By Rohit Sindhu, Updated : Jul 31, 2020 18:36 IST
New Education Policy (NEP 2020): Explained reforms at School & Higher Education levels

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new National Education Policy (NEP 2020) after 34 years with an aim to introduce several changes in the Indian education system- from the school to college level. There is a major breakthrough in the higher education & the focus would be enhancing essential learning and critical thinking with emphasis on experiential learning, Dr Ramesh Nishank Pokhriyal says. Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects. There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams,” said a statement from the ministry.

HRD ministry renamed itself as Education Ministry conducted a meeting under PM Narendra Modi to bring restructurings in education which is a water shed moment in the history of education.“I sincerely thank my colleagues Smt Smriti Irani Ji, Shri Prakash Javdekarji & DNEP committee members who were instrumental in framing NEP2020. I am also thankful to CABE members, State Education ministers, 2 lakh+ Gram Panchayat members, teachers & parents who participated in the consultation process to get the policy on the ground.” tweets Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. It’s 21st century education policy which is expected to be welcomed by the entire society as well as the world’s educator. The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest. Here are key takeaways from New Education Policy (NEP 2020) drafted by Cabinet on Wednesday. 

Targeting a 50% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education by 2035

“While a number of new institutions may be developed to attain these goals, a large part of the capacity creation will be achieved by consolidating/expanding/improving existing HEIs.” Says Pokhriyal .There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative and Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation.

 Last year, according to All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), the GER in higher education has increased from 25.8 per cent in 2017-18 to 26.3 per cent in 2018-19, while in absolute terms the enrolment increased from 3.66 crores to 3.74 crore students. The survey had also found that GER for Scheduled Castes had also grown from 21.8 per cent to 23 per cent and Scheduled Tribes from 15.9 per cent to 17.2 per cent.

Setting up a Gender-Inclusion Fund to provide equitable & inclusive education for all:

“The fund will be available to States to support & scale effective community-based interventions that address barriers to female & transgender children’s access to education.” Tweets Pokhriyal. The fund will be available to States to support & scale effective community-based interventions that address barriers to female & transgender children’s access to education.

The fund would also enable in "changing mindsets and halting harmful practices to foster gender equity and inclusion; inculcating girls'' capacity for leadership to help develop current and future role models; and improving dialogue with civil society to exchange best practices and lessons learned", the draft policy stated. Expounding on the fund, the policy stated that it will authorise two funding streams - formula and discretionary grants. Formula grants will be available to States to implement priorities determined by the central government and critical for assisting women and girls in gaining access to education (such as the provision of sanitation and toilets, bicycles, conditional cash transfers etc.), it explained.

The second component - discretionary funds "will enable States to support and scale effective community based interventions that address localised and context-specific barriers to girls'' access to and participation in quality education."

Equitable & Inclusive education

“AatmaNirbharBharat can happen when all sections of society grow together. In order to ensure equitable & inclusive education, we will work towards making tactical strategies and take concrete steps for providing quality higher education opportunities to all individuals.” Tweets Pokhriyal

  • Accessibility to the instructor
  • Foster viewpoint diversity
  • Facilitating discussions where all students can participate
  • Honor difference and similarities
  • Contract/guidelines
  • Access (for students with disabilities, first generation, etc) of technology and norms
  • Give a variety of ways to respond

UG degree will have multiple exit options

“We will be establishing an Academic Bank of Credit that would digitally store academic credits earned from various recognized HEIs, so that the degrees from an HEI can be awarded taking credits earned into account.” Says Pokhriyal

If one year is completed, a student can get a certificate. If the student completes two years, a diploma would be provided. If the three-year or four-year programme is completed, then the degree will be awarded.In short, the degree system will be flexible to suit the student’s needs and one can exit at any point and still get a certificate.

nep four year degree

There will be academic bank of credit that will be set up through a digital locker. So if a student takes a sabbatical in the third year for a fixed period prescribed by the Higher Education Commission, he/she can directly utilise the past credits stored in the digital locker. Credits can be taken through multi-disciplinary education approach. Students can take major or minor programmes. The credit earned in a minor course can be transferred to the degree programme.


Setting up NRF to develop a research culture

“We will be setting up NRF to develop a research culture. This will be done through suitable incentives, recognition of outstanding research & undertaking initiatives to seed & grow research at State Universities & public institutions where research capability is limited.” Tweets Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

The 470-page NEP document covering early years, primary and secondary as well as higher education “is built on the foundational pillars of access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability”, according to a government statement, and would be aligned with global Sustainable Development Goals.

Among the attention-grabbing proposals in the document presented on the first working day of the new government are a reformation of higher education institutions into three tiers –

Firstly, institutions will focus on world-class research and high-quality teaching, and Secondaly, on teaching across disciplines with an important contribution to research. Thirdly, institutions will be mainly colleges offering high-quality teaching focused on undergraduate education.

Read- LIVE Cabinet meeting on New Education Policy 2020

Rationalised Institutional Architecture

Higher education institutions will be transformed into large, well resourced, vibrant multidisciplinary institutions  providing  high quality teaching, research, and community engagement. The definition of university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive Universities to Teaching-intensive Universities and Autonomous degree-granting Colleges. 

Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.

Promotion of Indian languages

To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP recommends setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI), National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, strengthening of Sanskrit and all language departments in HEIs,  and use mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI  programmes .

Internationalization of education will be facilitated through both institutional collaborations, and student and faculty mobility and allowing entry of top world ranked Universities to open campuses in our country.

Read- NEP 2020- Know School Level reforms

Emphasis to be given on Socially & Economically Disadvantaged

Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students. Special emphasis will be given on socially and economically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities

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