Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019

The draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 has got the nation thinking! How can you contribute towards a better education system? Read about the policy and submit your feedback online. Learn more!

By Siddiqha Naseem

Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019

The Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 calls for an overhaul of the education system and the extension of the Right to Education (RTE) in India. The NEP was last revised in the year 1986. Now, after almost three decades, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has shared the Draft National Education Policy 2019 with the public. 

The policy hopes to bring about some significant changes and is seeking the public’s opinion on the same. It seeks to address the challenges of access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability faced by the current education system. But before you submit your opinion, read what the policy constitutes. In fact, even Actor Surya, Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan and several other significant personalities have voiced their views over some of the key points mentioned in the policy. The last date to submit your feedback is 31 July 2019. So far, the MHRD has received more than 77,000 comments and letters on the draft National Education Policy, according to HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. With just one more day to go, it is time to act fast.

Background

The Indian Central Government decided to bring about a change to the existing education policy of India to improve the quality of education across primary, secondary and higher education. This led to the formation of a committee headed by the Ex-Chairman of ISRO, Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan. The committee formulated a draft of the New Education Policy 2019 (NEP). It was handed over to the Central Government, who in turn released it to the public recently. 

The new policy document containing 484 pages is available online in several regional languages so that every Indian citizen can read and understand the policy. Further, they can even submit their feedback on the same to the government (details of the step-by-step process can be found further below).

What does this draft policy mean for students and parents?

To answer this question, Team ParentCircle and Chrysalis, a Chennai based educational organisation, came together to decode some of the key elements of the Draft National Education Policy for you — particularly pertaining to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), Curriculum and Pedagogy.

Here are some of the key highlights:

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to be renamed as Ministry of Education (MoE).
  • Extension of the Right to Education Act 2009 to cover children between 3 and 18 years.
  • A 5+3+3+4 pedagogic and curricular structure based on cognitive, social and emotional development stages of children to be introduced; Foundational stage (3-8 years, 3 years of pre-primary plus Grades 1-2), Preparatory stage (8-11 years, Grades 3-5), Middle stage (11-14 years, Grades 6-8) and Secondary stage (14-18 years, Grades 9-12).
  • No hard separation of learning areas into curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular; all subjects including arts, music, crafts, sports will be part of the core curriculum.
  • Massive transformation in teacher education by shutting down sub-standard teacher education institutes and moving teacher preparation/education programmes into large multi-disciplinary colleges/universities; the 4-year integrated B.Ed programme to be the minimum qualification for teachers.
  • All undergraduate education to be a liberal education that will integrate the arts, sciences, humanities, mathematics, professional and vocational courses and offer choices to students.
  • A new apex body, Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog, to enable an integrated and holistic implementation of all proposed initiatives and interventions; and to coordinate efforts between the Centre and the States.

Explained: Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools

The Current System

The current 10+2 system of education has played an important role in bringing the entire education system of India under one umbrella. The country was unified under this system. However, recent advances and research in cognitive science have presented a clear need to move on to a curricular and pedagogic structure that is developmentally appropriate for the child.

What research says

Age 3 to 8: Prior to 8 years, children learn better through play-based, activity-based, discovery-based styles of learning and teaching.

Age 8 to 11: Around 8 years, children start to get adapted to a more prescriptive way of learning. For example, learning through textbooks. Therefore at this stage, focused subject teaching/learning through specialised books can begin while still being within the purview of a play-based and discovery-based approach.

Age 11 to 14: Children develop the ability to learn abstract ideas and concepts. A greater focus on subject expertise and teaching can be brought in at this time. Higher-level concepts can be brought in within each subject area.

Age 14 to 17: Children aspire and visualise what they would like to be when they grow up. They begin to think of a future job or an education and how they want to shape their lives. At this stage, they need to have the flexibility of choosing subjects and vocational and art courses that will help them achieve their goals.

Hence, the need to revolutionise the curriculum and pedagogy structure of the current education system to be in sync with the child’s natural cognitive, emotional and physical development is imperative.

The 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 design

5 years of the Foundational Stage: 3 years of pre-primary school and Grades 1, 2. Five years of play-based, activity-based, discovery-based learning, constantly focusing and implementing the latest research in ECCE while not losing touch with time-tested Indian practices for cognitive and emotional stimulation of children.

3 years of Preparatory (or Latter Primary) Stage: Grades 3, 4, 5. This stage will continue to focus on play-based, activity-based, discovery-based learning. but at the same time slowly incorporate a more formal way of learning into the curriculum. For e.g., the introduction of textbooks for subjects. This stage will take a generalist approach to learn subjects and lay the groundwork for future specialisation.

3 years of the Middle (or Upper Primary) Stage: Grades 6, 7, 8. This stage builds upon the formal pedagogical and curricular style introduced in the Preparatory stage. Specialised teaching as well as textbooks for subjects, with the introduction of abstract concepts in each subject, will be introduced. Experiential learning within each subject and explorations of connections among different subjects will be encouraged and emphasized.

4 years of the High (or Secondary) Stage: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12. Four years of multidisciplinary study, which will build on the subject-oriented pedagogical and curricular rigour of the Middle stage, but in greater depth, with greater scope for critical thinking, greater attention to life aspirations, and greater flexibility and student choice.

Focus on Early Childhood Care and Education

Free, safe, developmentally appropriate high quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) will be provided for every child between the ages of 3 and 6 years by 2025. Schools and anganwadis will hold the mandate for the holistic development of the child across nutritional, learning and health needs.

Ensuring foundational literacy and numeracy

It will be imperative for every school to ensure its students achieve age-appropriate foundational literacy and numeracy requirements by 2025. A slew of changes and reforms in the school system, curricular content and transactional procedures have been enumerated for this purpose.

A new curricular and pedagogical structure

The 10+2+3 structure as was stipulated by the Kothari Commission (1966) and is currently followed across the country, will be redesigned to make the curriculum and pedagogy more responsive to the developmental needs and interests of the child at different stages of growth.

The curriculum will be integrated with 21st century and life skills and vocational courses as part of the core curriculum and will be more flexible in terms of inclusion of a wide range of subjects and fields for children to choose from. The system of examinations will undergo radical change to assess real, comprehensive and enduring learning, make them stress-free and aim for personal growth and improvement rather than accord judgements.

Competent and motivated teachers at the core of education

The profession of teaching, and therefore teachers, will be at the centre of significant transformation in a range of areas, including teacher qualification, working conditions and a development-oriented education and performance-oriented system.

Other key highlights from the draft national education policy

  • Plans to transform Early Childhood Care and Education (i.e. Kindergarten) as an integral part of the child’s education.
  • Free and compulsory education from preschool to class 12 as an extension of the Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009 is proposed.
  • The proposal also states that board exams will be held for classes 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12.
  • The committee suggests that the class 10 board exams can be split into two semesters to ease the mental pressure of students.
  • The new policy proposes to reduce this to class 5. Any child who shows declined performance in a subject from class 6 will have to repeat the academic year. The existing education policy states that children should not be detained until class 8.
  • A three-language formula will be implemented across the country. However, few states like Tamil Nadu shall continue to practise the two-language formula.
  • Multiple public schools with few students and teachers, to be brought together to form a school complex.
  • The minimum qualification for teachers will be a 4-year B.Ed degree program.
  • UPSC exams are to be made compulsory to become a principal or correspondent of a school.
  • Based on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) International educational institutions like Oxford, Cambridge etc. shall be established within the country.
  • India currently has 800 universities and 40,000 colleges which can be merged into 15,000 excellent institutions.
  • Commercialisation of education to be stopped.
  • The private and public institutions shall be treated with equality and education will be a ‘not for profit’ action.

Step-by-step instructions for feedback submission

As parents, you should actively participate and send your recommendations, feedback and critique to the MHRD. Here are the steps to follow to submit your opinion:

Step 1: Click the following link https://innovate.mygov.in/new-education-policy-2019/

Step 2: In the home page you can find the new education policy in various languages. Download the document of your choice and read.

Step 3: Scroll down to find four different sections — School education, Higher education, Additional Key Focus Areas and Transforming Education.

Step 4: Each section comes with several topics. Click on the topic you want to give your feedback for.

Step 5: A list of points from the policy is shown on the page. At the right end of each point is an add button (+).

Step 6: Click the add button. A drop down shows log in. Log in with your credentials or sign up.

Step 7: After logging in, a comment box will appear. Type in your comments and submit.

Remember the last day to submit your feedback is 31 July 2019.

Let’s take time to read the policy and give our honest feedback, as it contributes towards the future of our children’s learning and education.

Chrysalis is a Chennai based educational organisation that is committed to bringing a change in the current education system with a vision of awakening Human potential in every child. For the last 18 years, the organization has been working with stakeholders in education across the country by developing solutions that can be implemented in mainstream schools.

Looking for expert tips and interesting articles on parenting? Subscribe now to our magazine. Connect with us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube