It has been 34 years since the national education policy (NEP) changed and since then, the whole political, economic and cultural landscape has completely changed. Hence, it was inevitable that the Indian union cabinet approved it. This new policy aims to pave the way for transformational reforms in school as well as higher education.
Let’s at first, look at how it affects the school education system.
How does the new NEP affect school education?
- It aims to increase the gross enrollment ratio
The new NEP aims to increase the country’s gross enrolment ratio to K-12, to 100 percent by 2030. This aligns with India’s Sustainable development goals (sdg4).
- It has restructured school
The current system of 10+2 that describes how classes are bunched together has been replaced. Now it is more compliant with an international system of 5+3+3+4, beginning at the age of 3 (which means preschool is now to be generalized as well).
These are the divisions: ages 3-8 (foundational years), Ages 8-11 (preparatory), Ages 11-14 (middle) 14-18 (secondary).
- Board exams changes
10 and 12 class board exams are to be made easier, testing a students core competencies instead of their ability to memorize and regurgitate facts. They will now be able to take exams twice.
(yes, we all are jealous of the future students as well but happy for them as well)
- The focus has shifted
There will not be a rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular and vocational streams as the focus has shifted more towards literacy and numeracy of the students.
- An early start
Vocational training, including learning how to code, to start from sixth grade alongside internships. This means that there will be now an increased need for online learning platforms to teach vocational subjects.
- Assessment reforms
The way a student will be assessed will be changed. There will be a focus on a 360-degree holistic progress card, tracking a student’s progress for learning outcomes.
Needless to say that this is a complete overhaul of the education system. The schooling of students will now focus mostly on teaching practical skills as early as possible, so that the students can be more productive members of society the moment they graduate from school.
But education doesn’t just end with school, it continues with higher education. Perhaps an even more important aspect of Education, higher education has also had its fair share of reforms.
How does the new NEP affect higher education?
The new nep aims to increase enrolment into colleges and universities to 50 % by 2035. To make this happen, the first step is to add 3.5 crore seats to higher education institutes.
The education in the undergraduate program will be more holistic than before. It will allow students flexibility to choose parts of their curriculum. Most undergraduate programs will be three or four years long with multiple exit options and appropriate certification for course taken.
M.phil courses will be discontinued and all courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and phd will be interdisciplinary.
A new bank
A notional bank of credits will be established in order to aid the transfer of credits.
New institutes that are multidisciplinary and Research Universities are to be established throughout the country. They will aim to provide education according to international standards and be on par with IIT’s and IIM’s.
A new foundation
The national research foundation will be created as an apex body to foster a strong research culture and to build research capacity across higher education.
For higher education, there seems to be a focus on flexibility, approachability and research. With this, they wish to allow many more people to enter into higher education and build themselves high income skills in the way they want to. Another focus is to increase India’s research facilities in order to secure a better future in stem fields for Indians.
Overall, the new NEP is the step in the right direction. It aims to create a high-skilled and intelligent working population that will be equipped with tools to deal with life’s circumstances. What remains to be seen is how will this implemented and it will take time to be able to evaluate that.