With the 2019 Indian elections having completed and the new elect government in place, there have been a number of reforms across all the departments. The education department seems to be getting its own makeover with a lot of changes both in terms of a new structure and policy changes in the RTE (Right to Education). A committee was set up and headed by Mr. K. Kasturirangan, a renowned scientist along with eight other members and a report was submitted to Human Resource Development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
There are many changes that will be seen in the immediate future in the education department. Free and compulsory schooling from preschool to Grade XII instead of Grade I to Grade VIII is among the first few suggestions. The new HRD minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal recently mentioned that the changes will be made post considering suggestions from the states.
The education policy of India was first adopted in 1986 and revisited again in the year 1992. As per the previous policy, education started with two years of early childhood education and proceeded to 12 years of schooling. The recent suggestion for change in the policy speaks about breaking down the schooling system into 5, 3, 3, and 4 years which is 3 years of preschool and grades I & II, followed by 3 years of preparatory education namely grads III to V, grades VI-VIII of middle school education , and grades IX-XII of secondary education respectively.
The new policy suggestion is to emphasize a more feature based play, activity, and discovery learning methods which are to be upgraded as and when required as per detailed research. The suggestion also talks about introducing multiple languages at the foundation stage of education.
Some of the suggestions mentioned in the draft of the National Education Policy are as follows:
A nutritious breakfast plan along with the mid-day meal program for the pre-school and primary school students.
Introduction of multiple languages during the foundational years of education.
Introduction of a four-year program at the undergraduate level.
Students get an exit option after two years with a diploma or continue for three years and leave with the graduation of honours.
The suggestions in the draft of the NEP also talks about a change in the curriculum structure and teaching methods by making it a more holistic approach to improving critical thinking, creativity, social responsibility, digital literacy, and multilingualism. While the language choices of foreign language remain the same and the four years “secondary stage” of education to be divided into two semesters. This would require the students to complete six subjects every year.
The suggestions also talk about incorporating the works of Indian authors or the excerpts of it. There has been a mention of the change in the structure of the regular degrees like B.A., B.Sc, and B.com which was three years earlier but now to become the four-year program with multiple exit options. This change in the structure was previously introduced in the Delhi University during the year 2013 but was rejected by the Modi government due to lack of approval by the President.
The new NEP will be a welcome change since the existing one was badly in need of a makeover. However, some of the changes at the secondary level of education may face some hurdles from across the states before its implementation.