NEP and analysis

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Source: The Indian Express

Syllabus: GS-2- Education

Context: NEP focuses on equity and critical learning as it also addresses present and future challenges.

Explain the changes introduced by the NEP in an elaborate manner?

  • NEP is only the third education policy propagated by the Centre; the other two being the policies vocalized by Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi in 1968 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.
  • The NEP is important for several quantitative and qualitative changes across the development band. These range from pre-school to higher education :
    • Emphasis on practicality and skill development.
    • Breaking the stereotypical divide of arts, commerce and science streams in high school.
    • Reorganising schooling years.
    • Making the education system more inclusive.
    • Permission to foreign universities to establish branches in India.
    • Thrust on Indian and ancient languages.
  • There is an uplifting move from periodic “inspections” to self-assessment and voluntary declaration with transparency, quality standards and positive public perception being the keywords.
  • A single, lean structure with four verticals for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation will provide “light but tight” oversight.
  • Other transformative changes include:
    • Education in the local language or mother tongue at least up to the fifth grade
    • Universal access and early childhood education
    • Curriculum change leading to learning outcomes (LOs) and skills.
    • Stress on equity, gender, special needs and promotion of multilingualism.
  • There is a focus on early child development, the effort to reduce the dropout rate, putting in place different forms of valuation, the emphasis on essential learning and critical thinking and the centrality of the teacher and teacher education.
  • The policy aims at a 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030 and 50 GER in higher education by 2025.
  • NEP suggests some elements of the main universal Access to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) framework relate to the NCERT’s National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Education (NCPFECE).
  • The integration of vocational education with basic education in all institutions by identifying focus areas based on skills gap analysis and mapping of local opportunities will develop entrepreneurial abilities.
  • Innovations in the higher education ecosystem include:
    • Extension of the graduate course from three to four years
    • Multiple entry and exit points
    • College teachers’ education
    • Replacement of the UGC, AICTE and NAAC
    • Providing the MPhil programme and the proposed National Research Foundation.
  • NEP attempts to bridge the digital divide by upgrading the digital infrastructure, emphasising on learning at your own pace and underlining the importance of online courses.
  • There is a provision to teach coding at the middle-school level and an emphasis on mainstreaming Sanskrit to increase “knowledge of ancient India and its contributions to modern India”.

What are the steps required to be taken?

  • The shift from printed content-oriented teaching to experimental learning and concept-oriented teaching requires the implementation of NITI Aayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI’s) vision for teacher adequacy. 
  • It also requires transparent systems for merit-based selection and deployment of teachers and online systems for teacher transfers.
  • The philosophy of access, equity, infrastructure, governance and learning has ultimately to be grounded in action to drive India’s growth, modernisation and structural transformation.

Way forward

  • The policy’s success will also depend on its integration with the government’s other polices such as the New Industrial Policy, Digital India, Skill India, Atmanirbhar Bharat and the “vocal for local” programme. Addressing the necessities of the present and expectations of the future will depend on the policy’s success.
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