NEP is a complete model for guiding the country’s educational progress. The necessity for a strategy was first recognized in 1964 when Congressman Siddheshwar Prasad criticized the administration at the time for possessing an educational vision and ideology. That same year, a 17-member Education Commission was established, led by then-UCC Chairperson D S Kothari, to formulate national and integrated educational policies. In 1968, Parliament established the first education policy based on the recommendations of this Committee.

National Education Policy 2020

Every few years, a new NEP is released. So far, India has had three. The first was signed in 1968 by Indira Gandhi and the second in 1986 by Rajiv Gandhi; the 1986 NEP was updated in 1992 by P V Narasimha Rao, who was prime minister. The third is the NEP, which was released during Narendra Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister.

Aim of a NEP

The NEP recommends several significant changes, along with the establishment of Indian higher education to foreign universities, the destruction of the UGC and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the implementation of a four-year interdisciplinary undergraduate course with multiple growth opportunities, and the abolition of the M Phil scheme.

In educational institutions, the program emphasizes curriculum changes, “easier” Board exams, a syllabus reduction to keep “basic principles,” and a concentration on “active learning and rational reasoning.”

The new NEP proposes a “5+3+3+4” architecture that corresponds to the age categories 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 years (preparatory), 11-14 years (middle), and 14-18 years (middle). This is a substantial move from the 1986 policy, which advocated for a 10+2 structure of school instruction (secondary). Primary education (also known as pre-school education for children aged 3 to 5) is now included in the scope of formal education. Preschoolers will be included in the midday meal program. According to the NEP, kids should be taught in their native tongue or local languages until they reach Class 5.

The proposal also demands that all institutions that provide singular streams be phased out by 2040 and that all colleges and universities strive to be interdisciplinary by then.

How will these improvements take place

The NEP is only a guideline and is not required to be followed. The suggested changes can only be executed cooperatively by the Centre and the states because education is a simultaneous issue (both the Centre and the state governments may create legislation on it). This is not going to happen right away. The current administration has set a deadline of 2040 for the full implementation of the program. A sufficient amount of finance is also necessary; a lack of cash hampered the 1968 NEP.

To establish action plans for each facet of the NEP, the government proposes to form subject-specific committees with representatives from relevant ministries at both the federal and state levels. Multiple entities, including the HRD Ministry, state Education Departments, school boards, NCERT, Central Advisory Board of Education, and National Testing Board, would be listed in the plans. A yearly collaborative evaluation of progress against stated goals will follow the planning.

For English-medium schools, what does the emphasis on mother tongue/regional language imply

This type of emphasis is not new; most government schools in the country already do so. It is doubtful that private schools will be required to change their teaching method. The clause on mother tongue education of instruction was not mandatory for states. According to a senior ministry official, “Education is a subject that is studied simultaneously. As a result, the policy specifies that children shall be educated in their mother tongue or local languages “whenever possible,” according to the officer.

What about persons with transferable skills or children whose parents are multilingual

The NEP makes no mention of children whose parents have transferrable occupations, but it does mention children who live in bilingual families: “Teachers will be encouraged to employ a bilingual approach with pupils whose first language is not English, including bilingual teaching-learning resources.

What is the structure of the four-year interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program

This proposal comes six years after Delhi University was compelled to eliminate a four-year undergraduate degree at the request of the present government. Students can graduate with a certificate after one year, a diploma after two years, and a degree after three years under the four-year curriculum envisaged in the new NEP.

“Four-year bachelor’s courses typically contain some research work, and the student will have a better understanding of the field in which he or she chooses to major. ABA student should be able to directly attend a research degree course after four years, depending upon how he or she has done… Yet, master’s degree programs would keep operating as before, with students having the option of continuing to a PhD program,” said V S Chauhan, a scientist and former chairman of the UGC.

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