A comprehensive education policy for India is on the anvil for the first time since 1986. India’s education system, is plagued by a number of problems and shortcomings such as huge dropout rates, shortage in the number of teachers, incompetent curriculum and so on.
To deal with such issues, the draft National Education Policy developed by a committee chaired by Dr K Kasturirangan was shared on May 31 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
So what are some of the key aspects of the draft National Education Policy, 2019?
Firstly, high-quality early childhood care and education will be provided for all children between the ages of three and six by 2025.
This will be done within schools and anganwadis, which will take care of the overall well-being of the child, be it nutritional, health, or education.
Secondly, every student will get foundational literacy by 2025 to address the issue of students not being able to read, write and do elementary math.
The draft also proposes to transform curricular and pedagogical structure for school education. There will be no separation of curricular and extra-curricular areas, with both having equal importance. Examination systems too will be radically changed to assess real learning, make them stress-free.
The committee also recommends the extension of the Right to Education Act to cover children of ages 3 to 18, from the current 6 to 14 age group. All schools will also be fully resourced with teachers. No ‘temporary’ teachers will be allowed.
The draft proposes new institutional architecture for higher education. India’s current 800 universities and over 40,000 colleges will be consolidated into about 10-15,000 institutions. There will be a four-year undergraduate programme available in addition to the existing three-year programmes. There will be no system of university affiliations.
The draft doing away with the 10+2 model of schooling and replacing it with a more globally accepted 5+3+3+4 format, also called as K-12 format.
The ideas proposed are progressive, but there could be roadblocks in their implementation relating to funding requirements and governance architecture.
Already, within days of introducing the draft policy , which initially proposed English and Hindi as mandatory languages in non-Hindi speaking states as well as a third language for Hindi-speaking states had faced severe backlash from southern states. Following which the HRD ministry has altered the policy to say that students are free to choose any language they wish to learn.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also said that, “The National Education Policy is only a draft report. Feedback shall be obtained from general public. State Governments will be consulted. Only after which the draft report will be finalised.”