After 34 years of National Education Policy released in 1986, on 29 July 2020, the country finally received the much-awaited new Education Policy 2020. The new education policy was definitely the need of the country and the BJP, in its election manifesto, promised to bring it as well. It is not that after 1986 there was no improvement in the education system of the country. If we observe, major changes were made in the curriculum in the last twenty years through the National Curriculum Framework 2000 and 2005.
The Right to Education Act 2009 has also proved to be a milestone in the field of primary and compulsory education. But in a big way, the new education policy 2020 is trying to lay the foundation of a radical change. Ever since this policy document has been announced, a period of arguments hopes – apprehensions has also begun.
Among the major policy changes in the new education policy, instead of 10 + 2 + 3, 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 is being mentioned under which children of 3 years of age will also come under formal education. Obviously, the scope of the Right to Education Act of 2009 is also going to get bigger. Until class five (up to class eight if possible), studying will happen in the mother tongue. Only after this, foreign language, i.e. English or other languages, will be studied.
There will be no board examination till 10th standard and the system of the examination will also be based on ‘ability based assessment’ rather than memory-based assessment. The Ministry of Human Resources will become the Ministry of Education. The student will be free to choose subjects. With any class, subjects of the unaffiliated class can be taken from it, that is, a student of science class will now be able to choose subjects of music or theatre or humanities. M Phil will be discontinued in higher education and there will be a variety of options for undergraduates and postgraduates. The most important thing is that there will be an effort to bring the spending on education up to 6% of GDP.
There is much more in this new education policy, which seems very attractive to see, but when it comes to implementing them, we find it is a herculean task. There is no mention of any concrete plan for achieving the goals stated in this policy, the target of spending on education up to 6% of GDP, which is being repeated for the last fifty years, if it will be achieved or not is doubtful. Because the statistics show that this expenditure is constantly decreasing.
This policy document also indicates an acceleration in the privatization of education, because the government school system will not take responsibility for ensuring quality. It is obvious that education for the deprived sections will increase difficulties further. More than one lakh primary schools are running with one single teacher all over the country. The schools lack basic needs such as sports grounds and sports equipment, library, toilets, furniture, pure drinking water.
In such a situation, education through the online medium will prove to be a sham, in whose name some part of the government budget will be spent, but its benefits will not reach the children. This can be gauged by seeing the condition of the schools where the concept of digital class was implemented at present. The new education policy talks about multi-disciplinary higher educational institutions which will eliminate subject-oriented specialized institutions.
This will negatively affect the role of India in this era of high quality and special needs of young people. The new education policy will promote corporatization in education, will pose a threat of decentralization of education and will create separate classes in higher education institutions. Although, all kinds of arguments are being made in favour of the new education policy. The Left and right-wing are discussing the shortcomings and merits of this document in their own way.
What will happen is in the pit of the future, but it is important that the practical aspect of implementing this education policy is very weak. The goals have been set, but how will this happen, either silence will prevail or privatisation will happen. There is also a possibility that the language dispute may once again be renewed. The new education policy is the need of the country, it would be better than the government once again rethink its practical aspects before implementing it and the legal provisions for achieving the goals by removing the flaws and not just by providing for them. Education policy is a very sensitive issue related to the future of the country. This requires extensive debate and discussion.