The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 has proposed significant changes in the Indian education system. The NEP 2020 became India’s third National Education Policy after the National Education Policy of 1968 and the National Education Policy of 1986 (which was revised in 1992). Education is a subject on the concurrent list and hence, both the Centre as well as the States are entitled to frame laws in this respect. Recently, Karnataka became the first state to pass an order for the implementation of NEP 2020.
Some of the major highlights of NEP 2020 are the introduction of a 4-year undergraduate course which would be multi-disciplinary in nature, a “5+3+3+4” formula, abolishing the M Phil programme, etc. The new education policy also aims at making all colleges and universities multidisciplinary in nature by 2040. It provides that children may be taught in regional language or mother tongue up to class V. Furthermore, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has been renamed to Ministry of Education.
The policy also proposes permitting foreign universities to set up their campuses in India. It provides that the top 100 universities in the world would be allowed to open their campuses in India. The policy aims at permitting students to give the Board exam twice. The NEP 2020 also proposes the setting up of a National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021.
The Policy sets certain ambitious targets in terms of increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). It aims at increasing the GER to 50% (from the present GER of 26.3%) in the higher education level by 2035. Furthermore, the policy proposes the setting up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) which would be institutes of high standards of multi-disciplinary education. The policy stipulates the setting up of a National Research Foundation for promoting research and creating a strong research culture. The policy provides for the ending of the affiliation system of colleges in a phased manner in the next 15 years.
The policy also aims at providing free breakfast as well as free lunch in government schools. This will help in enhancing the physical as well as mental growth of the children.
The policy also envisages the setting up of the National Higher Education Regulatory Council as the apex umbrella body for all higher education courses except law and medical courses. However, this proposal is likely to face resistance by the various States. It must be noted that NEP 2020 is not a law but a policy and hence it is directory in nature and not mandatory.
All these proposals will certainly require a huge amount of funds, The NEP 2020 aims to increase the public investment to 6% of GDP in the education sector.
The National Education Policy, 2020 is certainly a progressive state. It aims at transforming the education sector in India to bring it in line with the demands of the 21st century. The policy, if followed in its letter and spirit, would certainly achieve its aim of making India a global knowledge superpower.\
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