NEP (New Education Policy) 2020 is perhaps the most-quoted term in education circles in recent times. But questions and doubts remain about how it will change the lives of students and teachers.
The promise is of bidding adieu to rote learning and introducing, in the words of NEP drafting committee chairperson K Kasturirangan, “an element of choice and flexibility”.
Here are some of the major changes school students can expect from NEP 20:
10+2 changed to 5+3+3+4
The new structure recognises 3 additional years of pre-schooling or Anganwadi instead of 12 years of schooling. The breakdown is as follows:
· Foundational stage (3 to 8 years): 3 years of pre-school/Anganwadi/Balvatika and 2 years of primary school. In the formative years, now formally recognised as a part of schooling, learning is expected to be activity-based.
· Preparatory stage (8 to 11 years): Students of Classes III to V will be taught how to read, write and speak in various languages. Subjects like arts, science and mathematics will be introduced to students. Physical education will be introduced at this stage.
· Middle stage (11 to 14 years): Students will be introduced to the abstract concepts of different subjects. Correlating subjects of different disciplines will take place through experiential learning.
· Secondary stage (14 to 18 years): The final stage is broken into 2 phases of multidisciplinary learning — Classes IX and X and Classes XI and XII.
Bridging the spoken and written language gap
Students can opt for their native language or local language as the medium of instruction till Class V. NEP has also recommended that students at least till Class VIII are allowed to continue their education in a familiar language.
Learn more languages
NEP has emphasised the learning of multiple languages. Aside from the opportunity to learn Sanskrit, students have the option to learn several native Indian languages. They will also have the chance to learn foreign languages.
Change in exam structure
The Class X and XII board exams are likely to be redesigned by the assessment body PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development). The restructuring aims to encourage holistic learning and erase the need for coaching classes. One possibility is that board exams will be held twice a year instead of once.
Students of Classes III, V and VIII will be tested on literacy and knowledge, instead of how much they have been able to memorise.
Preparation for the real world
The focus is expected to shift from rote learning to holistic, integrated, enjoyable and engaging learning. Students are likely to enjoy the freedom of selecting interdisciplinary subjects.
Students of Classes VI to VIII are set to engage in a 10-day “bagless” learning period. This period will work like an internship, during which they are expected to gain vocational experience.
Students will also have the opportunity to learn coding from Class VI.
The NEP encourages students to learn more about India. Learning Indian languages will be encouraged. Tribal knowledge and indigenous and traditional ways of learning will be incorporated into different subjects. Subjects will also focus on students gaining local geographical, environmental and social understanding.
Focus on keeping students in school
Recognising the high dropout rates of the country, the NEP targets to support students with the help of social workers and counsellors working with schools. To make learning more engaging for students, teacher education is set to change. A nutritious breakfast will be added to midday meals.
Inclusive and equitable education opportunity
NEP hopes to bring more students to school. Various strategies, including scholarships and schemes, will focus on socio-economically disadvantaged groups. The introduction of the Gender Inclusion Fund and Special Education Zones are some of the proposed steps towards education equity.