The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new National Education Policy (NEP) and renamed the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry as the Education Ministry. The NEP replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986. The Cabinet decisions were announced to the media by Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, along with Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare and HRD Secretary Anita Karwal.
A single regulator for higher education institutions, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, discontinuation of MPhil programmes, low stakes board exams and common entrance exams for universities and higher education courses are among the new decisions that feature in the new policy.
Here are the highlights of the new NEP 2020:
â€” The 10+2 structure of school curricula has been replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi or pre-schooling.
â€” Home language, mother tongue or regional language to be medium of instruction up to class 5.
â€” School curriculum will be reduced to core concepts. Vocational education will start in schools from the class 6, and will include internships. A student can go to a local craftsperson or trader and do a 10-day internship. These 10 days will be counted as part of 'bagless days'.
â€” Till age 8, the child will study via â€˜playâ€™ and â€˜discoveryâ€™ methods, activity-based experiential learning so that he/she can achieve foundational literacy and numeracy. Middle school will be subject introduction and exploration, and it will be multi-disciplinary. In plus 4 i.e. classes 9 to 12, there will not be any stream. So, if a student wants to opt for physics and fashion studies or study bakery and confectionery with chemistry, it will be allowed.
â€” Board exams will be low stake, divided into objective and descriptive, and the focus will be on testing concepts and knowledge application.
â€” Undergraduate courses can be for three or four years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. For example, a certificate can be awarded after one year, advanced diploma after two years, bachelorâ€™s degree after three years and bachelorâ€™s with research after four years.
â€” Common norms to be in place for private and public higher education institutions under the Central governmentâ€™s new education policy.
â€” MPhil courses have been discontinued.
â€” All higher education institutions, except legal and medical colleges, will be governed by a single regulator, and the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
â€” Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an autonomous degree-granting college, or a constituent college of a university.
â€” The common entrance exam for admissions to universities and colleges will be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) and common norms will be in place for private and public higher education institutions under the Central government's NEP.
â€” The new policy aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035; and 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions.
The NEP was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party's manifesto ahead of the 2014 general election.
In May 2016, a Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy under the chairmanship of TSR Subramanian, former cabinet secretary, submitted its report. Based on this, the ministry prepared a document called â€˜Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016â€™.
Then, a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan had submitted the draft of the new NEP to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank when he took charge last year.
The draft was then put in the public domain to seek feedback from various stakeholders and over two lakh suggestions were received by the HRD Ministry.
With PTI inputs