With the onset of 2020, the Indian Government has sought to replace the 34 years old National Policy on Education which had been implemented in 1986 with the New Education Policy with the vision to broaden the scope and horizon of education within the country. The union cabinet gave its due approval for this New Education Policy which has sought to make ground-breaking changes and reforms within the higher education sector in India which even included the methodology for teaching which has been used. A few of the primary changes brought about by this New Education Policy are the following:
Further the education industry in India is governed under the UGC (The University Grants Commission), AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and the NCTE (The National Council for Teacher Education). Which have been defined below:-
The NEP has expanded the age groups of 6-14 years of mandatory education to 3-18 years of mandatory education now. It has basically established three years of pre-schooling from the ages of 3 till 6 under the new curriculum. Further the new system shall now have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi or pre-schooling.
There exists a large amount of emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and the 10+2 structure of school curriculum is now to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively, making it more viable for foreign students as well.
The NEP also lays much needed emphasis on the students’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction even as it sticks to the ‘three language formula’ while also mandating that no language would be imposed on anyone, whatsoever. The NEP only recommends the mother tongue as medium of instruction without making is mandatory.
This feature comes from the premise that children, in most cases, learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their home language than any other language.
The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) shall now be established as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education system in India, excluding medical and legal education. The public and private higher education institutions shall now be governed by the same set of norms for the regulation, accreditation and academic standards as well.
The Government has planned to phase out the affiliation of colleges in 15 years along with a stage-wise mechanism for granting graded autonomy to colleges and universities.
Under the NEP 2020, there exists no specific and rigid separation between the subjects taught within the arts, science and the commerce courses as such. Further there will also not be a drastic separation between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams etc. The students re now free to select subjects of their liking across the streams as well and the vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade while also including internships for making practical education also available.
Under the NEP, all undergraduate degrees will either be for a duration of 3 or 4 years in total along with multiple options for exits as well. The colleges will be mandated to provide a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor's degree after a 3-year programme as well.
The Government is also set to establish an Academic Bank of Credit for digitally storing all academic credits earned from the different HEIs so that these can be further transferred and counted towards as the final degree.
Further the NEP, 2020 aims at attracting a diverse pool of foreign nationals into the country who aim to seek high quality higher education. The process of the course streamlining and the technology now available has made it more attractive for foreign institutes to want to invest in programmes held under Indian universities.
The benefits accrued to such foreign universities can be summarised below:
The NEP looks forward to enact all programs which boost the process of India become more self-reliant in every sector which has to begin with the most important sector for such a development which is the education sector. The NEP gives primary importance to the development of newer and more practical skills which are enumerated within sections 3, 4 and 7 of school education along with article 10.8 of this NEP policy which only makes it more attractive for students abroad to want to seek the benefits of such higher quality education. The aim is to induce the practicality of skill development from the early stages of school in order to empower every child in one vocational skill or the other so as to secure his or her future in every possible way. Further the NEP also aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio within the higher education sector by making sure that vocational education makes a leap from a mere 26.3% in 2018 to a minimum of 50% by the year 20135. For this purpose, a National Committee for the integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE) will also be established.
The NEP, in section 17, focusses hard on the promotion of cultural heritage and the increase of GER in Higher Education in order to inspire the youth to pursue this more avidly. The goal is again to create a much larger pool of challenge and to ensure that no resource goes to waste as far as skill development and progress is concerned. This in turn will lead to the boost in the national economy very directly through the implementation of technological avenues and digital solutions for faster problem solving ability. Furthermore, such a diverse system for the provision of education is more likely to make India the ideal hub for foreign students to resort to when it comes to finishing their higher education. This policy enables many more flexibilities which were not permitted earlier and are similar to those followed under various European and American educational institutes. The NEP enables the promotion of the socio-economic development of the economy this way since any revamping of the education sector leads to a better societal structure with higher thinking groups of individuals. The stress again remains on entrepreneurship since it is evident that newer business is the only way to catapult the much needed corporate sector and encourage new talent.
One of the most talked about features of the NEP is its vision to attract foreign nationals into the country for seeking education. This internationalisation of higher education is sought with the aim of establishing India as the fore-runner amongst the knowledge hubs of the world. The policy gives more opportunities of research collaborations along with several international student exchange programmes through organized efforts and team work with the universities. Further there will be an exchange of credits which shall be allowed between the foreign universities and the home universities while awarding any diploma or degree according to the rules given under this policy. This in turn, is also set to increase international business opportunities not just within the education sector but in every other sector since an amalgamation and commonality in education gives opportunities to a large number of opportunities for both the Indian as well as the foreign students.
This current crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic along with the need to digitize India completely is one of the primary motives behind the creation of digital libraries, digital content, digital pedagogy as well as the digitization within classrooms, the online teachings and the learning of new languages. There are specified sections within the NEP which provide in detail all the guidelines for such digitization of the infrastructure and the boost of digital content. This makes the policy more favourable towards attracting foreign attention and the interest of students from other nations in wanting to invest in India for higher education.
There now exists a layered accreditation system for all on campus and any online distance learning, infrastructure for high quality degree granted by institutes and universities, autonomy to the faculty and institutes which has all been enumerated under this NEP for the New India. This layered Accreditation system shall differentiate between a degree granting stand-alone college and a wholesome University as well. This is akin to most of the education providers from noteworthy foreign institutions as well. Further, the affiliation system has been decided to be stopped and the teaching and research are the two main aspects within all institutes. Such an Accreditation should be able to set standards in the quality of infrastructure, faculty, technology, GER and the research facilities overall.
The NEP has sought to introduce several training manuals for teachers, in order to enable them to become more technologically sound to teach via newer and faster means. There has also been a bid for a greater pay-scale for teachers in order to attract the bet possible educators for the country’s youth. The other primary development is the introduction of courses in education through B.Ed and a mandatory certified education in teaching pedagogy during the ph.D enrolment for aspiring professors.