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National Education policy in a nutshell – Teachers the torch bearers of the policy

National Education policy in a nutshell – Teachers the torch bearers of the policy

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources.

National Education policy in a nutshell – Teachers the torch bearers of the policy

School Education: 

  • New Policy aims for universalization of educationfrom pre-school to secondary level with 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030. 
  • NEP 2020 will bring 2 crore out of school children back into the main stream through open schooling system.
  • The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structurecorresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
  • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools ; Vocational Education to start  from Class 6 with Internships
  • Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/ regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
  • Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes
  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.   By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree .

Higher Education

  • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50 % by 2035 ;  3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
  • The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate  education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and  multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  • Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate  Transfer of Credits
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to  be set up as models  of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
  • The National Research Foundationwill be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have  four independent verticals  – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,  and National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
  • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.
  • Others
  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
  • NEP 2020 emphasizes setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups
  • New Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit , Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up
  • The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDPat the earliest.
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Teachers – cog in the wheel:

In the education system, the three critical elements are teachers, students and the ecosystem of the school such as infrastructure, play arrangements, facilities and the underlying compact with the institution. To encourage creative thinking in students, particularly first-generation learners, the teacher is the most critical component, guiding, encouraging and challenging students. Empirically, studies show government teachers are better qualified and trained, and if made to teach, they deliver better outcomes compared to teachers of the average private schools. But for the new paradigm of education there is a complete overhaul is needed.

A complete overhaul – what needs to be done:

Para- Teachers:

Fun and interactive learning at the early childhood stage will require trained para-teachers.

Political neutrality:

  • Teachers should be completely disconnected from politics, for it changes their incentives.
  • In some states, there are teachers’ constituencies in the bicameral state legislature.
  • Teachers are deeply involved with local politics and that distorts evaluation of the outcomes, assessment of teachers and improving accountability.
  • This relates equally to college and university teachers. By law, it should be proscribed

Appointment process:

  • School education with a class of 30 would require 2.2 million more teachers.
  • Adding para-teachers, the numbers will be even higher.
  • Large-scale appointments will be necessary.
  • But it is imperative that teachers remain on probation for a longer period of time, before they become permanent.
  • This is equally important for higher education.

Assessment:

  • Teachers and professors should go through a five-year intensive assessment by third parties.
  • Leaving the assessment to state institutions, easily influenced by the government, or to in-house committees, will not work.
  • There must be disciplinary action including removal against those teachers who consistently fare at the bottom.
  • This will result in quick improvement in performance.

Examination:

  • The big pieces in NEP are attempts to reduce workload, remove the difficulties of the examination, and reduce teaching duties to enable interaction with students in colleges and universities.
  • This is accompanied by an emphasis on a common admission test.
  • The direction is correct, but it is to be noted that there are very few people trained in psychometric tests in India.
  • A time-frame should be set to get professionals ready like in the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the United States, to ensure questions are not repeated or incomprehensible questions are avoided.

NEP’s goals are noble. But the policy framework needs to be refined and its implementation needs more thought.

Source:”Hindustan Times”.

POSSIBLE UPSC MAINS EXAMINATION:

For the National Education Policy to be successful there is a need to focus on reforming the institution of the teachers. Elaborate.