Amidst the ongoing pandemic, on July 29, 2020, the Modi led BJP Government introduced a much-awaited New Education Policy, 2020. The Policy is a highly comprehensive document that encompasses a plethora of reforms to be brought about in the three-decades-old Indian Education System. From the exam pattern to the curriculum structure to the assessment criteria, this new policy aims to transform the entire Indian educational set-up into a global multi-disciplinary system.
We have numerous complaints from the current education system such as its rigidity, irrelevancy, insularity, lack of practical application, unemployment of educated youth, etc. The NEP, 2020 strives to address these issues and find a solution by way of a variety of provisions. So here’s a comparative analysis of the existing and the new education policy based on several grounds –
10+ 2 school education set-up
5+3+3+4 school education structureColumn 3 Value
Existence of water-tight science, commerce, and arts streams
Free and flexible, mix-match learning of all three streams based on interest of the student
Rigid demarcation of academic and non-academic subjects
A uniform system treating all subjects at par with each other
Uniform medium of instruction in all the classes of school
Usage of mother-tongue till class 5
Exam-oriented and marks-based system
System with a practical exam pattern and assessment criteria
3 years undergraduate course
Introduction of a 4 year undergraduate course including a research-based final year
No concept of vocational training in schools
Provision of vocational training from class 6 onwards
Concentrates more on bookish and not learning
Facilitates development of practical, research-based learning skills
School structure- One of the striking features of the NEP 2020 is that the 10+2 pattern of schooling in India will now be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 formula. The 10+2 structure as per the current policy has a uniform phase-wise curriculum for students of class 1 to 10. However, the same will not continue because a slightly complex 5+3+3+4 formula of schooling structure has been proposed for children aged 3 to 8 years, 8 to 11 years, 11 to 14 years, and 14 to 18 years respectively. Under the above scheme, a new curriculum will be designed for children aged 3 to 6 years studying in pre-schools or Anganwadi. It will be a strategically formulated uniform, discovery, and experiential-based learning system suiting the needs of younger children until 8 years of age. It will assist them to achieve the basics of literacy and numerical accuracy. Further, from class 3rd to 5th will be the preparatory school for children aged 8 to 11 years. Next will be middle schooling from classes 6th to 8th for children of 11 to 14 years. It will involve an introduction and overview of various subjects without restrictions on subjects. Now the last stage is for children aging 14 to 18 years studying in classes 9th to 12th which will take a multidisciplinary approach excluding the concept of separate science, commerce, and arts streams.
Subject combination – Unlike the current education policy, under the new NEP, 2020 students have the liberty to choose and pursue a combination of subjects. There will be no water-tight compartments of science, commerce, and arts streams. It resolves the issue of insularity by allowing students to mix and match subjects like psychology and maths, chemistry and accountancy, history and botany.
Demarcation of academic and non-academic subjects – The NEP, 2020 is an attempt to get away with the separation of academic, co-curricular, extra-curricular, and vocational subjects designed by the current policy. There is a stigma attached to the non-academic subjects making students hesitant to pursue them despite their interests in those subjects. After the implementation of this new education policy, there will be no rigid demarcation of extra-curricular, vocational, and academic subjects. All subjects including music, sports, fine arts, etc will be treated at par with academic subjects and taught in all schools.
The medium of instruction- The medium of instruction in schools has been uniform throughout all classes under the current system. This system hinders the learning of kids who are at a tender age if their mother tongue is not the same as the medium of instruction used by the school. To overcome this issue and to facilitate easy understanding, the NEP, 2020 has brought about reform. Henceforth, the mother tongue will be used as a medium of instruction till class 5 to the extent possible. However, this reform may not be feasible to implement in schools of cosmopolitan regions like Delhi.
Exam pattern and assessment criteria – Most of us find the exam-centric education system flawed. Addressing this, a drastic reform has been proposed by the NEP, 2020 in the pattern of the exam including that of board exams. The modular exams may be held twice a year. The importance of board exams has been reduced and now it would aim at testing the knowledge of students and dissuade them
Duration of undergraduate course – The decades-old three-year undergraduate course will now be replaced by a four-year undergraduate course in many colleges to foster the needs of research-oriented students. Colleges will have the option of choosing between the three and the four-year pattern. The final year of the four-year program would be dedicated to research. A national research foundation will also be created to encourage budding researchers and develop research potential across higher education.
Vocational training – Under the current policy, vocational training is insignificant in the schooling years and gains importance only in higher education. The NEP, 2020 strives to introduce vocational training from class 6 onwards wherein there will be a provision of internship with local craftsmen or tradespersons like carpenter, electrician, tailor, etc from a tender age. This will make every student master a skill by the time they complete their schooling.
Rational and project-based learning – The overall agenda of the NEP, 2020 is to divert the focus from bookish learning and move towards a more practical and rational form of education. This was lacking in the current policy that concentrated more on subjective exams and rot learning. The new policy has provisions to develop scientific temper and mathematical thinking of students from 3 to 18 years of age by including subjects like coding and reasoning in the curriculum. Students would be taught problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and project-based learning since the beginning of their school life.
Miscellaneous provisions –
Some of the significant reforms that will take place are the expansion of the Right to education that makes it a mandate for government schools to impart free and compulsory education to children will now be for children from 3 to 18 years of age. To boost holistic education, the NEP, 2020 proposes the introduction of subjects like humanities and arts in higher education institutions offering science courses like the IITs and vice versa by the year 2040. Provisions regarding the development of disabled students and girl children have also been incorporated. Furthermore, it aims at doubling the gross enrolment ratio in the higher educational institutions by the year 2035.
The 21st century is a new world wherein there’s cut-throat competition for every single job as well as a college seat. It’s a rat race and no one knows where they’ll land up at the end of this race. The NEP, 2020 has introduced a fair, practical, and multidisciplinary system intending to overcome the flaws of the current education system. Several welcoming