New Education Policy: Overhauling education system to meet new challenges

Nearly after 34 years, the Government of India has come up with a new education policy which aims to upgrade the school education and higher education systems as per the present need and to compete with the world class education systems. In 2014, the BJP had announced in its manifesto that it would bring in a new education policy (NEP) if voted to power.

Everything revamped from school to higher education system in NEP. In NEP, the present 10+2 will be replaced with 5+3+3+4. In the earlier system, pedagogy is almost the same from the age of 3 to age 16.

But, in the new system, pedagogical structure changes on the basis of the student year and class, because student mentality changes year by year. This is a major conceptual change in the school education system. Besides, NEP also has focused on more vocational studies, pre-schooling in Kendriya Vidyalayas, NCC wings in secondary and higher educational institutions, free boarding facilities at JNV to assist the poor students, teaching in mother tongue till class 5, conducting two times of board examinations and one out of them for improvement are some other changes in schooling system of NEP. 

In a country like India, where 19.1% of the population is in the age group of 19-24 for higher education study, many students are dropping their education after schooling due to many reasons. To fix this problem, NEP has set the target of achieving gross enrollment ratio of 50% by 2035; 3.5 crore seats to be added to the higher education system. NEP also focused on revamping the higher education system and set to bring new four higher education verticals under a single umbrella called Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). Four new independent higher education verticals are 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. The focus of new verticals would be reducing human interface which will ensure transparency and efficiency of work by using extensive technology. The purpose of separation of each vertical in the new HECI is relevant and meaningful to help the institutions in improving quality and their rankings in the world. 

Another perspective in NEP is the model of multidisciplinary, in the current world most of the research work is interdisciplinary. In that view, there shall be at least one multidisciplinary college in each district by 2030 and by 2040 every higher educational institute will be converted as a multidisciplinary college. Even engineering institutions like IITs and NITs will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary by including arts and humanities. So that arts and humanities students can also learn science and vice versa.  NEP also focused on reducing stress on students, to reduce the stress multi exit system has proposed, students can quit from a college in any year with a suitable certificate based on quitting year.

Indian educational institutions are facing the biggest problem is infrastructure, human resources due to lack of funding, presently educational institutions are getting just 1.7% of India’s GDP. As per NEP, educational institutions get 6% of India’s GDP by 2030. 

Still most of the universities in India are following traditional methods and unable to adopt the technology oriented world class methods, NEP may help the institutions to change their approach in teaching. By inviting top 100 foreign universities in India, Indian institutions can also have easy collaboration and can adopt world class methodologies in teaching. Some people are criticizing about foreign universities establishment in India, since it may lead to hiking of fees, for that there is fee regulator body to fix the fees. Every year more than 7,50,000 students are going abroad for higher studies and spending billions of dollars, by allowing foreign universities in India, students will show interest to study here rather than going to foreign countries.

With all these changes in school education and higher education system, NEP will be a groundbreaking move for the 21st century in the education system of India, still a long way to go for improving the quality and skill in Indian universities and students.