New Education Policy 2020 by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (renamed: Ministry of Education) has been announced on 29 July 2020. The announcement was commenced by Union Ministers for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) and Human Resource Development (HRD), Prakash Javadekar and Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ respectively. They were joined by Amit Khare and Anita Karwal, both Education Secretaries.
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the subsequent lockdown is responsible for a delayed academic session in the schools this year. Although, it has been worked up to open the academic session from September-October 2020.
I am proud to share that #NEP2020 will ensure universal access to high-quality Early Childhood Care & #Education across India.— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 29, 2020
We will focus on developing social capacities, sensitivity, good behaviour, ethics, teamwork & cooperation among children through a joyful pedagogy. pic.twitter.com/obXXbUAjWd
#NEP2020— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 29, 2020
Good news for teachers!
Teachers will be recruited through robust and transparent processes. Promotions will be merit-based, and a mechanism will be developed for multi-source periodic performance appraisals. pic.twitter.com/VoiLtszTZ3
Talking about the New Education Policy 2020, here are major reforms for school education and other suggested improvements for school and higher education that the leaders announced:
#NEP2020— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) July 29, 2020
Under National Education Policy 2020, cash-rich content will be reduced to its core essentials, and make space for critical thinking, holistic, enquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning. pic.twitter.com/sSqId2wbUx
We spoke to some of the top educationists of the country to bring out the crux of the policy draft and find out their personal opinions about the NEP 2020. Excerpts:
Lt Col A Sekhar, Soldier Educationist
Challenges to be faced:
The most serious of concerns for us, as educators/school leaders working at the ground level, are:
Dr. Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School
My top three takeaways from this are:
Mr. Vishnu Karthik, Director, The Heritage Group of Schools
I’m pleasantly surprised! The NEP clearly acknowledges the need to embrace output focused reform rather than input focused reforms. The devil is in the details, but the new NEP has touched upon some key levers which will have a high impact on student learning levels. One is, of course, bringing on ECCE into NCF. Another is the decision to reduce the curriculum into the core. This will provide significant opportunity to focus on critical skills and capacities and would be gateway reform on curriculum and assessments. What is heartening is to see many reforms focused on assessments especially on National Assessment Centre and tracking of student progress on learning outcomes. These will bring in much-needed attention and accountability on learning progress.
Dr. Swati Popat Vats, President, Early Childhood Association & Association for Primary Education and Research
It’s a proud moment for our country that after 34 years, our new National Education Policy is released. We may dissect it all we want, but let's start by congratulating the government and the committee that worked hard on ensuring that vision of millions of Indian educators and policymakers is developed for the larger enhancement of education of our country. Also, an important move is to rename the Ministry of HRD to the Ministry of Education (MoE). The new policy is an integrated yet flexible approach to education but the ‘devil’ will, of course, be in the details!
“The National Education Policy 2019 envisions an India centred education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high-quality education to all.”
1. Most importantly, the commitment of ECCE to children from age 3 onwards has been honoured in the new education policy.
2. ECE for all by 2030, this is worth applauding and achievable only with the cooperation of all state governments.
3. A national curriculum framework for ECCE is laudable, but the devil here will be how much say each state will have in this as it is imperative that a common guideline and goal should be drafted and state governments should not have the power to deviate from these essentials. As it is not fair for young children in different states to get a differing head start in life.
4. A preparatory class called ‘Balvatika’ in Anganwadis for 4 to 5-year-old children? Preparatory for what? Will they not follow the foundational age group of 3 to 8 years?
5. A welcome initiative is the National Foundation of Literacy and Numeracy Mission. We hope that literacy would Include first and second languages. And an earnest hope that numeracy designed by the foundation should be found in the curriculum and textbooks used by schools
6. The Policy takes cognizance of the differences in the development of cognitive abilities in children. The flexibility in the first five years will enable equalising of the multiple cognitive abilities of children.
7. 4 years integrated B.Ed degree by 2030, but what about ECE? Still no guidelines or a common course for ECE teachers!
8. A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions. Will this include ECE teacher courses?
9. 6% GDP on education is a welcome move, how much on ECE? This needs to be identified too.
10. ‘Parakh’, the National assessment centre, we sincerely hope that they also define assessment for early years so that developmental delays and learning lags can be identified and rectified early on.
11. It takes a village to raise a child, and the village identified in this policy for ECE is jointly the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs. How this village works together will decide the success of ECE in this country.
12. NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8. A welcome move, ECA is hopeful that states will ensure the implementation of the same and thus remove the traditional, formal, stressful curriculums being followed by many preschools. The policy advocates that children of ages 3-8 have access to flexible, multifaceted, multilevel, play-based, activity-based, and discovery-based education. How this will be implemented and assured is going to be work in progress.
13. ECCE will be delivered through a significantly expanded and strengthened system of institutions including Anganwadis and preschools that will have teachers and Anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum – the question is what will this training comprise of? This needs to be identified at the earliest else different states will have different standards and quality of ECE teachers.
14. Mother tongue is a good move but difficult to implement. In cities where multiple language children are in the same class, which language will the teacher teach in?
15. Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the State School Standards Authority (SSSA) will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF), will this include ECE?
16. A single pedagogical unit called the “Foundational Stage." It is necessary, therefore, to develop and establish such an integrated foundational curricular and pedagogical framework, and corresponding teacher preparation, for this critical Foundational Stage of a child’s development. How schools will work this out and train already existing teachers in this will be the struggle? Also, this needs to be part of ECCE teacher training programs, and other teacher training programs.
17. Also, does it mean that exiting private standalone preschools can now extend to grade 2?
18. A very heartening inclusion is that all the school children will undergo regular health check-ups and health cards will be issued. We hope this will include ECE children, too.
19. A good initiative for the health of young children is the inclusion of an energizing breakfast in addition to midday meals.
Overall the new education policy is a great vision to change the educational landscape in this country and it vitalises education by ensuring that ECE becomes the starting point of education for all children.
Mr. Ashok Pandey, Director, Ahlcon Public and International Schools
The NEP, which has seen the light of the day after 35 years, makes a refreshing and encouraging read.
Mr. Kanak Gupta, Director, Seth MR Jaipuria Schools
IT'S ABOUT TIME! God knows how many 'expert' panel discussions we've done on the drafts, at least there's some movement now. Does it deliver? Well.
Congratulations, we are under 'Ministry of Education' now Small but good change!
Ms Divya Lal, Managing Director, Fliplearn Education Pvt. Ltd.
The New Education Policy is a refreshing shift and a bold corrective action in our approach to education in India and we welcome it whole-heartedly. Technology will now play a much bigger role not just in planning and administration, but pedagogy, content, tutelage and assessment; which is both futuristic and transformative, to say the least. The increased focus on technology, digital empowerment of schools will encourage institutions to upgrade their technology infrastructure and offerings to more virtual and seamlessly integrated platforms. The virtual platforms/labs will also bring learning alive for students with an emphasis on visual and experiential components than Rote learning. With reduced insularity and greater freedom in students selecting their subjects of choice, the focus will return to holistic learning of all subjects, rather than a bent towards Maths and Sciences. All-in-all, the new policy is a great step in the right direction and we look forward to the new face of education in India.
Mr. Matthew Raggett, Educationist, Writer, Former Headmaster, The Doon School
NEP contains many proposals that are progressive in their intentions and many good schools in the country that have been working towards them for years. For some schools, this has meant a shift in pedagogy from rote delivery to the planning of tasks and experiences through which their students learn. For other schools, it has meant a move towards the international examination boards and a curriculum that includes inquiry-based learning.
For some teachers, it has meant relearning an entire approach to their work. Planning is no longer about which page in the textbook would be done today, it is about collaborative, backward planning from the objectives that will guarantee every child the same opportunity to learn.
If India really is to have an education system by 2040 that is second to none, there are things that will have to change within the educational landscape, along with the political and social landscape. Long-lasting change cannot come from schools alone when they are a part of a larger system that also needs to change.
While recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student is a worthy goal, the idea that this can be done by sensitizing teachers, as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres, means changing people hearts and minds; a lot easier said than done.
To have no hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams, etc. in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies among, and silos between different areas of learning is another well-intentioned aim that will require a generation of teachers, parents, universities and employers to abandon their own hierarchies and biases.
For ethics and human & Constitutional values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, the spirit of service, respect for public property, scientific temper, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice to be developed in schools, our students will have to be able to look around and see these being taken seriously in every area of civil life and society.
To move the focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that encourages today’s ‘coaching culture will have an enormous impact on the quality of learning and understanding developed in schools, but to follow it up by a Common Entrance Exam for admission to HEIs will undermine that effort.
I think that the NEP will provide a much-needed opportunity for us to look at where we are and to reflect on where we want to be. The work of moving to that destination with our schools by 2040 is going to be a challenge that anyone invested in education is willing to take on, but not one that everyone in schools is necessarily equipped, qualified or able to take on at the moment.
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