New Education Policy – A Much Needed Change!

The global education development agenda adopted by India in 2015 seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030.

The aim must be for India to have an education system by 2040 that is second to none, with equitable access to the highest quality education for all learners regardless of social or economic background. 

The curriculum will include basic arts, crafts, humanities games, sports and fitness, languages, literature, culture, and values in addition to science and mathematics, to develop all aspects and capabilities of learners; and make education more well-rounded, useful and fulfilling to the learner. For the enrichment of the children, and for the preservation of our rich languages and and artistic treasures, all students in all schools public/private will have the option of learning at least 2 years of a classical language of India and its associated literature.

In addition to high quality offerings in Indian languages and English, foreign languages, such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian, will also be offered at the secondary level, for students to learn about the cultures of the world.

Mathematic and computational thinking will be given increased emphasis throughout the school years. Contemporary subjects such as artificial intelligence, design thinking, holistic health, organic living, environmental education, global citizenship education (GCED) will be introduced. 

Curriculum will be restructured into a new 5+3+3+4 design. That means there will be 3 years of preschool plus 2 years of primary school together. It will be covering ages 3-8 and grades 1-2. Middle Stage will cover ages 11-14 and grades 6-8. Lastly, the secondary stage will cover ages 14-18 and grades 9-12 in two parts: Grades 9-10 and 11-12.

A program called Early Childhood Care and Education will be introduced. The overall aim of ECCE will be to attain optical outcomes in the domains of: physical and mental development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development, and the development of communication and early language, literacy, and numeracy. It is envisaged that prior to the age of 5 every child will move to a “Preparatory Class which has an ECCE-qualified teacher. The learning in the Preparatory Class shall be based primarily on play-based learning with a focus on developing cognitive, affective and psychological abilities and early literacy and numeracy.

Some fundamental policies of ECCE are: 1) extensive use of technology, 2) multidisciplinary and a holistic education, 3) respect for diversity and local context, 4) emphasis on conceptual understanding and 4) promoting multilingualism and the power of language. 

Children are unable to learn optimally when they are undernourished or unwell. Hence, nutrition of children will be addressed through healthy meals provided to them. All school children shall undergo regular health check ups especially for 100% immunization in schools and health cards will be issued to monitor the same.

It will also be ensured that school and university buildings are wheelchair accessible and disabled-friendly. Support for gifted students/ students with special talents shall be provided.

Indian sign language will be standardized across the country for use by students with hearing impairment. Students will also be encouraged to visit different states as part of cultural exchange programmes. Concerned efforts will be made to provide high quality textbooks at the lowest possible cost.

Curriculum shall be reduced to enhance essential learning and critical thinking. There will be flexibility in course choices and experiential learning will be introduced. Local languages shall continue to be taught as a language.

The overall higher education sector will aim to be an integrated higher education system, including professional and vocational education. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer large numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students. Technology tools will be developed and supported for better participation and learning outcomes.

Efforts will be made to transform higher education institutions into large multidisciplinary universities. Entrance exams shall be reformed to eliminate the need for undertaking coaching classes. By 2025, at least 50% of learners through the schools and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education.

Hence, I would like to conclude by saying that the new education policy gives us an insight into modern India and how the education system shall change in the coming years. It also reminds us to stick to our roots and to not stop learning our regional languages.

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