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National Education Policy – Features

National Education Policy - Features

UPSC CSE -SYLLABUS:GENERAL STUDIES-2-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,Education, Human Resources.

National Education Policy – Features

  • The National Education Policy (NEP) is based on wide-ranging consultations, including reports of the TSR Subramanian (2016) and K Kasturirangan (2019) committees, deliberations in 676 districts, 6,600 blocks, 2.5 lakh gram panchayats and discussion with teachers and the common man.
  • It is thus important in more ways than one.
  • It is only the third education policy promulgated by the Centre — the other two being the policies enunciated by Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi in 1968 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.

Salient features:

  • But at a more fundamental level, the NEP is important for several quantitative, and more importantly, qualitative changes across the development spectrum.
  • These range from pre-school to higher education with thrust 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;
  • and thrust on Indian and ancient languages.
  • There is a refreshing 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 relate to education in the local language or mother tongue at least up to the fifth grade and if possible, eighth and beyond;
  • universal access and early childhood education;
  • curriculum change leading to learning outcomes (LOs) and competencies;
  • stress on equity, gender, special needs and promotion of multilingualism.

Enrolment ratio and dropout rate:

  • Also welcome is the focus on the endeavour to reduce the dropout rate, putting in place different forms of assessment, the emphasis on essential learning and critical thinking and the centrality of the teacher and teacher education.
  • The NEP will bring two crore out-of-school children back into the mainstream.
  • 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 – it’s currently about 25 per cent.
  • Universal access to education at all levels can be achieved by multiple learning pathways involving both formal and non-formal education modes, through a focus on achieving desired learning outcomes across levels, recalling dropouts back to school, alternative and innovative education centres.

Early Childhood Care and Education:

  • Some elements of the overarching 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).
  • It also involves aligning NCPFECE with the latest research on ECCE and national and international best practices.

Skilling:

  • 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 competencies.

Higher Education:

  • Innovations in the higher education ecosystem include high-quality universities and colleges, multidisciplinary education, learning optimisation.
  • 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, dispensing with the MPhil programme and the proposed National Research Foundation.
  • The key principles of the NEP relate to accessibility, equality, accountability, affordability, and quality of education.
  • The “fragmented” ecosystem of higher education will be integrated once NEP’s vision of combining different institutions into multidisciplinary universities and “higher education institution clusters” or “knowledge hubs” is realised.
  • By upgrading the digital infrastructure, emphasising on learning at your own pace and underlining the importance of online courses, the NEP attempts to bridge the digital divide.

Way forward:

  • 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.
  • The policy justifiably aims to increase the spending on education from the current 3.2 per cent of GDP to 6 per cent of the GDP.
  • However, mobilising funds could be difficult because of the resource crunch, low tax-to-GDP ratio, kick-starting the economy, strife with neighbours and competing development requirements.
  • The policy’s success will also hinge on its integration with the government’s other polices — the New Industrial Policy, Digital India, Skill India, Atmanirbhar Bharat and the “vocal for local” programme.
  • It’s crucial that such challenges are addressed.
  • For, addressing the imperatives of the present and expectations of the future will depend on the policy’s success.

Source:”Indian Express”.

POSSIBLE UPSC MAINS EXAMINATION:

With its focus on equity and critical learning, NEP addresses present, future challenges. Elucidate.