“The aim must be for India to have an education system by 2040 that is second to none, with equitable access to the highest-quality education for all learners regardless of social or economic background.” —National Education Policy 2020
I am passionate about students and often write about Indian education. I will discuss the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020). The Indian government announced the National Education Policy on July 29, 2020. It received both bouquets and brickbats. It has converted the current 10+2 system into a 5+3+3+4 system, i.e., 5 years of primary education, 3 years of preparatory stage, 3 years of the middle stage, and 4 years of secondary school. Exams will only be held for class 5th, 8th, and 12th. There are changes in the board exam pattern and assessments.
NEP 2020 brings reforms in schools and higher education systems. It ensures the holistic development of students. It shifts focus from ‘what to think’ to ‘how to think’ and from exam-oriented education to employment-oriented education. It discourages rote learning and encourages creative learning. It emphasizes vocational education and practical education.
It bridges the gap between academia and industry. It encourages employability in Indian students by upgrading their knowledge, skills, and abilities. It encourages them to migrate from one profession to another profession, unlike previous education. It grooms them as multi-faceted personalities and helps them live many lives professionally. It allows foreign universities to set up campuses in India thus increasing competition to educational institutions and offering exposure to Indian students. In a nutshell, it has made Indian education global with an emphasis on local expectations and global aspirations.
NEP 2020 is appropriate and timely in the current digital world as it emphasizes technology-based learning. It shifts focus from teacher-centric education to student-centric education and from theoretical teaching to practical teaching by focusing on hard skills, soft skills, life skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
It encourages students to think creatively and choose subjects close to their hearts. It differentiates between chalk and cheese. It avoids information overload and helps focus on the essence. It prioritizes students to choose subjects and saves their precious time and energy. It offers more flexibility with less pressure on students. It empowers students and offers them with diverse career choices.
Indian society fails to differentiate between defining success and measuring success. Unfortunately, it measures success by money, not education. NEP 2020 must change such a mindset of Indian society. It must emphasize the philosophy of ‘faculty first, students second, and institutions third’ to provide quality and character education to students.
NEP 2020 emphasizes empowerment, enlightenment, and employability skills in Indian students. It paves the way for ‘one education and one nation’ policy for India. It is difficult to satisfy all stakeholders especially for a country like India with more than 1. 3 billion population. To summarize, NEP 2020 is essential in the current internet world.
It is irrelevant to stick to the outdated education system that emphasized 3 Rs—reading, writing, and reproducing. To conclude, NEP 2020 is a step in the right direction to reform the education system and build a strong and prosperous India.
“National Education Policy will set the foundation for 21st century India. We’ve given extra impetus to this national policy for ensuring that it makes Indians more empowered and easily attractive to opportunities. We’re moving to an era where an individual will not be stuck to a single profession all his life. Thus, he will continuously need to re-skill and up-skill himself. We have kept this in contention while formulating the National Education Policy.” —Narendra Modi