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, the spirit of service, respect for public property, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice.
9. Promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning: The course will encourage students to pursue multiple languages at a young age for the holistic development of a child.
10. Life Skills: The course will teach them real-life skills like communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience.
11. Focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s coaching culture: This will help eradicate the evil of the coaching business. Its aim is not to impart knowledge but to earn profits.
12. Extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access for Divyang students, and educational planning and management: The current pandemic made us realize the importance of technology in the educational sector. The new policy will advocate the use of technology to adapt to the latest development and make students familiar with the same.
13. A ‘light but tight’ regulatory framework: This is imperative to ensure integrity, transparency and resource efficiency of the educational system through audit and public disclosure.
The 5+3+3+4 Design
Earlier, the schools used to follow a 10+2 structure which will now be a 5+3+3+4 structure. It divides school education into four main phases based on the needs and interests of the students. This structure is carefully designed, keeping in view the psychological aspects of a students life.
The 4 stages are as follows:
1. Foundational: Pre School to Class 2 (Age 3 to 8 years old)
The foundational stage has been strategically planned and is divided into two parts that are the pre-school or Anganwadi phase and Classes 1-2. The teaching in this phase shall be activity-based and specially trained teachers will teach light textbooks to provide fundamental understanding. Strong investment in Early Childhood Care and Education, which is currently lacking in 85% of the students, has the potential to give all students a chance to participate and develop in the educational system.
2. Preparatory: Class 3 to 5 (Age 8 to 11 years old)
The preparatory stage follows a pedagogical and curricular style of teaching. In this, different teachers shall teach and encourage discussion on various topics. This shall foster imagination and provide practical knowledge. Moreover, this shall inculcate the habit of analyzing the topics.
3. Middle: Class 6 to 8 (Age 11 to 14 years old)
The middle stage includes a multidisciplinary approach. It provides a chance for the students to explore their options and learn new things.
4. Secondary: Class 9 to 12 (Age 14 to 18 years old)
The secondary stage is divided into two parts: Classes 9-10 and Classes 11-12. It provides an in-depth study of the multidisciplinary approach of the middle stage. The essential provision of this policy is that it does not bifurcate subjects into different streams, thus, provides them with the opportunity to choose their subjects.
The National Educational policy does not conclude here, it takes into account a wide range of things such as the regulatory authority, the availability of e-resources and books, recruitment and deployment of best faculty and many more aspects that involve in making the most effective education system.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has created a quixotic education policy that includes various aspects like the psychology of an individual, revamping the administration and regulation of education. A joint task force has been created comprising the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs for planning and implementation of the policy. The improvised system of assessment namely PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic development) gives a ray of hope that education will no longer be a formality but be a sign of excellence and quality. The policy aims to break all the socio-economic barriers that hinder the growth of the country as quality education is key to eradicating poverty. If NEP is implemented effectively, that day would not be far when every ambitious individual will look up to India as his land of dreams and opportunities.
Q1. Who was the Chairman of the Committee constituted for drafting National education Policy, 2020?
A1. A ‘Committee for the Draft National Education Policy’ was constituted in June 2017 under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan, which submitted the Draft National Education Policy, 2019 to the Human Resource Development Minister on 31 May 2019.