The New Education Policy 2020: Insights

By Sahana Rudra, Aanya Agarwal, Aarush Gupta, Utkarsh Manwani and Abhijeet Godara

I. Introduction

The National Education Policy 2020 (commonly referred to as NEP 2020) brought about major changes from the pre-existing Education Policy (both from 1986 and 1992) to better support and foster learning so that all critical targets and goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be achieved. The NEP 2020 aims to “ensure inclusive, equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by the year 2030. This goal required the entirety of the education system of the country to be changed and reconfigured to support the ideology of the growing population of the youth. The rapidly changing ecosystem and environment of the globe lead to a more open-minded education policy- one which aims at not only learning but also learning how to think critically and analyse the problem to handle it in the most efficient manner possible. Notable recommendations included:

1. Multiple entries and exit options in degree courses: The NEP 2020 brought forth arguably the most substantive change in education policies as far as we have seen - it allows for a multiple-exit option in undergraduate courses. Colleges are mandated to provide a certificate after a student completes a year in a discipline or a field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after two years, or a Bachelor’s degree upon completing the program. The Government also aims at establishing an Academic Bank of Credit for digitally storing academic credits earned from different Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) so they can be transferred and counted towards the final degree earned.

2. Providing a foundation for the graded autonomy of colleges: A single overarching body for higher education (Higher Education Commission of India) will be set up, excluding medical and legal education, to slowly phase out affiliation of colleges and establish a stage-wise mechanism to ensure the grant graded autonomy to colleges.

3. Schooling at the age of three: The NEP 2020 introduced the new pre-school system of studies starting at the age of three, increasing the age from 6-14 years of mandatory schooling to 3-18 years of schooling. The school structure of 2+10 years of school will be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 school structure that corresponds to the ages 3-8,8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 respectively.

The authors of this research paper have collected responses from people of all age groups and careers to comprehend the impact that the NEP has on each part of society. This paper aims at fully understanding the NEP and expressing our views on the policy changes adopted by the government as well as the overall public opinion of the NEP.

II. Responses to NEP 2020: An Analysis of its Intended Beneficiaries

The National Education Policy 2020 aims to rework the education landscape in India. The NEP is expected to place India on target to achieve SDG4 by ensuring inclusive, equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities. Significantly, the policy lays emphasis on four key areas of reforms (namely curricular changes to create strong foundational skills, improving quality of learning across all levels of education, shift in student assessment mediums and systemic transformation). According to our survey, over 50%of respondents have felt that NEP 2020 can improve learning environments, 30% have concluded that it will remain the same while only 20% says it will worsen it. Overall, the public's opinion is in favour of NEP 2020 and consider its impact positive.

The NEP 2020 aims to target a 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in class education in the next 10 years and also envisions universalization of education from preschool to secondary level. The structure of faculty education will be overhauled with the addition of pre-schooling provisions for students. Our research question was based on finding which of the three target areas namely Learning, Evaluating and teaching had been most impacted due to the pandemic. According to our survey, 42% of respondents believe that Learning has been most impacted, 34% of respondents believe evaluations have been most impacted whereas only 24% of respondents believe teaching has been impacted.

Socio-economically disadvantaged groups is a new word introduced in the paper (SEDGs). Geographic identities, alongside gender identities, socio-cultural identities, socio-economic identities, and impairments are covered in theSEDGs. Furthermore, the NEP 2020 advises establishing Special Education Zones in areas with disproportionately large populations from educationally disadvantaged SEDGs (SEZs). All programmes and policies in these SEZs are to be executed to the fullest extent possible by further coordinated efforts. This will assist in significantly altering the educational environment in these locations. Previously, children's rights to education were limited to grades one through eight (6-14years). The NEP aspires to extend this right to children aged three to eighteen. This is especially true in public schools, which serve the majority of children from low-income households, who typically lack preschool education in comparison to middle-class families, further extending the gap between them. The new NEP intends to lay a strong basis for children's early development by establishing a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, which would stress "communication, early language, literacy, and numeracy". The NEP also calls for much-needed teacher education reform, including a revamp of pre-service programmes and for the first time, mental health and social-emotional learning are also prominently featured. The importance of leveraging technology is also acknowledged, as are plans to stretch optical fibres to the most remote settlements in order to attain universal digital access and literacy. Moreover, the strategy recognises selected geographical areas as Aspirational Districts, which need special measures to promote educational growth. This categorization has the potential to be a very successful approach in eradicating the long-standing educational disparity.

The new policy will have a profound impact on how the CBSE functions. In some areas, the board is including international curriculum possibilities by delivering holistic and skill-based learning. The changes will encourage trans-disciplinary education that is more aligned with the global system. Furthermore, in higher education, all institutes will strive to become interdisciplinary and research-focused. There is a considerable shift from summative to regular competency-based assessment that evaluates analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity. It denotes the end of rote learning and introduces assessments based on the application of fundamental principles beginning in grade 6, allowing every child to acquire at least one skill by the end of their school experience.

Early childhood care and education provide long-term educational assistance (ECCE). In accordance with the above guidelines, the most recent research on ECCE, and national and international best practises, NCERT will develop an excellent curricular and pedagogical framework for early childhood education for children up to the age of eight in two parts, namely a sub-framework for 0-3-year-olds and a sub-framework for3-8-year-olds. The eventual goal will be to progressively give nationwide access to high-quality early childhood care and education. Districts and municipalities that are significantly socioeconomically disadvantaged will be given special consideration and priority. ECCE will be delivered through a greatly enlarged and enhanced system of early childhood educational institutions, which will comprise (a) stand-alone Anganwadis, (b) Anganwadis co-located with primary schools, and (c) Anganwadis co-located with secondary schools, co-located pre-primary schools/sections for children aged 5to 6 years, and (d) stand-alone preschools, all of which will employ workers/teachers who are highly educated in the curriculum and methodology.

Academicians and professionals have had conflicting reactions to the new National EducationPolicy (NEP), with some hailing the reforms as "long overdue" and"groundbreaking," while others warned that "the devil is in the details" and hoped that the reforms would be implemented on the ground. Some people applaud the proposal since it encourages holistic and multidisciplinary learning, while others believe it would pave the road for privatisation in education. "They have talked about experiential learning which is so useful. Unless you improve school education, you cannot improve higher education. The concept of interdisciplinary, hands-on experience, breaking down barriers between subjects and connecting them to society are some of the key points in the policy.

III. Conclusion

Education is a fundamental and crucial component of every society's and country's overall development, and a nation's comprehensive national education strategy is developed to meet this need. The Government of India's approval of the New NEP 2020 is a significant step in this direction. Education has a vital and corrective function to play in improving and balancing the country's socioeconomic foundation. India's education system extends back to ancient times when children were educated in Gurukuls. The Teacher used to teach subjects ranging from Sanskrit to the holy books, and from mathematics to metaphysics, according to the child's interests.

National Education Policy 2020 envisions an India-centric education system that delivers high-quality education to all, converting India into a global knowledge society that is egalitarian and dynamic. Developing profound respect for one's basic rights, obligations, and constitutional ideals, as well as a sense of belonging to one's nation and conscious understanding of one's role and responsibilities in a changing world. Instilling skills, beliefs, and dispositions that enable a responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development, and living and global well-being, resulting in a genuinely global citizen.

The policy's objective is to transform India into a "global knowledge superpower."Increased access, equity, and inclusion are additional goals of the programme, as well as "light but strict" regulation by a single regulator for higher education. On the other hand, as the results of the survey stated more than 50% of the voters were not aware of this policy. Which contradicts its purpose. Although the introduction of this policy is a step towards a more progressed nation.

IV. References

Kumar, Ravi Prakash. “New Education Policy: Five Big Changes in School, Higher Education Explained.” Livemint, 31 July 2020. https://www.livemint.com/education/news/new-education-policy-five-big-changes-in-school-higher-education-explained-11596098141333.html.

Chakrabarty,Roshni. “What Are Education Experts Saying about the New National EducationPolicy?” India Today, September 11, 2020. https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/national-education-policy-what-education-experts-are-saying-about-nep-2020-1706139-2020-07-30.

“Impact ofNational Education Policy 2020 on Your Child's Curriculum.” Dailyhunt, 6 August 2020. https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/yourstory-epaper yourstory/impact+of+national+education+policy+2020+on+your+child+s+curriculum+future-newsid-n204256464 listname=topicsList&index=0&topicIndex=0&mode=pwa&action=click.

Outlook.“National Education Policy Evokes Mixed Reactions among Academicians.” 29 July 2020. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/national-education-policy-evokes-mixed-reactions-among-academicians/1905418.

Panwar, Manjul. “NEP 2020 Envisages Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education for RuralIndia.” 22 August 2020. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/opinion-nep-2020-envisages-inclusive-and-equitable-quality-education-for-rural-india/359119.