- New Education policy envisages that the extant 10+2 structure in school education will be modified with a new pedagogical and curricular restructuring of 5+3+3+4 covering ages 3-18.
- Currently, children in the age group of 3-6 are not covered in the 10+2 structure as Class 1 begins at age 6. In the new 5+3+3+4 structure, a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from age three is also included, which is aimed at promoting better overall learning, development, and well-being.
- NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8 in two parts, namely, a sub-framework for 0-3 year-olds, and a sub-framework for 3-8 year-olds.
- The highest priority of the education system will be to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school by 2025. The rest of this Policy will become relevant for our students only if this most basic learning requirement (i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic at the foundational level) is first achieved. The Ministry of Education will set up a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
- A pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of under 30:1 will be ensured at the level of each school; areas having large numbers of socio-economically disadvantaged students will aim for a PTR of under 25:1.
- A national repository of high-quality resources on foundational literacy and numeracy will be made available on the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA).
- Peer tutoring can be taken up as a voluntary and joyful activity for fellow students under the supervision of trained teachers and by taking due care of safety aspects.
- Enjoyable and inspirational books for students at all levels will be developed, including through high-quality translation in all local and Indian languages. They will be made available extensively in both school and local public libraries. A National Book Promotion Policy will be formulated, and extensive initiatives will be undertaken to ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, and readership of books across geographies, languages, levels, and genres.
- Research shows that the morning hours after a nutritious breakfast can be incredibly productive for the study of cognitively more demanding subjects and hence these hours may be leveraged by providing a simple but energizing breakfast in addition to midday meals. In locations where hot meals are not possible, a simple but nutritious meal, e.g., groundnuts/chana mixed with jaggery and/or local fruits may be provided.
- 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.
- Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Programmes offered by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), and State Open Schools will be expanded and strengthened for meeting the learning needs of young people in India who are not able to attend a physical school.
Flexibility in course choices
- Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills – so that they can design their own paths of study and life plans. Holistic development and a wide choice of subjects and courses year to year will be the new distinguishing feature of secondary school education. There will be no hard separation among ‘curricular’, ‘extracurricular’, or ‘co-curricular’, among ‘arts’, ‘humanities’, and ‘sciences’, or between ‘vocational’ or ‘academic’ streams. Subjects such as physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills, in addition to science, humanities, and mathematics, will be incorporated throughout the school curriculum, with a consideration for what is interesting and safe at each age.
Multilingualism and the power of language
- The medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother-tongue/local language/regional language. After that, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. Both public and private schools will follow this. Textbooks, including in science, will be made available in home languages/mother tongue. All efforts will be made to ensure that any gaps that exist between the language spoken by the child and the medium of teaching are bridged.
- The three-language formula will continue to be implemented to promote multilingualism as well as promote national unity. However, there will be greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State. The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course, the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.
- The importance, relevance, and beauty of the languages and literature of India also cannot be overlooked. Sanskrit, an important modern language possesses classical literature that is greater in volume than that of Latin and Greek put together, containing vast treasures of mathematics, philosophy, grammar, music, politics, medicine, architecture, metallurgy, drama, poetry, storytelling, and more (known as ‘Sanskrit Knowledge Systems’), written by people over thousands of years.
- Sanskrit will thus be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an important, enriching option for students, including as an option in the three-language formula.
- In addition to Sanskrit, other classical languages and literature of India, including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali, Persian, and Prakrit, will also be widely available in schools as options for students, possibly as online modules.
- For the enrichment of the children, and for the preservation of these rich languages and their artistic treasures, all students in all schools, public or private, will have the option of learning at least two years of a classical language of India and its associated literature, in Grades 6-12, with the option to continue from the middle stage through the secondary stage and beyond.
- 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, to learn about the cultures of the world and to enrich their global knowledge and mobility according to their own interests and aspirations.
- Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country. Local sign languages will be respected and taught as well, where possible and relevant.
Curricular Integration of Essential Subjects, Skills, and Capacities
- Concerted curricular and pedagogical initiatives, including the introduction of contemporary subjects such as Artificial Intelligence, Design Thinking, Holistic Health, Organic Living, Environmental Education, Global Citizenship Education (GCED), etc. at relevant stages.
- Mathematics and computational thinking will be given increased emphasis throughout the school years, starting with the foundational stage as they will be significant for India’s future in the numerous upcoming fields and professions that will involve artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, etc.
- Every student during 6-8 grades will experience the important vocational crafts, such as carpentry, electric work, metalwork, gardening, pottery making, etc., as decided by local skilling needs. All students will participate in a 10-day bagless period sometime during Grades 6-8 where they intern with local vocational experts such as carpenters, gardeners, potters, artists, etc. Vocational courses through online mode will also be made available.
- Bagless days will be encouraged throughout the year for various types of enrichment activities involving arts, quizzes, sports, and vocational crafts. Children will be given periodic exposure to activities outside school through visits to places/monuments of historical, cultural and tourist importance, meeting local artists and craftsmen and visits higher educational institutions in their village/Tehsil/District/State.
- Knowledge from ancient India and its contributions to modern India concerning education, health, environment, etc. will be incorporated accurately and scientifically throughout the school curriculum wherever relevant.
- Tribal knowledge and indigenous and traditional ways of learning will be covered and included in mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, yoga, architecture, medicine, agriculture, engineering, linguistics, literature, sports, games, as well as in governance, polity, conservation.
- Specific courses in tribal ethnomedicinal practices, forest management, traditional (organic) crop cultivation, natural farming, etc. will also be made available.
- An engaging course on Indian Knowledge Systems will also be available to students in a secondary school as an elective.
- Children will have the opportunity to read and learn from the original stories of the Panchatantra, Jataka, Hitopadesh, and other fun fables and inspiring tales from the Indian tradition and learn about their influences on global literature.
- Excerpts from the Indian Constitution and basic training preventive health, mental health, good nutrition, personal and public hygiene, disaster response and first-aid will also be included in the curriculum, as well as scientific explanations of the detrimental and damaging effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE)
- The formulation of a new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be undertaken by the NCERT. The NCFSE document shall henceforth be revisited and updated once every 5-10 years, taking into account the frontline curriculum.
Transforming Assessment for Student Development
- The progress card will be a holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report that reflects the progress as well as the uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. It will include self-assessment and peer assessment, and improvement of the child in project-based and inquiry-based learning, quizzes, role plays, group work, portfolios, etc., along with teacher assessment. It would also provide teachers and parents with valuable information on how to support each student in and out of the classroom.
- AI-based software could be developed and used by students to help track their growth through their school years based on learning data and interactive questionnaires for parents, students, and teachers, to provide students with valuable information on their strengths, areas of interest, and needed areas of focus, and to thereby help them make optimal career choices.
- While the Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, the existing system of Board and entrance examinations shall be reformed to eliminate the need for undertaking coaching classes. Board exams will also be made ‘easier’, in the sense that they will test primarily core capacities/competencies rather than months of coaching and memorization. Further, all students will be allowed to take Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired.
- To track progress throughout the school years, and not just at the end of Grades 10 and 12 – for the benefit of students, parents, teachers, principals, and the entire schooling system in planning improvements to schools and teaching-learning processes – all students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority. The Grade 3 examination, in particular, would test basic literacy, numeracy, and other foundational skills.
- National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be established as a standard-setting body for setting norms, standards, and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognized school boards of India to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.
- The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct university exams. It will work to offer a common aptitude test, and specialized common subject exams in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year. These exams shall test conceptual understanding and the ability to apply knowledge and shall aim to eliminate the need for taking coaching for these exams.
Teachers’ Recruitment and Deployment
- Teacher Eligibility Tests (TETs) will be strengthened and also be extended to cover teachers across all stages (Foundational, Preparatory, Middle and Secondary) of school education.
- For subject teachers, suitable TET or NTA test scores in the corresponding subjects will also be taken into account for recruitment. And a classroom demonstration or interview will become an integral part of teacher hiring at schools. Teachers in private schools also must qualify similarly through TET, a demonstration/interview, and knowledge of the local language.
- Schools will be encouraged to hire local eminent persons or experts as ‘master instructors’ in various subjects, such as in traditional local arts, vocational crafts, entrepreneurship, agriculture, or any other subject where local expertise exists, to benefit students and help preserve and promote local knowledge and professions.
- Teachers will be given continuous opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations and advances in their professions. Each teacher will be expected to participate in at least 50 hours of CPD opportunities every year for their own professional development, driven by their own interests.
- A common guiding set of National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by 2022, by the National Council for Teacher Education in its restructured new form as a Professional Standard Setting Body (PSSB). The professional standards will be reviewed and revised in 2030, and after that every ten years, based on rigorous empirical analysis of the efficacy of the system.
- A National Mission for Mentoring shall be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty – including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages – who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring to university/college teachers.
Approach to Teacher Education
- By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed degree that teaches a range of knowledge content and pedagogy and includes strong practicum training in the form of student-teaching at local schools.
- The 2-year B.Ed. programmes will be intended only for those who have already obtained Bachelor’s Degrees in other specialized subjects. The 1-year B.Ed. programmes will be offered only to those who have completed the equivalent of 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degrees or who have obtained a Master’s degree in a speciality.
- A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.
Equitable and Inclusive Education: Learning for All
- The Government of India will constitute a ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ to build the nation’s capacity to provide equitable quality education for all girls as well as transgender students.
- The fund will be available to States to implement priorities determined by the Central government for assisting female and transgender children in gaining access to education (such as the provisions of sanitation and toilets, bicycles, conditional cash transfers, etc.).
- Under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, State Governments may encourage opening NCC wings in their secondary and higher secondary schools. It will enable harnessing the natural talent and unique potential of students, that would help them to aspire to a successful career in the defence forces.
- To enhance cooperation and synergy among schools, including between public and private schools, the pairing of one public school with one private school will be adopted across the country, so that such paired schools may interact with each other, learn from each other, and also share resources. Best practices of private schools will be documented, shared, and institutionalized in public schools, and vice versa, where possible.
- Every State will be encouraged to strengthen existing or establish “Bal Bhavans” where children of all ages can visit once a week or more often, as a special daytime boarding school, to partake in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities.
- Further, the un-utilized capacity of school infrastructure could be used to promote social, intellectual, and volunteer activities for the community and to promote social cohesion during non-teaching / schooling hours and may be used as a “Samajik Chetna Kendra”.
Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education
- The Department of School Education, which is the apex state-level body in school education, will be responsible for overall monitoring and policymaking for continual improvement of the public education system.
- The Directorate of School Education will handle the educational operations and service provision for the public schooling system of the whole State. It will work independently to implement policies regarding educational operations and provision.
- To ensure that all schools follow certain minimal professional and quality standards, States/UTs will set up an independent, State-wide, body called the State School Standards Authority (SSSA).
- The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through wide consultations with all stakeholders.
Quality Universities and Colleges: A New and Forward-looking Vision for India’s Higher Education System
The policy’s vision includes the following key changes to the current system:
- Moving towards a higher educational system consisting of large, multidisciplinary universities and colleges, with at least one in or near every district, and with more HEIs across India that offer a medium of instruction or programmes in local/Indian languages.
- Moving towards faculty and institutional autonomy.
- Revamping curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and student support for enhanced student experiences.
- Establishment of a National Research Foundation to fund outstanding peer-reviewed research and to actively seed research in universities and colleges.
- “Light but tight” regulation by a single regulator for higher education.
- By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions and to have larger student enrolments preferably in the thousands. Since this process will take time, all HEIs will firstly plan to become multidisciplinary by 2030, and then gradually increase student strength to the desired levels.
Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education
- Engineering institutions, such as IITs, will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education with more arts and humanities.
- Global Citizenship Education (GCED), a response to contemporary global challenges, will be provided to empower learners to become aware of and understand global issues and to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure, and sustainable societies.
- The undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications, e.g., a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme.
- The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme, however, shall be the preferred option since it allows the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multidisciplinary education in addition to a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choices of the student.
- An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognized HEIs. The 4-year programme may also lead to a degree ‘with Research’ if the student completes a rigorous research project in their major area(s) of study as specified by the HEI.
- HEIs will have the flexibility to offer different designs of Master’s programmes: (a) there may be a 2-year programme with the second year devoted entirely to research for those who have completed the 3-year Bachelor’s programme; (b) for students completing a 4-year Bachelor’s programme with Research, there could be a 1-year Master’s programme; and (c) there may be an integrated 5-year Bachelor’s/Master’s programme. Undertaking a PhD shall require either a Master’s degree or a 4-year Bachelor’s degree with Research. The M.Phil programme shall be discontinued.
- Model public universities for holistic and multidisciplinary education, at par with IITs, IIMs, etc., called MERUs (Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities) will be set up and will aim to attain the highest global standards in quality education.
Reimagining Vocational Education
- By 2025, at least 50% of learners through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education, for which a clear action plan with targets and timelines will be developed.
- This policy aims to overcome the social status hierarchy associated with vocational education and requires the integration of vocational education programmes into mainstream education in all educational institutions in a phased manner.
- Beginning with vocational exposure at early ages in middle and secondary school, quality vocational education will be integrated smoothly into higher education. It will ensure that every child learns at least one vocation and is exposed to several more.
- Vocational education will be integrated into the educational offerings of all secondary schools in a phased manner over the next decade. Towards this, secondary schools will also collaborate with ITIs, polytechnics, local industry, etc.
- Skill labs will also be set up and created in the schools in a hub and spoke model, which will allow other schools to use the facility.
- The Ministry of Education will constitute a National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE), consisting of experts in vocational education and representatives from across Ministries, in collaboration with industry, to oversee this effort.
National Research Foundation
- The policy envisions the establishment of a National Research Foundation (NRF). The overarching goal of the NRF will be to enable a culture of research to permeate through our universities. The NRF will competitively fund research in all disciplines.
Transforming the Regulatory System of Higher Education
- The regulatory system of higher education will ensure that the distinct functions of regulation, accreditation, funding, and academic standard setting will be performed by different, independent, and empowered bodies. These four structures will be set up as four separate verticals within one umbrella institution, the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).
- The first vertical of HECI will be the National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC). It will function as the common, single point regulator for the higher education sector, including teacher education and excluding medical and legal education.
- The second vertical of HECI will be the National Accreditation Council (NAC). Accreditation of institutions will be based primarily on basic norms, public self-disclosure, good governance, and outcomes.
- The third vertical of HECI will be the Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC), which will carry out funding and financing of higher education. HEGC will be entrusted with the disbursement of scholarships and developmental funds for launching new focus areas and expanding quality programme offerings at HEIs across disciplines and fields.
- The fourth vertical of HECI will be the General Education Council (GEC), which will frame expected learning outcomes for higher education programmes, also referred to as ‘graduate attributes’. The GEC will formulate a National Higher Education Qualification Framework (NHEQF), and it shall be in sync with the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) to ease the integration of vocational education into higher education.
- The professional councils, such as the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), Veterinary Council of India (VCI), National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), Council of Architecture (CoA), National Council for Vocational Education and Training (NCVET) etc., will act as Professional Standard-Setting Bodies (PSSBs). These bodies, after restructuring as PSSBs, will continue to draw the curricula, lay down academic standards and coordinate between teaching, research and extension of their domain/discipline, as members of the GEC.
Effective Governance of Higher Education Institutions
- Through a suitable system of graded accreditation and graded autonomy, and in a phased manner over 15 years, all HEIs in India will aim to become independent self-governing institutions pursuing innovation and excellence.
- Stand-alone agricultural universities, legal universities, health science universities, technical universities, and stand-alone institutions in other fields, shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions offering holistic and multidisciplinary education.
- An outstanding adult education curriculum framework will be developed by a new and well-supported constituent body of the NCERT that is dedicated to adult education. It will prepare curricula for literacy, numeracy, basic education, vocational skills, and beyond.
- Suitable infrastructure will be ensured so that all interested adults will have access to adult education and lifelong learning.
- Improving the availability and accessibility of books is essential to inculcate the habit of reading within our communities and educational institutions.
Promotion of Indian Languages, Arts, and Culture
- High-quality programmes and degrees in Translation and Interpretation, Art and Museum Administration, Archaeology, Artefact Conservation, Graphic Design, and Web Design within the higher education system will also be created. It will further strengthen the tourism industry in India.
- An Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) will be established to make high-quality learning materials and other vital written and spoken material available to the public in various Indian and foreign languages.
- Sanskrit will be mainstreamed with strong offerings in school – including as one of the language options in the three-language formula – as well as in higher education due to its vast and significant contributions and literature across genres and subjects, its cultural significance, and its scientific nature.
- Sanskrit teachers in large numbers will be professionalized across the country in mission mode through the offering of 4-year integrated multidisciplinary B.Ed. dual degrees in education and Sanskrit.
- It is also proposed that a new institution for Languages will be established. National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit will also be set up.
- Sanskrit teachers in large numbers will be professionalized across the country in mission mode through the offering of 4-year integrated multidisciplinary B.Ed. dual degrees in education and Sanskrit.
- For each of the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, Academies will be established consisting of some of the greatest scholars and native speakers to determine simple yet accurate vocabulary for the latest concepts, and to release the latest dictionaries regularly (analogous to the successful efforts for many other languages around the world).
Technology Use and Integration
- An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration, and so on, both for school and higher education.
- A rich variety of educational software will be developed and made available for students and teachers at all levels. All such software will be available in all major Indian languages and will be accessible to a wide range of users, including students in remote areas and Divyang students.
- Universities will aim to offer PhD and Masters programmes in core areas such as Machine Learning as well as multidisciplinary fields “AI + X” and professional areas like health care, agriculture, and law.
- A dedicated unit to orchestrate the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building, will be created to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education.
Strengthening and empowering of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) which will have a much greater mandate and not only a forum for widespread consultation and examination of issues relating to educational and cultural development. The remodelled and rejuvenated CABE shall also be responsible for developing, articulating, evaluating, and revising the vision of education in the country continuously.
To bring the focus back on education and learning, it is desirable that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) be re-designated as the Ministry of Education (MoE).
The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest. This is considered extremely critical for achieving the high-quality and equitable public education system that is genuinely needed for India’s future economic, social, cultural, intellectual, and technological progress and growth.
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