NEP 2020: Radical Reform in the Indian Educational System

NEP-2020 paves the way for student-centric learning.
Keywords: Education | NEP | Creativity | Learning | Evaluation |Examination | Grading | Coaching | Vocational | Progressive | Institution | Radical Reforms
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The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 document has been widely applauded by all sections of the intelligentsia. The main emphasis of NEP-2020 is to bring in: “quality in education,” unlike the previous policies that focussed on “access and equity”. The changes made in this new policy, need a deliberation.  There is ample scope for the high aspirations to the “quality in education” to be fulfilled through this NEP-2020 policy that envisages syllabus reduction i.e.  “Reduction in curriculum to core concepts.” 

For years  there has been a kind of ‘a priori’ syllabus, designed by the textbook writers (in all subjects, especially in the state government-run schools) that has to be completed faithfully during the academic year, and has taken a toll on creative activities within the class. This kind of loaded syllabus and obsessive concerns over its completion, never did give scope to the teacher to tap the creative/critical/innovative thinking talents of students.  

The main emphasis of NEP-2020 is to bring in: “quality in education,” unlike the previous policies that focussed on “access and equity”. 

The main drawback all through primary education has been to follow the method of by-hearting answers related to the textbook that would, in any case, appear in examination rather than paying attention to understanding the core concepts and applying them into day-to-day life situations. 

It has been an established belief in the learning process that repetition reinforces what is learnt and committed to memory, for a student to answer in the test. This behaviourist pedagogical model has often led to children resorting to rote-memory. It is not that a teacher doesn’t know the lacunae in this method but the burden of overpopulation in classrooms and also constraints on the syllabus have hampered creative activities. 

Now that these compulsions have been reduced, with policy measures of “less content, and more towards learning about how to think critically and solve problems, how to be creative and multidisciplinary”,  the cognitive brain of the learner, could be tapped. Further progress in that direction could be achieved by the Policy directive of: “engagement of social workers, alumni, volunteers with schools, school complexes/clusters for resource sharing”. 

The bigger benefit when a learner uses his cognitive brain is that he/she develops his/her perception and insight. This way, when a student encounters a new situation (be it in studies or real life), he/she recognises it as a ‘problem’ to be solved, then goes on to analyse, compare, plan and test the plan. If the latter doesn’t work, the student abandons it and evolves another plan, if that works, he/she stores it for further application. As of today, the scope for this ‘problem-solving ‘method is very limited in the classroom. So, the NEP-2020 paves the way for student-centric learning. Accordingly, the Policy modified the board examinations to primarily test core capacities, competencies, rather than hardened coaching and memorisation.

As the teacher needs to be resourceful to engage students in the new methods, the NEP-2020 enshrines a provision in its policy for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs, to equip educators.

For any learning to take place, the teacher is the facilitator. As the teacher needs to be resourceful to engage students in the new methods, the NEP-2020 enshrines a provision in its policy for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programs, to equip educators. Recently, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in the new educational policy’s (NEP-2020) inaugural conclave stated: “We need to develop critical and innovative thinking” in students. Though this applies in general to all students, this has to be nurtured right from school education. Since the structure of curricula is replaced by a 5+3+3+4; Anganwadis also have a great role to play in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). So, therefore, specially trained teachers in the curriculum and pedagogy are needed.

Vocational education is an important step in NEP-2020 policy measures. To promote vocational education from the middle stage, by encouraging 10-days bagels internship with local traders/craftsperson, exposes students to look for different avenues. David Graddol, a British applied linguist, writer and researcher, writes in his book ‘English Next India’, “Vocational education has long been a Cinderella in a world in which academic study is more highly valued, …For centuries, Indian craftspeople and artisans have created great architecture and art. But these people acquired their skills mainly informally, and children today are still often born into their future occupations. This has made it difficult to expand skilled trades quickly in India and to regulate them in the ways required by modernity.” 

It is generally opined that partly, unemployment in the country arises out of the lack of promotion of vocational courses. The NEP-2020 policy is promoting ITIs and B.Voc degrees that fill the divide between vocational and academic. After all, society needs skilled-workmen. In any case, their activity is remunerative and rewarding. Their social status could also get uplifted if they are skilled professionally through their education and degrees.    

The NEP-2020 policy is promoting ITIs and B.Voc degrees that fill the divide between vocational and academic. After all, society needs skilled-workmen.

Promotion of Multilingualism is a welcome disposition of the NEP-2020. India is a home to many languages and scripts. Sanskrit is the source and has nourished almost all regional tongues except for north-east region’s Tibeto-Burman vernaculars. Unlike in Japan; Japanese, in Russia; Russian, in Germany German, Indians speak as many languages as they would like to learn. Multilingualism is India’s strength. People should respect all languages. Coming to the directive about using mother tongue/local language/regional language at least up to grade 5, as the main medium of instruction, it has not caused adverse reactions as “wherever possible” is added in the Policy. 

To attain foundational literacy and numeracy, as an urgent necessity in the country, the mother tongue/local language is the best vehicle. That fast cognitive development of a child is only possible in his mother tongue, is indisputable. When children learn their mother tongue, they also imbibe their culture. ‘Whatever is in the child’s genes, it gets stabilized’, according to researchers. 

Since, education falls under the concurrent list as per the Constitution; the state governments may take a call on the choice of the medium of instruction. Though the use of the mother tongue/local language medium up to class-v would bring genuine educational improvement amongst children. 

To attain foundational literacy and numeracy, as an urgent necessity in the country, the mother tongue/local language is the best vehicle. 

All in all, NEP-2020 is a policy for radical reform in the Indian educational systems. There are also a number of laudable steps taken with regard to higher education in NEP-2020. The main concern is that it has to be integrated with the designed objectives to achieve the goals-set in the Policy. This NEP-2020 has to be taken up in mission-mode, as it was in the USSR soon after the Russian-Revolution, by canvassing, implementing and assessing the progress made on every anniversary of the Republic. Very quickly the country became a science and technology leader. India needs to make such rapid strides in education if it is to become a superpower. 

13 comments

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  • Thoroughly analysed article. I hope NEP 2020 policy makers take note of such articles ,take their suggestions in right spirit and implement them for the success of policy. She deserves a place in the committee making such policies . Hats off to you madam.

  • The author being an academician brought out the significant changes in the education policy as the focus is more on quality of education rather rote learning which does not provide the required knowledge & skills. The emphasis seem on understanding the core concepts to equip the child with better understanding of the subject. This radical approach substantially improves the standards besides eliminating unwarranted syllabus. It’s also that even teachers need to upgrade themselves to the new environment by providing them the needed skills through Skill Development programmes. Last but not least the biggest merit point seem to be the Vocational training to the students which helps the students to adopt interim jobs if need be to facilitate employability.
    The efforts of the author are commendable as the article dispels misapprehension of the new policy. An excellent read for everyone to apprise themselves of the new Education Policy & to understand in the right perspective. Minor spelling & grammatical mistakes crept in which ne avoided through proper proof reading. 👍👌

  • Corporate colleges structure at 10+ 2 level has made the student a by hearting machine with out ever understanding the logic and concept of the subject. This giving fruitful results in the present academic set up, even teachers are nurtured in this direction with pecuniary attractions. Neither the student nor the teacher is able to view out of the ambit of curriculum required for the exams. Hope the NEP 2020 on implementation should bring radical changes as evolved.

  • 1.Process oriented syllabus to product oriented syllabus.
    2.Anganwadis have a great role to play in the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).. 3.Promotion of multilingualism.
    4.use of the mother tongue/local language medium up to class-v would bring genuine educational improvement amongst children.
    I5.Incorporation of vocational education solves the unemployment problem

  • Very nicely written article, covering almost all ingredients of effective educational system. As ours is still a developing Nation, more stress at grassroots level for economic empowerment of poorer sections, so that they can send their children to schools. B.Voc graduation system will definitely have impact on the system

  • The NEP 2020 will bring significant reforms in the education . It is good for the country . It is surely a step towards making India as global knowledge superpower. It emphasis on skills like analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity and provides good flexibility to the students.All sounds good.
    But, it is a humongous task and it is absolutely necessary to enforce it effectively . All the nuances of NEP 2020 are to be discussed thoroughly and implemented only when fully prepared . All aspects concerned like teachers upgrade , capacity building and collaboration with international institutions and concerns of science, technology and higher education sectors etc., are to be addressed in detail before hurriedly implementing.

    The article conveys clearly through valid discussion the changes that are envisaged with NEP2020 .it is well written.

  • [16/10, 11:48] Jayalakshmi: NEP 2020, the important reform policy should not create confusion among teachers and student population since this is too different from what they are used to.
    [16/10, 11:51] Jayalakshmi: Lot of persuasion in the form of propaganda and follow up and periodic assessment to be done.

  • The article is true picture of our education system. Upto class student should learn uoto class V in mother tongue or local dialect . How many parents agree in this Mechanism. For any Skill in any trade , student needs dedication and sacrifice. For instance the education system should teach a path like knowing our culture say Ramayana snd Gita , the same is done by satsungies . This will make student selfless dedecated rather than running in rate race and pollute tender minds
    The comparativeness is good in doing social uplifting in the society, up lifting poor and in helping nature .

  • Respected Indira madam …. 🙏

    The main objective of NEP-2020 is to strengthen research and innovation in the country .
    NEP-2020 gives a special focus on the national research foundation because innovation is one of the most important for our country to progress. Only when research and innovation are strong enough we will able to progress in the compititive world .
    According to STUDENTS ….
    It will help to develop scientific temper from young age. Students who are unable to go abroad due to multiple reasons will be able to experience it and get global exposure.
    This will promote value based education and ethics and human values .
    According to TEACHERS ….
    The NEP-2020 gives teachers autonomy in selecting appreciate pedagogy and encouraging them to also ensure socio-emotional learning of their students, which is critical aspect of holistic development.

    NEP-2020 develops all round development of the child .

  • NEP 2020 drafted by the present government has drastically drifted itself from previous reforms and this has been critically evaluated by the writer.
    Our education system bears skeleton provided by the English who sponsored only rich and affluent. The policy makers of our Independent India cared for numerous literates and access to scores of learners provided room for heavy curriculum condemning learner to switch on to rote learning and this need to be replaced by cut in curriculum and scope for learner to problem solving techniques.
    Earlier knowledge is confined to a single unit but now it is broadened to multifarious areas like social workers,alumni,volunteers,school complexes and clusters of education.
    Teacher earlier remained as felicitator and his role was confined to his learner but now he is busily engaged with areas that are allocated by pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Mission on teachers and teaching institute.
    Ministry of Human Resource Development is assisted by several departments like:All India council for Technical education;NPTEL for Engineering;UGC for non technical P.G.Education; NCERT for school education etc.
    Unnat Bharat Abhiyan; Global Initiative of Academic Networks;IMPRINT;Uchchtar Avishka Yojana; Prime Minister Research Fellows; Smart Indian Havkathon initiative; National Institutional Ranking Framework; Higher Education Financing Agency;Rashtriya uchchatarSiksha Abhiyan; Technical Educational quality Improvement programme and IMM Act are governed by the centre and these help the areas covered under NEP 2020.
    Presently carved Educational policy opined for 5plus 3plus3plus 4
    Instead of 5plus2 plus 3 plus 2 plus 3 -redefining scope for all levels of education. These levels prosper provided state governments deal with them concerning much for the learner and his urge for learning.
    Vocational courses are given much space so as to redefine and reassert ‘Basic Education’ theorised by Mahatma Gandhi perhaps remembering his 150 the year of birthday celebrations.
    Mostly learners are put in midstream owing to certain states opting for other than mother tongue as medium of instruction and this needs to be checked as education is under concurrent list.
    India believes in vasudhaika Kutumbam and hence regional languages can not be ignored when the learner just steps into school.
    A few observations made by eminent people may be endorsed related to Education as given mentioned:
    Chinese proverb says:
    Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.
    Claus Moser observes:
    Education cost money but then so does ignorance.
    Chinese proverb says:
    If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a life time , educate people.
    Let us hope our planners as well our governments secure the support of states as well departments that instrument policies may do justice to students who aspire for learning/ higher learning and for higher goals of life.

  • This was an enriching article for people like me who didn’t ponder upon the nuances of NEP 2020. Want to know more about the specific details that would ensure n help us get rid of priori syllabus. Eagerly awaiting the radical reforms… that would shape up the future of the students …

Indira G.

Indira G is associated with the organisation Pragna Bharati, Hyderabad and is Incharge-Publications. She also contributes to Opindia and other news platforms.

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