Practice Question – How does the New Education Policy, 2020 aim to eradicate disparities in the system of education in India?
Approach – Introduction, What are the main provisions in NEP associated with eradicating disparities in education system, Explain how it would remedy the disparities, Criticism, Conclusion.
Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent, and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation. Universal high-quality education is the best way forward for developing and maximizing our country’s rich talents and resources for the good of the individual, the society, the country, and the world. India will have the highest population of young people in the world over the next decade, and our ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to them will determine the future of our country.
FUNDAMENTALS GUIDING EDUCATION SYSTEM
• recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitizing teachers as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres;
• according the highest priority to achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by all students by Grade 3;
• flexibility, so that learners have the ability to choose their learning trajectories and programmes, and thereby choose their own paths in life according to their talents and interests;
• no hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams, etc. in order to eliminate harmful
hierarchies among, and silos between different areas of learning;
• multidisciplinarity and a holistic education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports for a multidisciplinary world in order to ensure the unity and integrity
of all knowledge;
• emphasis on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning and learning-for-exams;
• creativity and critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making and innovation;
• ethics and human & Constitutional values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, spirit of service, respect for public property, scientific temper,
liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice;
• promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning;
• life skills such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience;
• focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s ‘coaching culture ’;
• extensive use of technology in teaching and learning, removing language barriers, increasing access for Divyang students, and educational planning and management;
• respect for diversity and respect for the local context in all curriculum, pedagogy, and policy, always keeping in mind that education is a concurrent subject;
• full equity and inclusion as the cornerstone of all educational decisions to ensure that all students are able to thrive in the education system;
• synergy in curriculum across all levels of education from early childhood care and education to school education to higher education;
• teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process – their recruitment, continuous professional development, positive working environments and service conditions.
*The NEP proposes sweeping changes including opening up of Indian higher education to foreign universities, dismantling of the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), introduction of a four-year multidisciplinary undergraduate programme with multiple exit options, and discontinuation of the M Phil programme.
*In school education, the policy focuses on overhauling the curriculum, “easier” Board exams, a reduction in the syllabus to retain “core essentials” and thrust on “experiential learning and critical thinking”.
*In a significant shift from the 1986 policy, which pushed for a 10+2 structure of school education, the new NEP pitches for a “5+3+3+4” design corresponding to the age groups 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 (preparatory), 11-14 (middle), and 14-18 (secondary). This brings early childhood education (also known as pre-school education for children of ages 3 to 5) under the ambit of formal schooling. The mid-day meal programme will be extended to pre-school children. The NEP says students until Class 5 should be taught in their mother tongue or regional language.
*The policy also proposes phasing out of all institutions offering single streams and that all universities and colleges must aim to become multidisciplinary by 2040.
*The NEP only provides a broad direction and is not mandatory to follow. Since education is a concurrent subject (both the Centre and the state governments can make laws on it), the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states. This will not happen immediately. The incumbent government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire policy. Sufficient funding is also crucial; the 1968 NEP was hamstrung by a shortage of funds.
MERITS OF NEP
*According to the national education policy 2020, the Education Ministry is to set up a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. The responsibility for successful implementation for achieving the foundation numeracy and literacy for all students till class three falls upon the states of India. This implementation is scheduled to be done by 2025.
*One of the merits of NEP 2020 is the formation of National Book promotion Policy in India.
*Appropriate authorities will conduct the school examinations for grades 3, 5 and 8. The board exams for grades 10 and 12 will continue but the NEP 2020 aims to re-design the structure with holistic development.
*This new plan focuses on setting up a Gender Inclusion Fund. Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups is also in the focused list.
*Another vital amendment that the committee has proposed in the existing draft of Education Policy is that it has finally set at least 6% investment of India’s GDP will be spent on education. Presently it’s around 4.3%, which is insufficient. And compared to other developing countries and remaining developed countries, India spends terribly less on education in the life of value. Investing 6% of GDP is a big task for India, especially considering the present economic situation.
*Till now, there is a drag of rote learning within the Indian education system. Most of the exams are unit designed and are organized in such a method that requires mugging up of concepts in order to clear those exams. The knowledge acquired by simply mugging up things evaporates in a few months as a result of which we fail to recall the actual concepts. Understanding the fact that merely clearing exams is not the objective of education. NEP has proposed to redesign the exam pattern in such a way through which actual and true knowledge of a student could be tested.
*In the National Education Policy 2020, language is a negative factor as there is a problematic teacher to student ratio in India, thus introducing mother languages for each subject in academic institutes is a problem. Sometimes, finding a competent teacher becomes a problem and now another challenge comes with the introduction of the NEP 2020, that is bringing study material in mother languages.
*According to the national education policy 2020, students of the private schools will be introduced with English at a much earlier age than the students of the Government schools. The academic syllabus will be taught in the respective regional languages of the Government school students. This is one of the major new education policy drawbacks as this will increase the number of students uncomfortable in communicating in English thus widening the gap between sections of the societies.
*Some educational experts criticized this policy as extremely theoretical. It is allegedly said by them that “The real image does change with the theoretical documents”. No doubt, implementing the new NEP practically in the real world will be a time taking and very difficult process because there are numerous government schools where children do not have an adequate number of teachers or sound infrastructure isn’t available within the schools. Some even lack proper sanitation facilities.
This National Education Policy envisions an education system rooted in Indian ethos that contributes directly to transforming India, that is Bharat, sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high-quality education to all, and thereby making India a global knowledge superpower. The Policy envisages that the curriculum and pedagogy of our institutions must develop among the students a deep sense of respect towards the Fundamental Duties and Constitutional values, bonding with one’s country, and a conscious awareness of one’s roles and responsibilities in a changing world. The vision of the Policy is to instil among the learners a deep-rooted pride in being Indian, not only in thought, but also in spirit, intellect, and deeds, as well as to develop knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being, thereby reflecting a truly global citizen.