The New Education Policy that brought a Revolutionary Change
The main criticism regarding the education system in India was about being unsatisfactory, what changes can be brought and what can we learn from developed countries like Germany and Singapore. But recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the New Education Policy (NEP), 2020 addressing almost all the key points of the criticisms in their new policy.
I have to mention that the new system has brought a revolutionary change in the Indian education system.
Previously our educational system tried to suit the students into three categories after class X -Science, commerce and humanities. And that lead to an awfully difficult and sophisticated decision for the students since if you chose one stream, then you cannot study the subjects of the other streams. But more often the students are interested in a different variety of subjects. For instance, if someone opted for the science stream within the 11th standard and if he/she also had an interest in subjects like Social Science, then he/she couldn't have studied Social Science.
But now, the students have more openness to choose their subjects. Upon the implementation of this policy, a student can study Science, commerce as well as Arts subjects. This can be really a tremendous initiative. Now, the students would have so much more flexibility to decide on.
A second major change by the government is that they have replaced the present 10+2 academic structure with the 5+3+3+4 system now. Now, it has become more similar to the education system of the western developed countries.
In the 10+2 system, education began at the age of 6. In this new system, education would now start at the age of 3. Preschool would be from the age of 3 to 6 and then class 1 and 2 for the next two years. Then would be the "preparatory stage" for the subsequent 3 years in which focus would be upon playing, discovery and activity based classroom learning. Class 6 to 8 would be the center stage during which experiential learning would be focused upon sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences and humanities. Next would be the secondary stage of class 9-12 during which multi disciplinary studies would be focused upon students would be provided with more flexibility and more choices.
The government has implemented some structural changes to alter this mindset, which is praiseworthy. For example, right from class 6, students would have to do internships in vocational training jobs. This is a very critical thing without which, in my opinion, we cannot become a developed country until and unless these changes are implemented.
Another interesting and positive policy change is that the report cards handed to students at the year end.
Until now, the teachers assess how the student has performed in the entire year, according to them. Now, assessment will be done by not only the teachers, but the students will also self evaluate themselves and say how have they performed in the entire year, according to their perspectives.
Another important change is that the government has decided that atleast 6% of the GDP will now be spent on education. Right now, it is around 3% which is insufficient and compared to the developed countries and the rest of the developing countries, India spends very less on education in measure of the percentage of the GDP.
But a lot depends on implementation as well. How soon is the government able to achieve it. But obviously, as a first step, setting a target of 6% is commendable.There was a problem of rote learning in the Indian education system. Most of the exams are designed in a way that we need to memorize things. And all that we learnt, evaporates in a few months because we gave exams by rote learning. So, the government has also said that it would try and change this as well. The exams would be designed a way that would not require much memorization or rote learning.But how exactly this will be achieved is not clearly mentioned. So, it remains to be seen. I'm hopeful that positive changes will be implemented here as well.