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India’s New Education Policy 2020 Decoded

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Are you confused about the New Education Policy, 2020? Are you tired of too much analysis and opinions with too little information about what it says?

NEP 2020
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Here is a clear and crisp point-wise description of all the salient points of the New Education Policy (NEP, 2020). As far as views and opinions are concerned, we would like to hear them from you!


  • The last National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992.
  • Aimed at overcoming this decades-old fall-behind in the country’s education system, the consultation for a new national education policy started in Jan 2015.
  • Meetings and deliberations at all levels of governance in India, from Gram-Panchayat level right up to the National level, were made.
  • The Draft National Education Policy, 2019, was translated into 22 languages and shared with all stakeholders inviting recommendations.
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Salient Points of New Education Policy, 2020


  • The overall holistic development of an individual.
  • A shift towards critical thinking rather than rote learning.
  • Promoting multilingualism.
  • Promoting a deep sense of respect for constitutional values, constitutional rights, and duties.
  • Promoting a sense of pride in the Indian Nation and its ethos.
  • The policy endorses a substantial increase in public funding of education. The central and state governments will aim to increase the total expenditure on education from 4.43% to 6% of the GDP at the earliest. Another major overall change is that the Ministry of Human Resource Development will become the Ministry of Education again.

School Education

NEP 2020
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Restructuring Of School Education Into (5+3+3+4) Design

a. Foundational stage (consisting of two parts)

i. 3 years of Anganwadi/preschool (covering ages 3–6)

ii. 2 years of primary school (Grades 1–2) (covering ages (6–8)

Pedagogy — Flexible and multi-level activity-based learning.

b. Preparatory stage — Grades 3–5, covering ages of 8–11

Pedagogy — Along with play/activity-based learning, formal modes such as text-books will be introduced.

c. Middle stage — Grades 6–8, covering ages of 11–14

Pedagogy — Introduction of subject teachers and learning of more abstract concepts in each subject.

d. Secondary stage — Grades 9–12, covering ages 14–18

Pedagogy — Multi-disciplinary study. The policy promises much greater flexibility in the choice of subjects to students. Hard division of science and arts-based subjects will be relaxed to promote more innovative combinations of subjects.

The policy emphasizes that these changes in school education structure are mainly pedagogical and curricular without involving major changes in physical infrastructure.

Special Focus On The Youngest Of The Young Indians

NEP 2020
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Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)

  • Currently, only a section of India’s upper and middle classes enjoy the privilege to provide high-quality early childhood education to their children in the form of private preschools. A large section of the youngest of the young Indians is denied this opportunity.
  • The NEP, 2020 proposes ECCE to overcome this gap.
  • The ECCE aims to ensure that by 2030 all students entering grade 1 are school ready.
  • The emphasis will be on physical and motor development, cognitive development, and learning to count, alphabets, etc. through puzzles, games, arts and crafts based pedagogy.
  • NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for ECCE (NCPF-ECCE).
  • The ECCE will be delivered through Anganwadis and pre-primary schools. Anganwadi workers who have completed +2 will be given special training in the pedagogy of ECCE.
  • Responsibility of implementation of ECCE to be shared jointly by MHRD, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Tribal Affairs.

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (Urgent Priority)

NEP 2020
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  • Various surveys indicate that more than 5 crore students in elementary school do not have basic reading and numerical abilities that are a pre-requisite to any kind of further learning.
  • The policy puts the highest and the most urgent priority on the development of the ability to read and comprehend basic text and on the ability to carry out basic addition and subtraction.
  • The aim is that every student in grade 3 will attain foundational literacy and numeracy by 2025.
  • A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will be set up by MHRD.
  •  The policy mandates all state/UT governments to immediately prepare an implementation plan to achieve this goal.
  • A national repository, especially for this, will be made on the DIKHSA platform (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing).

Other Key Announcements Regarding School Education

  • An energizing breakfast is proposed to be added to mid-day meals so as to ensure that the students don’t have to study empty stomach till afternoon.
  • Special focus on curtailing dropout rates.
  • The policy aims at a 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio in preschool to secondary level by 2030.
  • Tracking students, engaging with them, and providing a friendly and healthy school environment will be emphasized to achieve this.
  • Distance learning programs will be extended for those who can’t physically come to schools.
  • Moving away from rote learning to critical thinking.
  • Accumulative assessment (spread over the whole year) rather than summative assessment (in the form of one exam) to stop the menace of “coaching.”
  • Experiential learning to be emphasized.
  • Art and sports integration and a few bagless school days have been proposed.
  • The policy lays down that wherever possible, the medium of learning will be local language/mother-tongue till 8th grade. Bilingual text-books in all key subjects, including Mathematics and Science, will be made available.
  • The present policy of frequent teacher transfers will be discontinued. Teacher transfers will be done in exceptional cases only.
  • Each teacher will be expected to attend a minimum of 50 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) sessions, which will enhance their teaching and pedagogical skills.
NEP 2020
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Higher Education

  • The policy document identifies some key problems in higher education, such as fragmentation of disciplines, limited institutional autonomy, less emphasis on research, and an ineffective regulatory system.
  • Focus on multi-disciplinarity in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) a significant policy decision.
  • Three types of universities are envisaged
    a.) Research-intensive universities
    b.) Teaching-intensive universities
    c.) Autonomous Degree-granting College (mainly for UG studies)
  • The policy sets the aim that by 2040, all HEIs will become multi-disciplinary institutions.
  • Current engineering colleges and universities will have new departments in fields of liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences.
  • The present nomenclature of “deemed university,” “affiliating university,” etc., will cease to exist.
  • Higher education will have multiple exits and entry points.
  • Two types of undergraduate degrees will be offered.
    a.) 3-year Programme with exit options each year with appropriate certifications and diplomas.
    b.) 4-year Programme (preferred). Some of the students may also opt for a 4 year Degree with research which will allow them to pursue PhD straightaway.
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  • Dropping out after one year will fetch a certificate
  • Dropping out after 2 years will fetch an advanced diploma
  • M.Phil has been scrapped. HEIs have been given more autonomy to come up with innovative masters’ programs preferably of multi-disciplinary nature
  • The policy provides for setting up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs) at par with IITs and IIMs
  • PhD students will have to mandatorily teach for a minimum number of hours in the form of teaching assistantship. They will also have to attend courses in teaching, pedagogy, and writing.
  • A National Research Foundation will be set up with an aim to promote, fund, and recognize high-quality research across India. The earlier funding bodies, such as DST, will continue as it is.
  • A regulatory policy based on the principle of “light but tight” will be followed to curb commercialization of higher education.
  • Internationalization of Indian Universities will be done through exchange programs and special MOUs with foreign universities.
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Source: Salvatore Ventura on Unsplash

India being a young, developing country, education should be one of our topmost priorities. NEP, 2020 promises many things but, “any policy is only as good as its implementation.” This is just the beginning of a long journey towards a well-educated India!

Reference: National Education Policy 2020, India

Author: Mr Sameer Pendharker, Doctoral Researcher at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay | Writer, and Researcher at Be a Bridge for Change | Development Sector Enthusiast | Blogger
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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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