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Back To School: Education Policy 2020

The New Education Policy (NEP) was launched on Wednesday, July 29 2020. India is all set to see the NEP after 34 years. The union cabinet has approved NEP 2020 which aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. It has proposed several structural changes in the primary as well as the higher education system. It has been developed after consultations for nearly 5 years with the general public and stakeholders. Let’s look at these changes closely.

Primary and early education:

  • Emphasis on language and mathematics from classes 1 to 3.

  • Basic Literacy and Numeracy to be included for children aged between 6 to 9 years.

  • The medium of instruction is going to be mother tongue / local language till class 5 and preferably till class 8 and beyond.

  • Preparatory class Balavatika has been introduced for children below the age of 5 and they will be taught by an ECCE qualified teacher.

  • The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/pre-schooling.

  • Coding will be taught from class 6.

  • Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships.

Higher Education:

  • 10 + 2 system has been now changed to 5+3+3+4 scheme corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.

  • The provision states to divide classes 9 to 12 into 8 semesters.

  • As per the new NEP, Board exams for class 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the aim.

  • Marksheet of 10th and 12th Board will have “Skills” and “Capabilities” section.

  • There will be variable models for board exams – annual, semester, modular exams.

  • Importance of the board exam to be reduced to decrease pressure, the exam can be conducted twice a year.

  • Higher School Curriculum will have the flexibility for subjects which mean there will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.

Other changes:

  • The NEP 2020 also provides for open learning for classes 3, 5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools, secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses, adult literacy and life-enrichment programs.

  • 360-degree holistic report card for students.

  • Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) will be established that will digitally store the academic credits earned by the students.

  • National assessment centre – PARAKH

  • E-contents in regional language.

  • AI-based assessment.

  • National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) will be created.

  • Virtual Labs will be developed.

  • Divyang friendly Education software.

  • Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Disadvantaged Region.

  • NCERT will develop a framework of the early childhood education of children up to the age of 8: National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE).


  • UG Colleges to be more Autonomous.

  • Students can pursue two Streams together.

  • Technology-based option for adult learning through apps, TV channels etc.

  • NTA to offer single common entrance exam to all colleges for admission to various courses

  • Undergraduate degree courses to have Multiple entries and exit programs with appropriate certification.

  • All courses at UG, PG, PhD level will be interdisciplinary.

  • Except for legal and medical colleges, all higher education institutions will be governed by a single regulatory body Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).

  • HECI will have 4 independent verticals:

  • National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,

  • General Education Council (GEC) for standard-setting,

  • Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and

  • National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.

  • MPhil courses to be discontinued under the new National Education Policy.

These wide-ranging reforms are aimed at making the Indian education system more contemporary and skill-oriented. The NEP also renamed the HRD (human resource development) ministry as the education ministry.

It is a progressive shift towards a more scientific approach to education. The 5+3+3+4 structure walks with the ability of the child – stages of cognitive development as well as social and physical awareness. If implemented in its true vision, the new structure would bring India at par with the leading countries of the world.

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