NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL POLICY, 2020 AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19
Author: Gaurang Takkar, I year of B.A.,LL.B. from Army Institute of Law, Mohali
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”(1)
Education is the building block of Comprehensive development of an Individual which entails the growth of Social, Economic, Political, Cultural and various other arenas of Human Intellect. There is a direct relationship between Education and National Emergence. Human Capital refers to the stock of Education , Health and Income of an individual etc and Investment in these areas directly result in country’s development .
India’s Education policy has a long history and if we talk about policies of Post-Independent era , there are 3 major educational policies which were introduced including the National Educational Policy , 2020.
NEP, 1968:- The first was introduced in 1968 and Kothari Commission was set up for that matter under the chairmanship of D.S. Kothari(2).It was entrusted with the task of dealing with all aspects and sectors of education and to advise the Government on the evolution of a National System of Education and as a result , NEP,1968 was formulated. Some of the highlights of this policy include:-
Three Language Formula (which was highly criticized by people)
Suggestion of Compulsory education for students of age 6 – 14
Recommended 6% of GDP to be spent on Education
NEP, 1986:- The GOI initiated the National Policy on Education in 1986. Its ultimate objective was to provide education to all sections of society, with a particular stress on scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and women, who were deprived of educational opportunities for a long time. Some highlights of Policy include:-
Focus on Primary Education
Focus on establishment of open universities like IGNOU etc.
Education to rural people
Recommending a shift to Information Technology for cognitive development
NEP, 2020:- This is the most recent policy of GOI which was formulated under the chairmanship of K.Kasturirangan and was introduced in 2020 . Key highlights include :-
Aim is to make India a “Global Knowledge Superpower”
100% Gross Enrolment Ratio in school education by 2030
Universalisation of education
Shift from old 10+2 system to a new system of 5+3+3+4
Stress on MULTIDISCIPLINARY approach
This recent policy was to be implemented in 2020 itself but in the same year, The whole world was struck by a Pandemic which originated from Wuhan city of China which lies in Hubei province . It spread over the world in a very short span and India was definitely no exception. This led to a delay in implementation of this Policy which had strength to change the Indian education System almost entirely affecting Primary, Secondary and even Graduation level. It was a challenge to implement this Policy at the time of Online education but then also, This Policy started being implemented from session 2021-22 slowly and steadily. Karnataka became the first city to implement this New Education Policy.
Every Policy comes with its own sets of merits and demerits . This policy is a revolutionary one as it takes into consideration many of the problems which existed in earlier educational models and tried rectifying it. For example , the 3 language formula which was proposed earlier in 1968 policy and was highly criticised for having Hindi as a mandatory language , has now been changed to a more flexible one and is now left on state authority to decide what to be done in this regard. Earlier after class 10th , Students were bound to choose btw only 3 major streams for their secondary education which eventually left them with minimal career opportunities . But with NEP , 2020, Students are given a free hand on choosing their subject combination they are willing to study like Physics + Eco together OR Geography + Biology together etc. The concept of Vocational training is included in the curriculum whereby students will be experiencing internship like exposure from class 6th onwards through a 10-days No Bag schooling . Students will pay visits to nearby shops and markets or pharmacists where they will observe the professionals and get motivated. The Advantage of this will be the enhancement of social status of the people like carpenters , mechanics which as of now are seen with an eye of inferiority . There has also been a decision to increase spending of the government on Education to 6 % which is at present btw 3 – 4% .
Besides having many advantages , this policy has a handful of loopholes and pitfall. The policy has much broad and exaggerated targets . Some examples are - achieving a 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) By 2030 from 27.1% in 2019-2020 AND a jump from present 3-4% GDP spent on education to a spending of 6% . The reason for it being an over-expected target is that In 1968 policy itself , 6% was kept as a target expenditure which we are not able to achieve even in 2021. Other major limitation is regard to teaching students in Local lang till class 5th (Although its not made mandatory) but teaching for example in Hindi till 5th class and making a transition to English for Coding in 6th class can be a huge challenge and therefore the idea seems glim . This new policy provides many perks to SC,ST and OBC community but neglects the lower - Income General Category . The idea of teaching coding has its own set of problems . These include availability of skilled teachers which can make this subject an interesting one for students and Other is Affordability . Coding is a skill and any skill needs constant practice and diligence to show some results in that arena . Majority of people will not be in a position to afford for their children, a perfect coding setup which could hinder their education . In times of Covid-19, many people have lost their jobs and are earning very less. These expenditures can put them in lot of debt and financial problem. Already they have spent a lot on their online classes. Any more burden can cause counterproductive results.
This Policy is a very optimistic one and can be very beneficial for the country’s overall development but needs certain altercations and solutions so that it can be made more useful and friendly and people can embrace it with open arms. One of the important thing that can be done is to announce this as a For-Profit System and not Not-For profit system. This will result in investments towards the educational sector of society and the expenditure will increase in this arena . Instead of teaching students in their local lang till class 5th, A Blend of language can be more helpful as English will not be an alien language for them when they enter in their Middle stage (6th-8th). Subsiding Digital devices for educational purpose can help a lot . Focus should also be given on General Lower Income class up to a certain level . Teachers should be trained on new methods of teaching and how they can make the subject interesting for students .
The Implementation process is a long one and its not going to be easy for the country . Although its quiet early to predict results , if this policy is implemented in an efficient way with certain changes , it can truly change the shape of educational system of the country and can make India an educational hub . These Pandemic times are challenging but should not be a hindrance in the effective Implementation of this policy because:-
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.”(3)