The Modi government 2.0 finally brought the much awaited Draft of the National Education Policy 2019, placed it before the Parliament and opened it for public debate and discussion for its further improvement. The Draft National Education Policy 2019 is built on the foundational pillars of ‘Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability.
However, there were so many committee formed in the post independence period for the educational reforms in the country, like University Education Commission (1948-49), Secondary Education Commission (1952-53), the Committee of the Midget (1952-53), Kothari Committee (1964-1966), National Education Policy (1968), National Education Policy (1986), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Country Primary Education Program (DPEP), the Back Room Plan (MMSD), the Teacher Education Plan (TES) scheme and the Kastorba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBVS), Right to Education Act (RTE) 2002, National Knowledge Commission (2009), National Policy on Education (1968), National Policy on Education (1986), Revised Programme of Action (1992) and National Curriculum Framework (NCF, 2005) etc., but still we are lagging behind in imparting quality education to our new generation.
Since past many years, people involved with academics and research have been awaiting government’s initiative for educational reform. Everybody involved with education system believed that there should be professional education in place of the traditional education in India and as per present needs the modern education should create the confidence of students, enhance the skills, creativity, self-dependence and the skill to compete with the students of other parts of the world.
Intellectuals also believed that to improve the educational system, we needs to bring originality in thinking, in innovation, in research and development. We need to revise our syllabus in higher education institutions. We need to include job oriented courses and training so that we will be able to solve the problem of the unemployment. At present we are focusing only on the degrees but not on acquiring knowledge.
The practice of cheating, copying and plagiarism in education system have been finishing the creativity of our students and teachers. Therefore, our educational curriculum, patterns, must be in accordance to stop copying and plagiarism.
Its also a fact that after all government efforts, Indian Institutions couldn’t score good ranks at global level and that is a matter of concern for everybody. However, one thing is clear we Indians and our government only can find the solution for it.
PM Shri Narendra Modi, who is known for his powerful implementation of policies like policies for a corruption free India, gender equality, financial policies, political-social reforms, changing the stereotype environment of politics, policies relating to science and technology and policies for the basic necessity of poor people now has brought the Draft of the National Education Policy 2019 for educational reform. Keeping the problems and needs of educational system in mind the Draft of the Education Policy 2019 has been prepared and hopefully, after its implementation this policy will change the dynamics of our educational system in upcoming days.
Major Highlights of the Draft National Education Policy 2019
The Draft National Education Policy 2019 is built on the foundational pillars of ‘Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability. The committee proposes for massive transformation in teacher education by shutting down sub-standard teacher education institutions and moving all teacher preparation or education programmes into large multidisciplinary universities/colleges. It promotes active pedagogy that will focus on the development of core capacities, life skills, including 21st-century skills. The new policy is looking forward for the changing dynamics of the requirements of the population with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower. The draft new education policy 2019, have divided into three important segments: school education, Higher education and additional key focus areas.
For the students, part-I of the draft new education policy focuses on school education, early childhood care, foundation of learning, foundational literacy and numeracy, curriculum and pedagogy in schools, focuses on holistic development of learners, empowers students through flexibility in course choices, education in multilingualism, transforming assessment for students development. A 5+3+3+4 curricular and pedagogical structure based on cognitive and socio-emotional developmental stages of children: Foundational Stage (age 3-8 yrs): 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 have adopted in this proposed document.
For the teachers, this important draft document focuses on effective teacher recruitment & deployment, continuous professional development, career management. For the equitable & inclusive education special provision have been introduced for underrepresented groups, girls, SC,ST, OBC, Tribal & minority communities, children from urban poor families, transgender children and children of special need. For fostering integrated education, effective management, administration of individual school within school campuses, resourcing and effective governance provisions have introduced which includes, Introduction of regulation and accreditation system architecture, implication of RTE act, assessment of functioning of schools and protection of the rights of the child & adolescent education have given preference.
Part-II of higher Education of the draft new education policy reveals new forward looking vision for India’s higher education system which deeply focuses on institutional restructuring & consolidation, move towards more liberal education & research for enhancing professional education and introducing different programmes, degrees and other certificates in higher education. For optimal learning environment and support for students, innovative and responsive curriculum & pedagogy, learning & development, open & distance learning, life-long learning and internationalism of higher education perspective have introduced.
There are some new important foundations & concepts have introduced such as establishment of national research foundation, building of research capacity at all universities & colleges, moving teachers education into multidisciplinary colleges & Universities, promotion of professional education, empowered governance & effective leadership for higher education institutions and transforming the regulatory system.
In higher education, a restructuring of higher education institutions with three types of higher education institutions is proposed: Focused on world-class research and high-quality teaching, focused on high-quality teaching across disciplines with significant contribution to research, and high-quality teaching focused on undergraduate education. This will be driven by two missions — Mission Nalanda and Mission Takshashila. There will be re-structuring of Undergraduate programs. For example, BSc, BA, B Com of three or four years of duration and having multiple exits and entry options.
The four functions of Standard setting, Funding, Accreditation and Regulation to be separated and conducted by independent bodies: National Higher Education Regulatory Authority as the only regulator for all higher education including professional education, creation of accreditation eco-system led by revamped NAAC, professional Standard Setting Bodies for each area of professional education and UGC to transform to Higher Education Grants Commission (HEGC).
Part-III of the document focuses on additional key focus areas such as technology in education, adult education, promotion of Indian languages. Promotion of Indian and classical languages and setting up three new national institutes for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit and an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) have also been recommended.
Part IV of the draft document reveals transforming education and establishment of Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog has established. A new apex body, Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog, is proposed to enable a holistic and integrated implementation of all educational initiatives and programmatic interventions and to coordinate efforts between the Centre and the States.
(The writer is Assistant Professor in Department of Political Science, Bhagini Nivedita College, University of Delhi, New Delhi)