On 29th July,2020 The Union Cabinet approved the New Education Policy (NEP). "As on date, we have different norms for deemed universities, central universities, for different individual individual standalone institutions.New Education Policy says that for reasons of quality, norms will be same for all & not as per ownership," said Amit Khare, Higher Education Secretary.
Structure: For schools, the current 10 + 2 structure has been converted to a 5+3+3+4 structure. The first five years of school will comprise the foundation stage including three years of pre-primary school as well as classes 1 and 2. The next three years will be divided into a preparatory stage from classes 3 to 5 and following that, three years of middle stage (classes 6 to 8), and four years of secondary stage (classes 9 to 12). Co-curriculum and vocational subjects like sports, arts, commerce, science will be treated at the same level. Students will be allowed to take up coding from class 6 onwards and skills such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity will be taught in school.
Flexibility in streams and board exams : There would also be flexibility to choose subjects from across streams. The class 10 and 12 exams referred to as board exams are likely to be held in two difficulty levels and students will be given a second chance at boards to improve their score. They will be free to take up courses regardless of the stream division of arts, commerce and science. “Student choice and best-of-two-attempts, assessments that primarily test core capacities must be the immediate key reforms to all board exams,” the NEP stated. A system of annual or semester or modular board exams could be developed to test far less material, and taken immediately after the corresponding course is taught in school so the pressure from exams is better distributed and less intense.
Introduction of new systems: There is an introduction of Bag-less days as well, in which students will be exposed to a vocation of choice.The report cards of students will be reviewed by peers and teachers. Artificial Intelligence-based software could be developed and used by students to help track their growth through their school years based on learning data.
Language: The policy states, the medium of instruction until at least class 5 (and preferably till class 8) should be the regional language. Thereafter, the home or local language should continue to be taught as a language. Unlike the draft, the final policy gives the freedom to the state, region, and child to choose three languages to be learned. However, at least two of the three languages should be native Indian languages
Moving on to colleges,
SAT-like College test: The National Testing Agency will conduct a common entrance exam at least twice a year. It will be specialised common subject exams in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects.It will allow “most universities to use these common entrance exams – rather than having hundreds of universities each devising their own entrance exams, thereby drastically reducing the burden on students, universities and colleges,” the NEP read. It will not be mandatory and will be left to individual universities and colleges to use NTA assessments for their admissions. 4 Year Bachelor: 4 year multidisciplinary bachelor to be preferred, mid term drop outs will be given credit with options to complete degree after break. Students will get a certificate after completing one year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after two years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a three-year programme. The four-year programme may also lead to a degree ‘with Research‟ if the student completes a rigorous research project in their major area(s) of study.
No Affiliation and Foriegn Universities: Over the next 15 years, colleges will be given graded autonomy to give degrees, affiliation with universities to end. High performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries, and similarly, selected universities, those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India. A legislative framework facilitating such entry will be put in place, and such universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.
Credit Bank: An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognised HEIs so that the degrees from an HEI can be awarded taking into account credits earned. Departments in languages, literature, music, philosophy, Indology, art, dance, theatre, education, mathematics, statistics, pure and applied sciences, etc. Credits will be given in all Bachelor’s Degree programmes for these subjects if they are done from such departments or through the ODL mode when they are not offered in-class at the HEI.
Lastly, the use of technology will be seen to improve in all areas of education.
The reformed policy seems to be in favour of students allowing them to take up the subjects they like without being within a boundary of streams. It opens up many opportunities to Indian students and the education system to improve in many ways.