The National Education Policy 2020 will usher a slew of changes not just to the way academics is delivered but also in the areas of research and regulating bodies
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 approved by the Union Cabinet aims to bring about a radical change in the way education is delivered across the country, be it in schools or colleges.
NEP 2020 is looking to tweak not just the daily academic curriculum in schools but also the very structure of degree programmes in higher education institutes.
Moneycontrol brings to you three big changes that each of the stakeholders in the education system, be it teachers, students, regulators, universities and investors will witness once NEP is implemented:
More opportunities to work in rural areas, less transfers: There will be incentives provided for teachers to work in rural areas. The key incentive for teaching in rural schools will be the provision of local housing near or on the school premises or increased housing allowances.
The policy also states that excessive teacher transfers will be halted, so that students have continuity in their role models and educational environments. Transfers will occur in very special circumstances, as suitably laid down in a structured manner by various states.
Teacher eligibility tests to be conducted: Teacher Eligibility Tests (TET) will be held to cover teachers across all stages of school education. For subject teachers, suitable TET test scores in the corresponding subjects will be taken into account for recruitment.
To gauge passion and motivation for teaching, a classroom demonstration or interview will become an integral part of teacher hiring at schools. These interviews would also be used to assess comfort and proficiency in teaching the local language, so that every school/school complex has at least some teachers who can converse with students in the local language and other prevalent home languages of students.
Career development programmes for teachers: Currently, teachers do not have a clear growth path in schools and typically retire from the same position once they reach the age of retirement. NEP 2020 will offer teachers an initiative of continuous professional development (CPD) programmes. Each year, a teacher has to participate in 50 hours of CPD opportunities.
Each school will also has to develop career management programmes for teachers. Here, teachers with ‘outstanding’ work will be rewarded with promotions, incentives and salary hikes. The policy also stated that vertical mobility of teachers based on merit will also be done so that these individuals can take up academic leadership positions in schools and relevant government departments.
Ability to choose subjects in schools and colleges: NEP 2020 provides an opportunity to students to choose the subject of your choice. A student need not be restricted to a particular set of subjects just because he/she chose science, commerce or arts. One can study biology with sociology or Hindi literature with accountancy. An equal emphasis will be on extracurricular activities, be it sports or music.
In schools, concepts like coding will be introduced from the sixth grade. Also, students will be expected to participate in vocational education from sixth grade. This will involve students visiting local artisans, carpenters, sculptors among others to learn about the way these businesses function and also the skill requirement.
Flexible entry/exit into colleges and international university an option: Your college degree programme won’t follow the same old structure where you complete a Bachelors programme after three years or an engineering degree after four years. A student can exit the course after one, two or three years and get a certificate, diploma or degree.
The government is planning to allow the top 100 global universities to set up campuses in India. Complete autonomy will be offered to these institutes, so Indian students need not have to go abroad to study. The same quality of education and academic faculty will be accessible in India itself.
Academic credit transfer and storage: Right now, if you have to quit college for personal reasons the entire three/four years have to be repeated once you join back. Under the new policy, academic credits will be granted every year in a higher education programme, which will be stored in a digital locker. If a student returns to college after a fixed tenure (for example: one year), he/she will able to access the credits and join back where they left. So, if a student quit after the second year, he/’she can join the third year after returning from a sabbatical.
Cluster approach for higher education institutions: NEP 2020 states that higher education institutions will be classified into large multi-disciplinary universities, colleges and higher education institutions and knowledge hubs, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students. An equal emphasis will be placed on integrating humanities and arts with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) have to become multi-disciplinary institutions. They have to aim to have larger student enrolments preferably in the thousands for optimal use of infrastructure and resources. This means that an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) cannot restrict itself to only engineering and will also need to offer programmes in arts and commerce.
Strong focus on research: A National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education. This body will be in-charge of peer-reviewed research developed across higher education institutes. Autonomous degree granting colleges would also be nudged to become research-intensive universities in the future.
Online programmes to be encouraged: Under NEP 2020, institutions will have the option to run Open Distance Learning (ODL) and online programmes, provided they are accredited to do so. Here, all ODL programmes and their components leading to any diploma or degree have to be of the same standard as a regular offline programme.
Under the policy, top institutions accredited for ODL will be encouraged and supported to develop high-quality online courses. Such quality online courses will be suitably integrated into the regular programmes and a blended (online plus offline) mode will be preferred.
Single regulatory body: Multiple education regulators like University Grants Commission and All India Council for Technical Education will be merged into one single regulator. There will be an apex body called the Higher Commission of India (HECI) with four verticals.
The first vertical of HECI will be the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC). This will function as the common, single point regulator for the higher education sector, including teacher education but will exclude medical and legal education.
The second vertical will be the National Accreditation Council (NAC) to accredit institutions.
Third will be the Higher Education Grants Council for carrying out funding/financing activities. The fourth vertical will be the General Education Council, which will frame learning outcomes.
Phasing out affiliation system in colleges: Under NEP 2020, there will be a process of graded autonomy that will be granted to colleges over a period of 15 years. Here, each existing affiliating university will be responsible for mentoring its affiliated colleges so that they can develop their capabilities and achieve minimum benchmarks in academics, teaching, governance, finance and administration. The regulator will set rules for this autonomy system.
Inspections to be phased out: The regulatory bodies are now responsible for conducting inspections at the colleges and universities governed by these entities. Surprise checks and audits are conducted to ensure that all rules are followed by these institutes and that the infrastructure is also in place before granting approvals for institutes to set up. Under the new policy, there will be an online self-disclosure based transparent system for approvals in place of inspections.
Self-regulation for philanthropic schools: Schools that are run by private entities or investors would have a new system of self-regulation and accreditation. Investors cannot simply use a school for commercial purposes and not focus on the quality and academic output. A State Schools Standards Authority will be set up by every state/Union Territory which will look into safety, security, basic infrastructure, number of teachers across subjects and grades, transparent finances and governance.
Opportunity to fund professional education: NEP is looking to revive agriculture education with allied disciplines. Although agricultural universities comprise about 9 percent of all universities in the country, enrolment in agriculture and allied sciences is less than a percent of all enrolment in higher education.
Other areas where new universities of professional education will be encouraged include technical education, healthcare and legal education.Fillip to ed-tech companies: Investors could look at upcoming e-learning platforms in India as NEP 2020 is looking to push online learning and digital education to bridge the learning gap. A dedicated unit for the purpose of building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the education ministry. This unit is also expected to look into funding requirements and assist in getting investors on board.