India has one of the largest education systems in the world and the NEP 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st Century. Emphasising on ensuring Universal access to school education and having the mother tongue as the medium of instruction, the NEP stirred a lot of emotions and generated a lot of talk. Two years later, how effective has the policy been? Has it changed the education scenario at all? Let’s see how it has fared!
NEP which was launched on July 29, 2020 was created with the aim to provide increased flexibility and choice of subjects, students were expected to make creative combinations of subjects as per their choice for example science with arts. Focussing on integrating vocational education with mainstream education to uplift skill-based learning has been the goal, Government launched the “Skill India Mission (SIM)” for this. Under the project, more than 20 Central Ministries/Departments are implementing Skill Development Schemes/Programmes to enhance skill levels of millions of students. Furthermore, 2,000 institutions in higher education are set to begin as skill hubs and of this 700 have registered on the common portal of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. A single national online internship platform has also been established in which 69.1 lakh students have registered.
The NEP has prescribed UG education to be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options as well as the setting up of Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI), National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit for an increased interest in mother tongues and local languages. The promotion of Indian languages lies at the core of this policy and many steps have been taken towards this measure, All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has approved 19 engineering colleges to impart courses in six Indian languages in the academic year 2021-22 namely Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
One of the core plans of the NEP was to change the 10+2 structure of school curricula and replace it with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has started work on the formulation of the National Curricular Framework for School Education (NCFSE).
In the post pandemic world, Online and distant education has been given deliberate consideration and the NEP further includes reforms for open and distance education, online and digital education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has already notified regulations and 59 HEIs now offer 351 full-fledged online programmes and 85 HEIs offer Online Distance Learning (ODL) programmes. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has made 40% of its courses online as well! Along with this the NEP offers scope for internationalisation of education, furthering better opportunities to interact with the global market and industry professionals from around the world.
At the school level, government has introduced several reforms in NEP to promote creative thinking and 21st century skills among learners through art-integrated education. Other initiatives such as Nipun Bharat– guidelines for National Mission for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy were launched in July5, 2021 and a new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) was set up.
The NEP overall has made it possible to make teaching and learning more vibrant, inclusive, flexible and multi-disciplinary. With proper implementation, this policy is effectively on the way to make India the next go to education destination!