Vidhya naam narasya kirtirtula Bhagyashaye chakshyo,
Dhenuh kamdudha ratishcha virhe netram tratiyam cha saa.
Satkaraytanam kulasya mahima ratrevirna bhushnam,
Tasmadnynupekshya sarvavishyam vidhadhikaram kuru
The first NEP in Bharat came in 1968 and the second in 1986, the NEP of 1986 was revised in 1992. The latest is the NEP 2020, released under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to revamp all aspects of Bharat’s education system that were in place over three decades and bring it closer to the best global standards of education. The NEP is a blend of tools enabling the students to compete with the global world, as well as to grasp the Bharat centric values, culture, and languages. Most importantly, the NEP has a clear vision and defined objectives, which includes, pre-primary education to all by 2025, compulsory school education for all children in the age group of 3-18 years by 2030, the target of 50 percent Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by 2035 and new curricular with 5+3+3+4 structure.
The NEP is an ambitious document, which is focused on the holistic and overall development of the students to make them Aatmnirbhar and to enable them to compete with the world while maintaining the Bharat centric values and culture. The new system will have 4 stages which includes the Foundational Stage (i.e. 3 years of Anganwadi or pre-school followed by classes 1-2), Preparatory Stage (i.e.classes from 3-5), Middle Stage (i.e.classes from 6-8) and lastly the Secondary Stage (i.e.classes from 9-12), and teaching up to at least class 5 in the mother tongue or a regional language (Languages of Bharat), etc. The curriculum will be reduced to its core and there will be more interactive teaching instead of textbook learning. To improve the classroom process, and to enable the professional development of teachers, the use of technology will be encouraged to impart education. In this regard, the New Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be set up.
Under multiple entries and exit systems, degree students would be given a certificate after completing the first year, a diploma after the second, and a degree at the end of the program. Besides, Academic credits will be saved in DigiLocker, which will enable drop-out students to resume their program without having to take fresh admission.
The NEP aims at ensuring a transparent Recruitment Process for teachers, as the institutions will have to follow the robust transparent process for teacher recruitment. In this regard, New Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by 2022. The promotion of the teachers will also be made transparently, thereby ensuring the eligible to get promoted. In the same manner, to ensure transparent entrance exams in the country, the National Testing Agency (NTA) will now be provided to conduct entrance examinations for admissions to universities.
Under the NEP, the school curriculum will aim for the holistic development of the students. To ensure learning opportunities for emphasize will be given to the Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs). The NEP envisages clear, separate systems for policymaking and other matters. For the same, the States/UTs will set up the State School Standards Authority (SSSA).
To ensure quality education, the NEP has paved the way for a single overarching regulator, i.e. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), which will replace the University Grants Commission and the All India Council For Technical Education. The HECI will regulate the 45,000 running affiliated colleges in the country. Further, to ensure greater flexibility, the NEP allows the students to choose subject combinations and to not stick to Science or Commerce or Humanities. Students with a three-year Bachelor’s degree can pursue a two-year Master’s program, and for students with a four-year Bachelor’s degree with research, there could be a one-year Master’s.
The NEP provides that the exams will be redesigned to ensure the holistic development of the students by testing their competencies. Under this, the new progress card will be a holistic, multidimensional report that will include self-assessment, peer assessment, and teacher assessment.
To make the students Aatmanirbhar and promote entrepreneurship, NEP emphasizes on the vocational education. It aims at the hands-on experience of students (from class 6 onwards) in vocational crafts, including metalwork, carpentry, electric work, pottery making, gardening etc.
The NEP has also emphasized on promoting and preserving the regional languages as well as ensuring the multilingualism, so that students should be made aware about the rich array of languages of Bharat. In this context, Mother tongue will be the medium of instruction till fifth grade. Sanskrit will be offered at the school levels after 6th as an option, including in three-language formula. Further, to compete with the global world, Foreign languages, such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian, will also be offered at the secondary level.
As more than 7,50,000 Bhartiya students study abroad, spending billions of dollars outside the country every year. The NEP, to ensure the best education within the country provides provisions for “entry of top world-ranked universities to open campuses in our country”. The top 100 International universities will, no doubt, prepare the Bhartiya students to compete and win in the global world. Also, to keep the institutions at par, common norms will be made for the public and private educational institutions. Further, the Segregation of the universities into Teaching and Research institutions will result in focused research and development in the country.
With the development of technology, access to the remote and far-flung area has become easy. Therefore, NEP aims at using technology and AI in improving the education system and reaching at the remote areas.
The crux of the gamut is, the NEP is the most planned comprehensive and exhaustive document which aims at ensuring the overall development of the students to prepare them to compete with the global world while preserving their Bharat centric values, ethics, and the culture.
Since education is a concurrent, the NEP only provides broad directions. The proposed directions can only be implemented by the Centre and the states collectively. Also, the implementation of NEP will take a long time and therefore the government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire policy.
To implement this ambitious project aiming for sweeping transformational reforms at all levels and to ensure quality education for all, the Centre has aimed to surge public spending on education to almost 6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), i.e. a nearly 2 percent increase in spending.
The NEP could also be seen as the success of the educational organizations of Bharat including the Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM), as the BSM had been demanding for major changes in the existing education system by inculcating and mainstreaming the Bharat-centric values, culture, languages. The preservation of the regional language and promotion & mainstreaming of Sanskrit language will ensure the long time survival of these languages in Bharat. The establishment of entities like the National Research Foundation and Prime Minister-led Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog will ensure the involvement of educationalists in the planning process. The major shift, i.e. the renaming of ministry had figured prominently at a Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal conference in 2018. At the conference, speaker after speaker had urged the government to change the name of the ministry.
Therefore with the change in the name of the ministry, with the introduction of Bharat centric values, languages and culture, as well as with the introduction of the regional and Sanskrit language, it could be said that the NEP is the result of the larger consensus of the people and the organizations who believe and respect the Unity and Integrity of Bharat.