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NEP schools: the future


The pandemic has helped India realise the need for foundational literacy, preventing dropouts, to overcome the digital divide. The article talks about the shift in the physical mode of education to the online mode, facilitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Education, Government Interventions and Policies, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of Government Policies)

Mains Questions:

What is the role played by NEP in the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the use of digital technologies in education? (10 marks)


Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020?
  2. Significance and Key takeaways of the NEP 2020
  3. About the impact of Covid-19, digital education and NEP
  4. Qualities that are likely to define the schools of the future

What is the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020?

  • The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) outlines the vision of India’s new education system and replaces the previous National Policy on Education, 1986.
  • The policy is a comprehensive framework for elementary education to higher education as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India.
  • The policy aims to transform India’s education system by 2040.
  • In 2015, a committee under former Cabinet Secretary T. S. R. Subramanian started the consultation process for the New Education Policy. Based on the committee report submitted in 2017 the draft NEP was submitted in 2019 by a panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan.
  • Vision: National Education Policy 2020 envisions an India-centric education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing high-quality education to all.

Significance and Key takeaways of the NEP 2020

  • More focus on vocational studies and skill education even in school level: According to Indian Labour Report, in India only 4 % of the young labour force receives formal vocational education and 6 % in the informal sector. Skill capabilities of the people will help the country to keep more competitive and developed. Propagating vocational education with special recognition will make our youths more employable and create opportunities for self-employment too.
  • Allocation of 6% of the GDP in Education sector: Indian education is far behind the global standard. India spends 4.6% of its total GDP on education and ranks 62nd in total public expenditure on education per student. At this crucial juncture, the NEP’s 6% target is a welcome move. It is also in sync with NITI Aayog’s target to improve education quality in the country.
  • Restructuring of School education:
    • Provisions such as including Anganwadi/pre-school, the ECCE within the ambit of formal schooling and extension of Mid-day meals and the breakfast facilities to ECCE segment etc. would help achieve a nutritious and educated India.
    • Internships and experiential learning opportunity provided in the curriculum will give a flip in harnessing the critical thinking, creativity and innovativeness of the learners.
    • Examination reforms shall be brought in laying weightages not much on the rote learning but on application of knowledge as a part of holistic development of the learners.
  • The three language formula for school education: The learning of the students in mother tongue or local language will become faster and it will provide avenues to familiarize the various cultural diversities of the country and at the same time these Indian languages shall remain relevant and vibrant.
    • In fact, all the languages are closely linked with the arts and culture of the speaking community and as such, NEP-2020 spells various activities for preserving the local arts and culture associated with the languages. It is an opportunity for the proper preservation of the endangered languages too.
  • Transformation of regulatory system of the higher education in India: With the establishment of a single regulatory body called HECI, there shall no longer be multiple regulatory body for running courses in HEIs. Special focus is also given to curb the commercialization of education by formulating multiple mechanism with checks and balances.
  • Multiple Entry and Exit at undergraduate level: This flexibility could be good motivation to the students to pursue the course and complete it conveniently without the issues of dropouts and at the same time the GER in tertiary education may also be improved. Such an option is quite suitable for vocational studies too as they have various job roles at different levels of the course enhancing the avenues for employability at multiple levels.
  • Campuses of Indian Universities in Foreign Countries: Collaborations among the institutions shall bring quality and excellence in higher learning. Indians now shall be getting global level quality education at affordable cost. However, Government needs to formulate stringent rules and regulation for better quality and price and overall check and balances on the operation of foreign universities in India.

About the impact of Covid-19, digital education and NEP

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has been the greatest disruptor in the education sector bringing future (use of digital technologies in education) as learners are now exposed to a huge variety of innovative content or digital formats of education in their own languages.
  • With the shift, the essential role of schools and teachers ensuring the mental/physical/cognitive development of a child has been permanently established.
  • The schools of the future and the future of schooling are now both subject to intense debate, in the backdrop of the National Education Policy 2020. But certain broad understandings have emerged that most agree upon.
  • There is already a discernible shift in the focus from physical infrastructure towards digital and virtual requirements.
  • Skill-building for the requirements of the 21st century has assumed great significance.
  • Accelerated and differentiated instructional interventions will be required to overcome and reverse the impact of the pandemic.
  • It is likely that there will be more pressure on the government schooling system to expand its intake.
  • Students of the future will have to struggle with the new set of capabilities needed, hyper-information becoming disinformation, virtual teams not seeing each other physically, and will constantly experience a swing between super speciality and cross-disciplinary skills.

Qualities that are likely to define the schools of the future

  • Schools will encourage extended networks rather than remain as closed classroom communities. Future schools will take teaching-learning to informal settings such as topic circles, eco clubs, visits to the neighbourhood, museums or scientific laboratories, etc.
  • Schools will be proactive innovators and they will adopt innovative pedagogies and differentiated instructions as per the needs of the learners to enable them to become knowledge creators and job creators.
  • Future schools will promote innovation by utilising innovative methods of assessment to bring out the unique potential of every child, harness innovative technologies for teaching, learning and administration, and bring about a culture of innovation.
  • Future schools will be future-oriented and connected to the job market as they must be capable of empowering and building the skills of learners for jobs that are yet to be created and technologies that are yet to be invented.
  • The future schools will forge stronger and more trusting engagement with families and communities.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023