The Cabinet on July 29 gave its nod to the National Education Policy. Consequently, the Human Resource Development Ministry has been renamed as the Ministry of Education.
"The education policy has been changed after 34 years and this is a historic moment," said Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar.
The National Education Plan proposes far-reaching changes in the system of education not only in India. It also wants a self-sufficient domestic ranking system for Indian educational institutes.
Flexible entry and exit into higher educational institutions
Under the new system, flexibility will be given to students both in choosing the subjects for education as well as in the entry and exit in college degree programmes.
Any student can exit a degree programme from the first year onwards if he/she wants only a certificate. Once two years are completed, a diploma will be awarded and post the completion of the three-year or four-year curriculum, the degree will be awarded.
No rigid subject system for arts, science or commerce
The National Education Policy will put a thrust on use of mother tongue as medium of instruction till the fifth grade. Further, subjects wouldn't be restricted to students purely based on their educational background.
This means an engineering student could study a course in History while a humanities student can take Physics or Mathematics as a subject. This will be allowed in both schools and colleges. This means that the entire academic curriculum will be over-hauled to allow transfer of credits between subjects and disciplines.
Further, M.Phil programme will be discontinued. Students can also do a four-year degree programme, one-year Masters and then directly go to the doctoral programme.
School education reforms
There will be a five plus three plus three plus four system. Here, the first five years will be focussed on the getting strong foundational basics. Then the next three years will be focussed on exploring various subjects of education.
It is just a change in pedagogy and not change in the curriculum. From Class VI, students can also get access to areas like coding that will be essential for their academic future.
There will not be a difference between academics and extra curricular activities. Hence, this means that sports activities will be given equal importance as say English or Mathematics.
School students will also get an opportunity to do vocational education programmes under the new policy from the sixth grade. So, a student could be sent to a local carpentar or artisan to understand their work patterns and skill-sets.
Single regulator for higher education
Instead of having different regulatory bodies like All India Council for Technical Education, University Grants Commission and other local niche entities, there will be one single higher education regulator.
This includes legal education and medical education as well. There will be an independent board of governors and a graded autonomy system will be launched.