India/October 29, 2022/By: Ritika Amit Kumar in Voices, Lifestyle, TOI/Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
The Ministry of education float this republic day showed VR and Metaverse. This in itself shows how dynamic things are set to become and adds to the growing need for a fresh outlook in India’s education system has made way for the New Education Policy which was launched in 2020. This much-needed policy was essentially designed to eliminate all gaps and old patterns to provide a New Age, centralised and comprehensive education to all students.
The core vision of the Indian government behind launching NEP was to provide a holistic education system that is rooted in the Indian ethos and contributes directly to the rapidly transforming India. It acknowledges the diverse facets of global education and has outlined the policy to be inclusive and empowering for not just students but also for teachers.
It includes recognizing teacher training and development along with extending the quality and experiential learning to all students. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the National Education Policy is that it explicitly acknowledges that teacher training will include sensitivity towards all genders equally and will cater to learning disabilities and special abilities of students.
From the curriculum point of view, the policy categorises education in a 5+3+3+4 curriculum structure replacing the standard and limiting 10+2 format with stages that comprise of –
Foundational Stage – Early childhood classes and classes 1-2 for students aged 3-8 years.
Preparatory Stage – Classes 3-5 for students aged 8-11 years.
Middle Stage – Classes 6-8 for students aged 11-14 years
Secondary Stage – Classes 9-12 for students aged 14-18 years.
In many ways, this new structure paves the way for an improved learning environment and sculpts the system to facilitate global education.
1. Laying the foundation
One of the core aspects of how NEP lays a strong foundation and reshapes the current education is by designing a flexible early childhood education system. The policy states that over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs prior to the age of 6 and thus indicates the critical importance of appropriate care and stimulation of the brain in the early years.
To ensure this brain development and growth, schools will now have anganwadis and preschools in the Foundation Stage for kids aged 0-3 years. Here, children are welcomed with inquiry-based and play-way learning methods along with basic activities. This early childhood education also acts as a framework that serves as a guide for both parents and for early childhood care and education institutions. The medium of education here will follow the student’s mother tongue thus bridging the disconnect between global and local languages.
This further extends into the 3-8 year age group with experiential learning imparted through foundational literacy and numeracy. Enlightening students in this interactive manner prepares them to adapt to new forms of knowledge and enhances their thought processes.
2. Empowering students through diversity in learning
Changing the school dynamics with Preparatory, Middle and Secondary stages for students, the NEP aims to make education experiential, integrated and inquiry-driven along with being learner-centred, flexible, and enjoyable. This is a huge change when compared to the current educational curriculum which is entirely focused on textbook learning.
With the New Education Policy, students will get access to personalised learning and one where the nature of assessment will no longer be exam-oriented. Moreover, the policy also encourages the integration of art, sports and more leading to the elimination of the bias of curricular over co-curricular activities. It also promotes the choice of the subject over traditional streams and promotes capitalising on each student’s areas of excellence.
This pragmatic shift in the curriculum will be achieved by means of incorporating –
Improved evaluation and assessment methods – The policy has roped in an external agency called PARAKH which will provide a new national assessment platform. The platform will aim to analyze students’ strengths, weaknesses, gaps and potential and focus on enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving.
Quality and affordable education will be made accessible in three languages with regional languages, Hindi and English. Instructions in the first five grades will be taught in regional languages instead of English in order to make it easier for students to learn regional languages. Sanskrit will also be a part of this at both school and college levels.
Vocational education and internships as a part of the curriculum will start from grade 6 i.e. middle school.
Fun and activity-based courses like carpentry, electric work, metal work- this should include robotics, programming etc.
Integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Promoting diverse subject choices. For example, a child could choose basic math with fashion design, or advanced math with physics, depending on his competency and interest.
The policy thereby ensures that critical thinking is imparted in students and also leaves room for gifted children to pursue a more advanced level of learning in the subjects that interest them.
3. Promoting experiential education with pedagogy
While the NEP forms an essential framework for students, it also does not forget to highlight the need to empower teachers. It understands that only quality teaching can execute this transformation and has thus, developed excellent policies for teacher training and pedagogy.
A National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) is to be created to determine all aspects of Teacher Career Management including –
- Salaries, promotions, and recognition.
- Continuous professional development to enhance teaching quality, leadership, and school management along with implementing competency-based learning.
- Teacher Audits or Merit Based Performance Appraisals which will be carried out at regular intervals and be the key factor replacing appraisals based on seniority or length of tenure.
- Additionally, this teacher training is designed to educate teachers in a way that bridges gaps between castes and all genders including LGBTQ, socio-economic groups, learning disabilities, special children, etc. These make way for a more progressive and open-minded school environment that let students grow confident in their individuality.
4. Encouraging life-long learning
Through this elaborate and noteworthy switch of introducing experiential and adaptive learning formats, the NEP aims to promote education that continues even after one graduates from school. It empowers students to understand their strengths and weakness early on in their growing years that in turn become their guiding force to a successful professional life.
Moreover, it prepares them for a continuous learning journey and teaches them to adapt to new situations flexibly. Not to forget the essential cognitive development this policy is sure to impart in every child. It is this change that makes all the difference and manoeuvres institutions in a new direction especially when one compares NEP with the traditional Indian education curriculum.