The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020: Demystifying and Deconstructing
Aditi Misra, a senior academician and Principal & Director of DPS Gurugram shares her views on the New Education Policy that will now on re-define the Indian Education system.
The New Education Policy is ready, and it is a highly positive step in the right direction. No one at any level should have any misgivings or any worries about what it means, implies or stands for. I will try and deconstruct a few pertinent pointers over a two-article series. PART 1.
5+3+3+4 Model & Early Education Enhancement
The NEP has changed the pattern of 10 +2 which was under the ambit of CBSE into a new 5+3+3+4 structure, making it fifteen years after class I. The years preceding class I have also been brought under the umbrella of NCERT and CBSE.
The step is very positive because the early childhood care and education was quite ambiguous, with schools not having any framework or pattern to follow.
One of the most optimal aims is to construct a proper framework in the domains of physical and motor development, cognitive development, social, emotional, ethical, cultural and artistic development within the early years of education.
In these early years, there is a plan to strengthen the Anganwaadis and all the Bal Bhavans to teach children the rich traditions & heritage of India, the folklore, folk tales and traditional games which in their way become the best teaching tools for children up to the age of 7. So from age 3 to age 7, i.e. Pre Nursery, Nursery, Prep, I and II come under the first 5 years.
The planning and implementation of the ECCE, i.e. Early Childhood Care and Education will be carried out jointly by the Ministry of Education, Ministry for Women and Child Development, Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, Ministry for Travel Affairs. This whole collaboration is going to be quite a winner in terms of bringing out the best kind of plan for the early years.
Possibly the most positive item within the NEP is the reiteration on the emphasis on learning outcomes and not just the content. The aim of education, therefore finally also goes beyond content knowledge to character building and honing of 21st-century skills, especially those of communication, collaboration, creative thinking and critical thinking. It means the deduction of curricular content and enhancing of essential learning and critical thinking.
In its thrust on experiential learning, there is a strong emphasis on Art Integration in all the subjects across from class I to class XII and integration of Sports Education as well. The pedagogy will emphasize on storytelling, anecdotes and therefore classrooms transactions shifts to competency-based teaching and learning and not so much learning content.
There will also be no hard separations between what was existing right now – vocational academic or the demarcation between Humanities, Commerce and Science or the strong the separation between curricular and co-curricular and academic.
There is a plan to give flexibility to the students to study any subjects that they please at the +4 stage as well as in incorporating Physical Education, Arts and Vocational Studies within the school curriculum.
Vocational Inclusions & Bagless Days
Perhaps, the most revolutionary and exciting idea has been to incorporate vocational education across all classes from class I to class XI to let the children develop some professional training along with academic excellence. So, there is a hope that by 2025 almost 50 per cent of learners will get exposure to vocational education. In any academic calendar year, there will be a 10-day internship with vocational experts. The period shall be considered as ‘Bagless’ days.
There will also be online vocational courses available for those who wish to pursue these and perhaps the last and the most forward-thinking idea has been of to introduce adult education and the concept of lifelong learning wherein schools, colleges and other institutions would be open after their working hours for adults who wish to continue their education, who wish to enhance their skills or who want to study a little more.
Another a unique feature of the NEP is the concept of multi-lingual, where the medium of instruction can be the mother tongue or local language till class V or possibly in class VIII. There is also a provision of publishing high-quality textbooks in the regional languages as well.
In the cosmopolitan cities, where there would be children, hailing from different states or even countries in the same class, hence would not be possible to pick up a local language in such cases the prerogative remains with the school. But within the states, if a child wishes to be taught Science or Social Sciences in the local language, that provision has now been made available.
The NEP also talks about building literacy numeracy which is a very urgent necessity, not just through schools but through DIKSHA portal, through peer tutoring, volunteer activities, expansion of public libraries and through the community. It also seeks to curtail dropout rates, track students and improve school infrastructure.
WATCH THIS SPACE: Aditi Misra’s opinion on the New Education Policy will continue in the second part of the series. She is a revered academician with an inspiring experience of over three decades as a teacher, administrator, policymaker and mentor for students as well as teachers.