The National Education Policy 2020 was launched on 29th July’2020 as an initiative to drive the vision of 21st-century education for all Indian learners. It is a visionary step to revamp several aspects of the existing Indian education structure. And the policy (along with national curriculum framework for foundational stage) aims at creating a system that aligns new-age learning with the values of the Indian education structure.
In the words of India’s Education Minister, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, NEP is a guiding philosophy that will bring about the much-needed change within the Indian education system. This policy aims at transforming the teaching and learning processes (and NCF education) across the nation. And this will fulfill the needs of new-age learning within the mainstream structure of our Indian educational design.
Let’s explore more about this recent education policy.
Prominent Features of NEP 2020
New School Structure-
The recent Education policy’s point number 4, i.e. ‘Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools’ defines the new structure as follows:
Our previous design of 10+2 will now be replaced with 5+3+3+2. This means that the preschool years will now be a part of the regular school curriculum under the national curriculum framework for foundational stage.
- The initial 5 years include preschool education along with grades 1 and 2. The second stage (preparatory) is for grades 3 to 5. And the third stage i.e. the middle school with grades 6-8 will be followed by high school grades 9 to 12. These are further divided into two phases 9 and 10 in the first one. And 11 and 12 in the second one.
The next step that the policy states is regarding the focus on experiential learning. And increasing the flexibility of subject choice for learners. The curricula will enhance the student’s learning by removing the separation between varied streams like Science, Arts, etc.
- The idea of skill-building will be envisioned by integrating academic and vocational streams at the school level.
- This policy also aims at improving infrastructure through digital classrooms and online teaching.
Unfortunately, our students already battle with academic stress and load. In 2019, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh accounted for almost 44% of the total student suicides in the country. And as of 2020, 8.2% of Indian students committed suicide.
The much-awaited change (after the previous NCFFS) to reduce the burden of academics and school textbooks is also a part of the new policy. According to the plan, ‘National Curricular Framework for School Education’ will prepare a comprehensive framework along with high-quality textbooks. The state flavor and material will be preserved by states through their self-created textbooks and self-created curricula.
- The idea of reducing the overall curriculum load is also complemented by preparing textbooks in regional languages.
The power of multilingualism is globally acknowledged for its surprising advantages. We have more than 5000 languages spoken around the globe. This means that the idea of global education revolves around the linguistic abilities of 21st-century learners.
- In the new education policy, students will be given the advantage of learning in enriched home/mother/regional/local languages till grade 5 (also up to grade 8).
- To strengthen the three-language formula, the choice of two languages will be up to the states or students (excluding the English language). This will resolve the controversy of this formula in the non-Hindi Speaking Indian states.
Clearly, the new education policy promises a lot of changes and a line-up of visionary initiatives. However, the implementation part requires a change in the existing NCF 2005 (NCF full form- National Curriculum Framework)
When will NCF 2023 be Implemented?
Till date, we have witnessed four major revisions in the NCF. And the latest (after NCF 2005) is now in the finalizing stage of another major revision. Recently in April’23, the government released a pre-draft created by a committee headed under the former ISRO Chief, Mr. K Kasturirangan.
The government is open to suggestions from the stakeholders, students, and academicians. And the pre-draft (for NCF 2023) is available at the official website of the Indian Ministry of Education.
Let’s take you through the main aspects covered in this proposed pre-draft.
New Proposals: Draft National Curriculum Framework (NCF)?
The structure of the proposed draft includes the following chapters segregated under broad headers:
- Approach– The aims, curricula, school stages, areas of education, pedagogy, content, and assessment across all stages, etc.
- School Subjects/Areas- Foundation, stage, Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Arts, Interdisciplinary areas, Vocational, Physical, and Secondary stages (grades 11 and 12).
- Cross-cutting themes– Values, Inclusion, Guidance, Counselling, Environment, ICT, Rootedness in India.
- School Culture and Processes– Culture and Processes
- Creating a supportive Ecosystem– Ensuring an appropriate environment for learning, Pupil-Teacher ratio, Teacher empowerment, and Role of Academic and Administrative Functionaries.
As of now, the government plans to introduce the new textbooks from the next year onwards.
Vocational Education & Skill-Building Through NPE 2020
Despite many efforts, employability in Indian youth is a huge barrier to their career prospects and aspirations. India has barely managed to reach a mark of 50.3% employability by the year 2023, which was only 45.6% back in the year 2018.
Most academicians are hopeful about the new policy to revamp the existing patterns of vocational education and skill-based learning. The government has taken some crucial steps to improve employability and meet the aspirational goals for 21st– century students.
Here’s a gist of the prospective goals of NPE 2020 in this regard:
- By the year 2025, 50% of the students at the school or higher level shall be exposed to vocational education.
- Integration of vocation education within the mainstream system (in phases).
- To remove the social status hierarchy associated with vocational studies.
- Each student to learn at least one vocation (or more).
- Exposure to vocational education will be given right from the middle school stages.
- Varied models of vocational learning will be implemented in higher education institutions including opportunities like apprenticeship.
How will the New NCF Education Revamp Our Traditional Designs?
Unlike the typical selection of subjects, National Curriculum Framework NCF 2023 promises to broaden the subject choices in classes 11 and 12. Students will study 16 courses that will be segregated under 8 curricular areas. These areas are defined as:
- Mathematics & Computing
- Vocational Education
- Physical Education
- Social Science
- Inter-disciplinary Areas
- A semester system is proposed at the class 12 level.
- Students will have the option to choose subjects over and above any set combination. For example, students who take up Science subjects will also be able to choose subjects like Political Science or History.
Number of Exams-
- The new exam system proposes board exams to be cleared in order to prove mastery in subjects studied in classes 9 and 10.
- The pre-draft also proposes ‘Modular Board Examinations’ instead of single year-end exams. The new system will have board exams twice a year. And the scores in both classes 10 and 12 will be based on the overall performance in two years (or at least board exams starting from classes 9 and 11).
Subject Wise Content Proposal –
Classes 6-8 Social Science to have the following content segregation:
- Local – 20%
- National – 30%
- Regional – 30%
- Global – 30%
Classes 9 and onwards will have History, Political Science, Economic Life, and Geography as separate units.
Most of the proposals in the NPE 2020 and the proposed national curriculum framework (NCF) 2023 seem to be quite visionary and thoughtful. However, the effectiveness of the proposed initiatives mostly lies in the hands of the stakeholders. We are the home to one of the world’s largest youth populations. But unfortunately, our nation still stands at a dismal rate of 50% employability. These new initiatives certainly have the potential to drive the change that we need in the upcoming years. But to find the exact impact of the new implementations, we will have to wait for another academic year till these changes are fully implemented!
Frequently Asked Questions
- When NCF 2023 will be implemented?
The pre-draft for NCF is now open for feedback before its implementation that is planned in the next academic year.
- What does the new draft national curriculum framework (NCF) propose?
The NCF national curriculum framework proposes the following changes to revamp our existing educational designs:
- For students in 9th and 10th 16 courses will be categorized under eight curricular areas.
- Curricular areas are Humanities (including languages), Physical Education, Mathematics & Computing, Social Science, Vocational Education, Science, Arts, and Inter-Disciplinary Areas.
- Semester system in class 12.
- Modular Board Examinations
- What are the goals of NPE 2020?
NPE 2020 aims to address the issues of student drop-out rates, extend educational opportunities to the disabled population, and bridge the gap between the varied classes.
- Was there a national curriculum framework 2020?
The Indian government launched the NPE with a plan to devise 4 ncffs (ncf national curriculum framework). The draft for the new framework is completed recently in 2023.
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