“Change is the end result of all true learning.” – Leo Buscaglia
What is the New Education Policy 2020 (NEP) is all about?
The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 Announced and is the first education policy of India in the 21st century and replaces the National Policy on Education, 1986, which is over 34 years old and was deemed unfit for the needs of the younger generation.
While the old policy focused on a curriculum that gave importance to rote learning and put immense pressure on students to score well as the marks obtained by them defined their identity, The New Education Policy (NEP) attempts to shift the paradigm to more applications and skills-based one, where the student is more than just the marks they score.
New Education Policy (NEP) attempts to make education more multi-disciplinary and holistic by allowing students to take up the subjects they like without being restricted by the primordial system of streams. This will allow each student to play to their strengths and bring out their talents which are unique to them.
This is expected to have a positive impact on the students in school, and thereby improve the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education from 26.3% currently to 50% by 2035. The NEP also aims at establishing Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) to pass over the multidisciplinary curriculum to Higher Education.
To make Higher Education seem less alarming to all students, and thereupon make it more accessible to students of different academic strengths, the NEP adds multiple entries and exit points to the undergraduate degree programs along with amalgamating vocational education to it.
While the most common degree programs last 3 years, the NEP announces 4-year degree programs as well so that the students do not have to opt for a master’s degree separately after the completion of their bachelor’s degree.
The multiple entries and exit points will allow the students to be rewarded with appropriate certifications as they progress through their undergraduate degree and decide to leave it at some point before its completion.
On completion of the 1st year, the student may receive a course certificate; while on completing the 2nd year, they may receive a diploma in that field. They are eligible for a bachelor’s degree for completion beyond 3rd year. 1-year master’s programs will also be made available to complement this.
This system rightfully rewards the students for their hard work, as many students tend to leave their higher education before its completion due to financial constraints or personal reasons, and failed to receive any recognition for their learning under the NPE 1989.
Taking the cause of recognizing the hard work of students further, the New Education Policy (NEP) aims to establish a National Bank of Credit (ABC) which will store the credit earned by each student in the digital form. The credit is equivalent to the ones prevalent in the USA and other countries and is earned by the student on completion of certain courses and projects.
Due to the rapid development of online learning platforms and students opting to study from them as they are cheaper and more accessible, the ABC will allow for the proper acknowledgment of the student’s efforts by accounting for the credits the student will earn in these courses as well.
To give a boost to students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, the institutional bodies will be provided with adequate funds and resources to support these students. The National Scholarship Portal will be improved to foster the students receiving scholarships.
To make education more inclusive for people at various points of their lives, open and distance learning is to be expanded further to increase the GER. The institutions will also be given funds to set up aids that will provide mental support to the students in the form of professional counseling. Hence, the NEP recognizes the importance of the physical and psychological well-being of a student.
The policy aims to achieve 100% literacy rate of youths and adults by 2030. Apart from the above-mentioned measures to make education more inclusive, the policy also aims to promote higher education in various languages, with the option of the provision of courses bilingually being the default. Instructors will be encouraged to communicate in the local language during their lectures so that no student is put in a disadvantaged position.
Whenever a personal mode of education will not be possible, quality education will be provided via online modes. Students who do not have the required interfaces to avail online mode of learning will be assisted by their HEI.
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On the administrative front, a single body known as the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is to be set up with three independent bodies operating under it, namely, the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) which will look after the funding aspect, the National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation, and the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation.
The HECI will be the only body that will have the power to allow Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to issue degrees. Currently, this power lies with the Central and State governments for the creation of such HEIs and the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the conversion of such HEIs into Deemed-to-be universities. This will allow for the creation of autonomous colleges with an independently functioning body with no affiliation to any university.
National Education Technology Forum (NETF) will be established to allow for the exchange of ideas on the usage of technology to promote and enhance education. NRF, or the National Research Fund, will be established to fund research in all disciplines. This is expected to expand research and innovation in the country by making more funds available to researchers.
Conclusion: India’s New Education Policy 2020
All in all, the New Education Policy offers a transformative structure to colleges and universities which will benefit both the students and the administration, if implemented properly. The National Education Policy (NEP) has been a long time coming, and it does not disappoint on paper. It offers to make education more inclusive and expansive with its focus on a multidiscipline structure, multiple entries and exit points in college degree programs, provision of bilingual courses on default, and the creation of ABC.
While the government aims at allocating 6% of GDP to education, it may not prove to be enough if India is to escalate to the position of a ‘developed’ education. Although this is a good start, an allocation of more than 6% of GDP should be made for education further down the line.
In the end, we can only say….
“They know enough who know how to learn”.
– Henry Adams