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Education plays a most important powerful role in building a nation. Education decides the future of the nation. The long-lasting effect of education in terms of growth and development of the nation and on the individual citizen cannot be ignored in today’s generation of the modern technological world. India being a growing liberal country, currently have 845 universities, and approximately 40,000 education institutions, reflecting the overall many small-sized higher education institutions in the nation.
Some of the basic discrepancies found in the Indian education system are as follows: Early streaming of students into different disciplines.
- Lack of access to Higher Education, especially in socio-economically backward areas.
- Lack of quality teachers and institutional autonomy to make innovations in HE to motivate and inspire many students.
- Insufficient procedure for career management and lack of good faculty and institutional leaders.
- The lack of proper means and resources of research and innovations at most of the universities and colleges.
- Substandard levels of governance and leadership at higher education institutions.
- Corrupted system of higher education by allowing fake colleges and restraining the education quality.
It is also to be noted that over 20% of the colleges have annual enrolment less than 100 students making them unworkable to improve the quality of education and only 4% of colleges have annual enrolment more than 3,000 students annually due to regional imbalance as well as the quality of education they offer. It is to be predicted that India will be the third-largest economy in the world by 2030-2032 with an estimated GDP of ten trillion dollars. The ten trillion economies will be driven by the best knowledge resources and not by the natural resources of the country. To boost the growth of the Indian education sector, the present government decided to renovate it by introducing a comprehensive and fresh National Education Policy 2020.
The growth of our country can be seen and understood by the comparative study of the pre-independence and post-independence eras. After a very long period, i.e., 34 years government is going to change the curriculum and pattern of our education system. This is the 3rd amendment in the education policy. National education policy 2020 proposed by the union cabinet marks the bigger changes in school and college education. The new education policy aims at making “India a knowledge superpower with the use of current technology”. It was all about that the Indian government initiated a long-term process by a method to transform or develop the educational institutions in India and provide them the extra facilities so that they can be compared with the best institutions of the world. This was a landmark change by the government and the need of the hour.
Indian education system
The Indian education system has taken its present-day shape from the Gurukul system to the influenced British system, many changes have been accepted, implemented, and modified in the present educational system. The present education system of 10+2 soon to be replaced by the 5+3+3+4 system and the important changes in the stream system (Arts, Science, Commerce). Now that the students are free to choose their combination of subjects from the available subjects. The education system should prepare the students for the future so that they can achieve success to a greater height and make development at the community and individual level. It is expected that removing the barriers of the stream and giving liberty to students to choose their subject on their own and learn is going to expand their mental criteria.
What motive does the new national education policy serve?
The new national education policy is a compilation of changes that guide the development of education in the country. The need for the first education policy was understood in the year 1964 when the congress MP criticized the then government for lacking perception and philosophy for education. The education commission headed by the UGC chairperson draft a national policy for education, which was passed in the year 1968. And then the second education policy in the year 1986. This is the third education policy which comes after a very long time.
Part IV of the constitution, Article 45 and 39(f) of Directives Principles of State Policy (DPSP) has a provision for state-funded as well as equitable and accessible education.
The 42nd amendment to the constitution which is known as the “Mini Constitution” in 1976 moved education from state to the concurrent list.
The education policies made by the central government are the broad direction which is to be followed by the state government but these policies are not mandatory. For example – Tamil Nadu does not follow three language formula which was prescribed in the first education policy of 1968.
The 86th amendment made to the constitution in 2002 made education an enforceable right under Article 21-A.
Article 30 of the Indian constitution provides for certain cultural and educational rights to establish and administer educational institutions. Article 14,15,16 safeguards the educational interest of weaker sections of the society, socially and economically backward class, scheduled caste, and scheduled tribes. India being a secular country, is a nation where religion matters and had always been given a high status. Under the constitution, minorities were given full rights to establish their educational institutions.
Other Related Laws
Right to Education Act, 2009 aims to provide primary education to all the children of age groups between 6-14 years and make education a fundamental right.
Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid-day Meal Scheme, and Kendriya Vidyalayas and use of It in the education policy.
Policies till now
National Policy on Education 1968
- Proposed equal educational opportunities for all citizens.
- Right to Free and compulsory education for all children till the age of 14 years
- A minimum specialization qualification standard was set for teachers
- Three language formula mainly focusing on English, Hindi and regional language
- 10+2 uniform education structure
- The policy also encouraged the teaching of an ancient language, Sanskrit which was considered to an essential to India’s cultural heritage
- The NEP 1968 was called for spending 6% on the education of the national income
National Policy on Education 1986
- Major emphasis on removal of disparities and equal educational opportunity especially for Indian women, scheduled caste, and scheduled tribe.
- The child-centred approach in primary education
- Modelling of rural-university program
- Operation-blackboard to improve primary schools
- This NEP expanded the system of open university with the Indira Gandhi national open university.
- This NEP was based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote economic and social development at the grass-root level of the nation.
National policy on Education 1992
- A new policy was adopted based on a “common minimum program” To conduct the common entrance examination for admissions for all the professional and technical programs in the nation.
- This helps to take care of managing the admission standards and help in the maintenance of the professional standards of the programs
- This reduces the burden of the multiplicity of exams on the parents and students who are seeking admissions
Fundamental principles of National Education Policy, 2020
NEP 2020, is divided into four sections and addresses the following challenges facing the existing education system.
- Recognizing, identifying, and promoting the unique strengths of each student separately.
- Encouraging each student’s development in both academic and non-academic.
- Pliability for students to choose their learning programs
- No hard separation to be made between arts and science students curricular and extra-curricular activities
- A multi-disciplinary and holistic educational approach to ensure unity and integrity of the nation.
- Promotion of multi-language system
- Social skills such as teamwork, cooperation, and resilience
- Promoting innovation and out-of-the-blue ideas through good governance and empowerment.
Objectives and Reforms of National education policy 2020
- Universalization of education from pre-school to secondary in school education by 2030. The new policy expands the mandatory age of schooling from 6-14 years to 3-18 years.
- The current schooling 10+2 system is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 structure for the age group of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This new system will include 12 years of schooling with 3 years of pre-schooling.
- This new education structure will bring the uncovered children of age group from 3-6 years under the education curriculum, this age group is the most developing mental phase of a child, as recognized globally.
- Class 10th and 12th board examinations are to be made easier, to test the competencies of the students, this new education system changes its vision from theoretical knowledge to practical knowledge.
- A new commission and an independent authority were instituted to regulate both public and private schools. Emphasis to be made on foundational literacy and numeracy, no separation academic streams, extra-curricular streams to be made.
- Teaching up to grade five at least in the mother tongue/ regional language. Tracking student progress with a 360-degree holistic approach. No teacher will be allowed to teach students by the year 2030 if he does not possess the minimum qualification of 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
- Establishment of counsellors and social workers to improvise the mental health of the students.
- Increasing the education expenditure of the GDP at the earliest
- Multi-disciplinary education in the undergraduate program with exit options where a degree can be of 3 or 4 years.
- Masters of philosophy courses to be discontinued and all other courses at UG, PG, and Ph.D. level will now be interdisciplinary
- Post-graduation programs can be of 1 or 2 years
- The national testing agency will conduct entrance examinations for all universities across the nation
- Setting up of a general education council for education standards
- Setting up of Higher education grant council for providing funds or financing of colleges and universities
- Setting up of a national accreditation council for accreditation
- Adding more seats in higher education
- Focus on the transparency and strengthening of the teacher’s recruitment process
- The national council for teacher education will form a new framework for teacher’s
- NCTE will provide and form a new framework for the professional standards of teacher’s
- By 2023, the minimum qualification for teachers will be B.Ed. degree with 4-year integrated course to improve the facilities standards
- Universities that are offering law courses must prefer to offer bilingual languages for the future lawyers and judges—in English and state languages.
- The Healthcare education system must be made in such a way that all the students of allopathic should have a basic understanding of Ayurveda, yoga, and naturopathy.
- Artificial intelligence, big data analysis, machine learning, in addition to genomic studies, biotechnology, with matters related to health.
- The government will establish the national education commission
- Identifying and focusing on the specialized education zones to improve education among the underrated and disadvantaged regions
- For improving and strengthening the education of females and transgender children government will set up a Gender inclusion fund
- More use of technology in the education planning, learning, and assessment
- Establishment of National Assessment Centre ‘PARAKH’ for the assessment of students
- Establishment of new language institutions such as the Indian institute for translation
Merits of higher education policies in NEP 2020
Student centric model
The current education system is the teacher-centric model while it is being replaced by the student-centric as the right to choose their subjects to get to the student. Students can appear for competency-based evaluation at their own pace.
Competency-based evaluation system
As the current choice-based credit system, the competency-based credit system has the advantage of evaluating the students based on their skills and experience.
Improved stem model of higher education curriculum
To generalize the all-around development of students of higher education, they should be exposed to arts and design so that they develop a practical approach and creativity in solving their problems along with the help of science, technology, and mathematics. This new model is called the STEAM model better than the STEM model in higher education.
Autonomy at all levels
Higher education institutions should be given full autonomy to do innovations in the courses, curriculum, examination, and evaluation could able to improve the quality of education offered by them. Autonomy at all levels in the higher education system including financial decisions is an essential part of a progress-oriented system.
Encouragement to online training
Uses of communication and information technology including education technology, internet technology, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, etc are very essential resources in the implementation of education in the 21st century. It is expected that the 21st century is the digital era of technology due to improved technology. Tech education is going to replace the old orthodox classroom educations and the new NEP 2020 laid down the foundation for it but it also supports the classroom education by adding a feature of research component in it.
How will these reforms be implemented?
The newly made education policy 2020 only provides broad directions by the government and not mandatory to follow them, which means it is at the discretion of the government which objects or features of the policy are to be followed or not. Education is a concurrent subject (i.e., both state government and central government can make laws regarding it). The reforms proposed in the policy are collaboratively implemented by the state and central government. This procedure will take time and the present government has the vision to complete its implementation at least by the year 2040. This policy will be backed by sufficient funding because the NEP 1968 was crippled by the shortage of funds. The state and the central government should extensively increase the expenditure on education to attain the goals with excellence and will be beneficial for social-economic interests. The government will plan to set up committees for each aspect of the policy to be covered with members from both the relevant ministries for state and central government. Various multiple bodies like HRD ministry, NCERT, state education department, National Testing Agency, and others.
Where do the difficulties lie?
Some of the proposals made in the national education policy, 2020 require legal changes. The proposals for the board of governors of different universities requires changes in the central and state acts. The national education trust has been set up by the government but to make it a fully autonomous body, an Act is must be required. Other proposals require proper funding, and for that ministry increased the ratio of funding to education to 6% of the GDP and feels that this will be sufficient for the implementations of the national education policy. The proposal to make the mother tongue the medium of instructions has already started a debate amongst other political parties and is left at the discretion of the state government. Thus, the new education policy aims to rectify the errors and demerits of the then existing educational system and also to develop the country to face the challenges of the modern and technological world with increasing prospects of artificial intelligence. That will the country become a global knowledge hub in the world.
Opportunities and challenges
There is a major difference between learning and being literate, when a child is admitted to school he is expected to learn and gain knowledge so that he can be successful in his career. The current education system is based on the number system, the focus is on the grades not on the conceptual clarity of concepts. The present system is criticized by many due to its learning methods. The skills and knowledge required to survive in corporate are missing in the education system.
There are two major factors behind the changes in the education policy and to resolve them is the motive of the new policy.
This is a very important topic to discuss, employment could be the purpose for a person studying and sharpening their skills and after gaining experience in the particular sector enjoys growth and development in his career.
In today’s scenario, the companies want the best employees because there are more options and more challenges, and organizations want the best people to achieve the heights of success. The NEP proposes the tool like choosing the subjects of various combinations to study, changing the exam pattern, focus on the conceptual clarity of the subjects, providing exposure according to the talent of the student.
This is an important part related to the employment where the candidate used to make an effort on his own to start his venture. Nowadays start-ups are like fashion. Everyone wants to start their own business. The new education policy will help the students to manage their skills and energy in the right direction so that they can use their skills to fill the gaps in the industry to their own business.
Further suggestions for improvements
Ph.D. should be a compulsory qualification for a permanent teaching position in colleges and universities
Like the B.Ed. is the minimum qualification for teaching in foundation, primary and secondary education. Ph.D. research should be compulsory for teaching in universities and colleges to mould the students into the research side also.
Uses of services of retired professors as research guides
With the requirement of huge Ph.D. degree holders in autonomous colleges due to changes in policies of NEP 2020, the demand for research guides is accelerating. The perfect solution for solving this shortage is the employment of services of retired professors with good research familiarization. It is suggested that the universities should use the services of retired professors as research guides.
The proper definition of Multidisciplinary College
A multidisciplinary college or university should have a minimum of Five disciplines belonging to different faculty areas. For example, (1) Languages, (2) Basic Sciences, (3) Social Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Education, (6) Medical Sciences, (7) Dental Sciences, (8) Para-medical sciences, (9) Business Management & Commerce, (10) Computer Science, etc.
Higher education leaders should be the role models in research activities
The head and the members of all the committees of the HE department should be strictly selected based on their research work during the last five years. Obsolete professors/ bureaucrats should be kept outside the selection procedure. There should be no political and bureaucratic pressure on the selection.
Compulsory patent during post-graduation courses
Students doing research based on industry internships and publish research papers and own patents must be a requirement of their degree program. There should be aware of the IPR related laws among the researchers.
Vocational training while learning encouragement based on earning
To encourage self-dependency after 18 years of age, students should be encouraged to develop their skills in the interested area so that their dependency on parents can be reduced. The vocational training program based on earn while learning can be given importance at the higher education level.
Faculty accountability to boost performance
According to NEP 2020, all higher education institutions are based on quality and merit. All the appointments of the faculty should strictly be based on merit and dedication. To maintain growth and development in education a critical scale of measurement has to be followed
Simplify the patent filing and speed up of patent evaluation
The Indian government through arranging measures and by awareness programs made clear to the researchers of the patent filing process, patent filing fees, and within the evaluation time which is decreased to 3 to 6 months from the current 3 to 6 years so that the research will file a patent for their research.
Benefits to the society
Education is necessary to build a developed and growing society to develop a nation. All the stakeholders are a part of society. The new venture gives employment to the job seekers and the money earn is rotating back into the Indian economy which in turn helps the nation to grow.
In this covid-19 era, new skills and technologies are being used to fight against the deadly virus, the NEP gives more exposure to the students to expose their skills do some moral good for the society as a whole.
The new education policy aims to ease an inclusive and holistic approach that takes into consideration practical experiences as well as the lessons learned from the practices. National education policy 2020, has uncovered a lot of thought process, optimistic approach by the government of India. There are no specific compartments and boundaries. The predicted period is significantly extended, with 20+ years of span. It starts with the grass-root level, that is with the school level goes through the graduate and even though the higher level of education. The main idea behind the NEP is holistic, multi-disciplinary, broad-based education. There is also the main focus on vocational education that starts within the early phase. The policy is divided into three parts concerning the learner and the fourth part is to make it happen. A new agency will be set up called the national research foundation will fund innovative project ideas in the field of science, applied science, humanities, and social science. The transformation level will start from the academic year 2021-2022 and will long last till the 2030 year.
Author: RAJAT SHARMA, AMITY LAW UNIVERSTY, NOIDA
Editor: Kanishka Vaish, Senior Editor, LexLife India