Education is a very essential and crucial asset for a country’s development by attaining full human potential, developing an equitable and fair society. The fourth agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals also concerns about the quality education. The Government of India had endeavoured to enhance and ensure inclusive and equitable quality of education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This has brought a revolutionary change in the Indian Education System.
The world has undergone many rapid and dramatic changes in the field of science and technology. It has become very crucial that the children not only learn but more importantly learn how to learn. Thus, education is needed to be more innovative, creative, and multidisciplinary. The National Education Policy 2020 emphasises on the development of the creative potential in each individual.
The new Education Policy has been segregated into four major sections i.e. school education, higher education, other key areas of focus, and the most important part is making it happen which means the implementation of the policy. The main emphasis in this policy has been done on the foundational learning and the vocational education system in the school and higher educations that is very similar to most of the western countries. This will help students to develop holistically in all the fields of learning quality education rather than just mugging up the syllabus they had.
Earlier the education system tries to divide the students into three categories after their high school i.e. science, commerce, and humanities. And this was a very problematic situation for the students to choose any one of them. But more often than not, students are interested in a variety of subjects. The government has given a solution for this issue in the New Education policy 2020. The students have more flexibility to choose their subjects. Upon the implementation of this policy, a student can study political science with physics and chemistry with history. A student can study science, commerce as well as arts subjects together. This is an amazing initiative. Now, the students would have so much more flexibility to choose.
The second major change is that the existing 10+2 academic structure had been replaced with the 5+3+3+4 system. Now it has become somewhat more similar to the western education system of developed nations. In the 10+2 system, education starts from 6 years of age whereas in this new academic structure education would have started at the age of 3 years. The Preschool system is given emphasis in this academic structure that would extend from the 3 to 6 years old students and then class 1 and 2 for the next 2 years. Then would be the preparatory stage for the next 3 years in which focus would be given on playing, discovery, and activitybased classroom learning. Class 6 to 8 would be the middle stage in which experimental learning would be focused upon sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences, and humanities. Next would be the secondary stage from class 9 to 12 in which multi-disciplinary studies would be provided with more flexibility and more choices. The government has implemented some structural changes to change this mindset, which is praiseworthy. For example, right from class 6, students would have to do internships in vocational training jobs. The students would be imparted experience in such jobs. There would be a bagless period of 10 days where the students would take np bags to school but will experience jobs like carpentry, welding, gardening etc. Vocational training in schools would be focused even later. This is a very critical thing without which our country would never become a developed country until and unless these changes are implemented. The government has fortunately taken a step in the right direction regarding this. Along with this, coding would be taught to children from class 6 and the importance accorded to board exams in class 10 and 12 would be reduced.
Another very important and positive policy change of the New Education policy 2020 is in the report cards handed to the students at the year-end. Until now, the teachers used to assess how the student had performed in the entire year, according to them. Now, the assessment will be done by not only the teachers, but the students will also self-evaluate themselves and say how have they performed in the entire year, according to their perspective. Not only will there be self-evaluation but the rest of the students will also evaluate and tell how a particular student had performed according to the perspective of the rest of the class. This will gradually enhance the critical thinking skills in the students which would be very beneficial.
The major change decided by the government in this education policy is that at least 6% of the GDP will be spent on education. Currently, it is around 3% which is very insufficient as compared to the developed countries and the rest of the developing countries, India spends very less on education in measure of the percentage of the GDP. So, 6% is a great target but a lot depends on implementation as well- how soon is the government able to achieve it. But obviously, as a first step, setting a target is 6% is commendable.
In the Indian education system, there had been a major problem of rote learning as most of the exams are designed in a way that we need to memorize things. And all that is learned, evaporates in a few months because we gave exams by rote learning. So, the government has also said that it would try and change this as well. The exams would be designed in a way that would not require much memorization or rote learning. But there had been no as such particular mention about the implementation of this thing.
The most important change in the education system after 12th is also seen in this New Education Policy 2020 i.e. is multiple entry-exit programme. It means that if an undergraduate started a degree and then he realized that he does not want to continue with it because he doesn’t like it then in this situation he can drop midway. All the subjects that he has studied for one year, he can take their credits and get it transferred to another degree. This is extremely useful and already exists in most of the developed countries.A common national professional standard will be set for all the teachers by 2022 and the minimum qualifications needed to become a teacher would be a four-year integrated BA degree by 2030.
In the era of 21st century, nothing could be completely flawless and so the new Education policy is. Although there are vast changes in the policy but still there had been some of the controversial points as no consultation was taken from the states before making this policy. Moreover, this policy is more like a theoretical task as its implementation would be a tough task and will require a long span of time. And every policy’s effectiveness depends upon its implementation which would require multiple initiatives and actions needed to be taken by multiple bodies in a more synchronized and systematic manner. In the end, if there would have a complete and successful implementation of this education policy in our country then it would result in a great developmental change in every field and thereof the ambition of a developed nation for India would no longer be a distant dream.