The National Education Policy or NEP that has been approved by the Union Cabinet will replace the 34 year old National Policy in Education. Another offshoot of the NEP is that we will no longer be talking about the MHRD or the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The ministry will get a more succinct and apt name and will be known as the Education Ministry.
Here are 15 highlights of the new NEP
#1 A 5+3+3+4 system:
The first 5 refers to preschool, nursery, prep, class 1 and class 2. Then classes 3 to 5 standard. Then mid school which is from class 6 to class 8. And then the final 4 years in school includes class 9 to 12.
This structure is being standardised mostly because some government schools had children joining into formal education only at the age of 6 years unlike private schools. Therefore 3 years of Anganwadis or pre-schooling, attached to primary schools or standalone, would be added to the 12 years of school.
#2 Teaching in regional language up to class 5:
According to the NEP medium of instruction must be in mother tongue or regional language. Though the Minister of Education has mentioned “where possible”.
#3 Exams in Grade 3. 5, 8:
Students will sit for exams in these years conducted by a proper authority. The existing exams in Class 10 and 12 will continue with some changes. They will no longer have emphasis on memorisation but will test core competencies.
#4 A focus on vocational training in school:
Every child will undergo at least one vocational training between class 6 to 8. The vocational training will be offered in carpentry, electric work, gardening etc. There will be 10 day ‘bagless’ period where students will intern with vocational experts. Online mode will also be incorporated for delivering vocational courses. This will help more students finish schooling with a employable skill.
#5 No Science-commerce-arts streams:
Students will be able to choose subjects from any stream during their 11th and 12th. This means that a student could study accountancy as well as physics at the same time.
#6 Common Entrance Exams:
Students will sit for common competitive exams set by NTA (National Testing Agency) for admissions to universities. Though this might be optional. The NTA already conducts JEE ain, NEET and UGC NET among others.
#7 Multiple entry and exit points in HEI:
The new education policy gives students an academic bank of credit which allows them to leave and re-join the education stream at higher education levels. The 4 year college programmes will allow students to exit after one year with a certificate. If they complete 2 years they can leave with a diploma. 3 years will give them a Bachelor’s degree. If they complete 4 years it will include research.
The digital bank of credit will be a centralised account that will store academics points from different HEIs and can be transferred and counted towards final degrees, if the student resumes studies even after a break.
#8 Autonomy to colleges:
Affiliation of colleges to universities will be slowly phased out and a mechanism will be put in place to provided graded autonomy. There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in India that this will affect.
#9 National Education Commission of India (HECI):
Will be the umbrella body in charge of secondary education (excluding medicine and law).
#10 Foreign Universities to set up campus in India:
This step is to take forward the internationalisation of education and will allow top ranked global universities to make education more accessible. High performing Indian institutions will also be encouraged to set up campuses abroad.
#11 An increased investment in education sector:
The education sector till now had just 1.7% of GDP. This will be increased to 6% of GDP.
#12 Establishment of MERU:
Multidisciplinary Educational and Research Universities will be set up. They will have the same status as the IITs and IIMs and will be the prototypes that will establish globalised standards.
Overall, they will be much emphasis on digital and tech in education. The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will encourage a dialogue and exchange of ideas for the use of technology for knowledge as well as improved assessment and administration.