New Education Policy, 2020

New Education Policy, 2020

India recently approved the ‘New Education Policy‘, adding new features to the education system with an aim to make “India a global knowledge superpower”.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Announcement
On 29 July 2020, the Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, bringing several changes in the school and higher education system. The government declared the development as part of the plan to make “India a global knowledge superpower”.

The consultation process for the formation of the new education policy had started in January 2015, with the new NEP releasing 34 years after the last education policy, which was released in 1986.

Major Changes

  • Expenditure on education would now be 6% of the total GDP, increasing from the previous ~4%.
  • e-Content would be made available in regional languages.
  • Strength and availability of digital libraries and digital study material would be increased.
  • Importantly, the education institutes would be audited as ‘not for profit‘ entities.

Major Changes In School

  • The ‘10+2‘ school curricular would be replaced by ‘5+3+3+4′, corresponding to the age groups 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. The aim of such modification is to cover the age group 3-6 under pre-schooling or Anganwadis. To facilitate the ‘5+3+3+4’, pre-school section would be added to all the Kendriya Vidyalayas.
  • The local/regional language would be the medium of instruction till class 5. Sanskrit would be made available in all classes. However, no language would be “imposed”, with choices existing for the languages.
  • No separation would be done between ‘arts’ and ‘sciences, and between ‘curricular’ and ‘extra-curricular’.
  • New National Assessment Centre would be set up, named PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
  • Vocational education would be provided class 6 onwards, with the education to include internships and skills training. Coding would be taught class 6 onwards as part of the ‘21st-century skill-set’.
  • The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and open schools would provide courses equivalent to grades 3, 5, and 8, and secondary education courses equivalent to classes 10 and 12.
  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), residential schools for girls from disadvantaged groups, would now operate up to class 12.
  • Syllabus would be reduced to increase application-based learning.
  • Report cards would have a report on skills instead of only marks, with the assessment to have both teacher and peer reviews.
  • Students to take exams only for classes 3, 5, and 8 – assessment in other years to be “competency-based” to test “higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity”
  • Nutrition and health checkups would be conducted regularly.
  • The School campuses would be used as adult education classes after school hours.

Major Changes In Higher Education

  • Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) would be set up to digitally store credits earned in academia.
  • Select universities from the Top 100 of the world would be allowed to facilitate education in India.
  • MPhil courses would be discontinued.
  • The Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) would be set up, and Sanskrit would be offered in higher education.
  • The National Testing Agency (NTA) would offer common entrance exam for universities.
  • The availability of open/distance learning would be increased, and the Gross Enrolment Ratio* in higher education is expected to increase from 26.3 percent to 50 percent by 2035.
    (*As per UN, GER is the number of students enrolled in a given level of education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the official school-age population.)
  • Minimum one large multidisciplinary higher education institution (HEI) would be set up in every district by 2030.
    All HEIs expected to become multidisciplinary institutions by 2040, enrolling at least 3,000 students.
  • National Research Foundation (NRF) would be developed to increase research across all streams.
  • Engineering institutes, including the IITs, would have more arts and humanities subjects. Similarly, arts and humanities students would have more science-based education.
  • Departments in Languages, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Indology, Art, Dance, Theatre, Education, Mathematics, Statistics, Pure and Applied Sciences, Sociology, Economics, Sports, Translation and Interpretation, etc. would be set up in all higher education institutions.
  • The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. Alexandria came to be regarded as the capital of knowledge and learning, in part because of the Great Library.
  • The University of Bologna is a research university in Bologna, Italy. Founded in 1088, it is the oldest university in the world, as well as one of the leading academic institutions in Italy and Europe.
  • Nalanda was an ancient Mahavihara, a revered Buddhist monastery which also served as a renowned centre of learning, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha in India. At its peak the school attracted scholars and students from near and far, with some travelling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia.

Trouble For Indian Students In USA

Trouble For Indian Students In USA

Measure to deport foreign students that have online classes for the coming semester implemented by President Trump has caused tension for Indian students in the US, with the same anxiety being face by all foreign workers.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Order
The USA recently announced that foreign students would have to leave the country if their classes shift to online mode for the semester. Only students having ‘in-person’ classes would be allowed to stay.

However, some relief was provided to non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 students, who may take partially offline classes and stay in the country.
F-1 Visa: For non-immigrant students enrolled in Academic and Language training courses.
M-1 Visa: For students enrolled in non-academic or vocational courses.

H1B Visa
The measures to send the students back to home come in the light of temporary suspension of H-1B (high-skilled workers), H-4 (spouses of H-1Bs), L-1 (intra-company transfers) visas by Trump, who cited high economic pressure and unemployment as reasons for the step.

Several big firms like Apple, Google, and Amazon, etc. have expressed disapproval over suspension.

Premium institutes like Harvard are charging the same fees for availing online classes as that paid for in-person lectures, which has drawn criticism from several students.

On the other hand, Harvard University and MIT have sued President Trump, and have called the move of sending back foreign students “unlawful”.

Drastic Change
Donald Trump has displayed a drastic turnaround from his previous opinions on foreign students and workers. In 2015, he tweeted the following:

Contribution Of Indian And Foreign Students

  • American-Born Confused Desi (ABCD) is a term used to refer to South Asian Americans born or raised in the United States, in contrast to those who were born overseas and later settled in the USA. Among South Asian Americans, the term may be considered divisive, as first generation South Asian Americans use it to criticize the Americanization and lack of belonging to either Indian, Asian or American culture they perceive in their second-generation peers or children.
  • A gurukula was a type of education system in ancient India with shishya living near or with the guru, in the same house. The word gurukula is a combination of the Sanskrit words guru (‘teacher’ or ‘master’) and kula (‘family’ or ‘home’).
  • Robert Frederick Smith is an American businessman, philanthropist, chemical engineer, and investor. Forbes has named Smith on several business lists, including its list of the 100 greatest living business minds, and the wealthiest people in America. In 2019, Smith pledged to eliminate $34 million of student loan debt for the Morehouse College graduating class that year.

Revamping Indian School Syllabus In Times Of Pandemic

Revamping Indian School Syllabus In Times Of Pandemic

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) recently reduced its syllabus to ease the stress of students and teachers due to delay in the academic year due to Covid-19. The changes have received mixed opinions, adding to the history of syllabus designing and modification in India.

Crux of the Matter

CBSE Syllabus Reduced
CBSE recently reduced 30% of the syllabus for the classes 9 to 12 for the academic year 2020-21. The topics removed from the syllabus would be “explained” to students in classes, but no questions would be asked from it in the examination. The government has labelled it a one-time measure, aiming to reduce the burden of examination from students as well as teachers.

Each of the topics that have been wrongly mentioned in media as deleted have been covered under the Alternative Academic Calendar of NCERT which is already in force for all the affiliated schools of the board.

Anurag Tripathi, CBSE Secretary

Removed Topics
Following major topics have been removed from respective classes and subjects:
Class 9

  • Mathematics: Triangles, and Euclid’s geometry.
  • Social Science: Complete chapters on population, food security, and democratic rights.
  • English: Use of passive voice prepositions.

Class 10

  • Science: Metals and non-metals, heredity and evolution, types of currents, and domestic electric circuits.
  • Hindi: “Stree Siksha ke Virodhi Kutarko ka Khandan” chapter by Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi.
  • Mathematics: Area of a triangle and frustum of a cone.

Class 11

  • Political Science: Federalism, secularism, citizenship, and nationalism.
  • Business Studies: GST.
  • Geography: Climate, natural hazards, and disasters.

Class 12

  • Business Studies: Demonetization.
  • Political Science: Planning commission and five-year plans, India relations with its neighbours.
  • Physics: Carbon resistors and radioactivity.

Blast From The Past – Changes In Syllabus Across Boards

  • 1960s: NCERT historians like Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra and Bipan Chandra accused of “Marxist” bias in history textbooks.
  • 1969: Controversy over Aryan theory in NCERT syllabus.
  • 2006: NCERT removes “objectionable” portrayal of Guru Gobind Singh after protests by Sikh community.
  • 2012: NCERT removed cartoon on Dr. Ambedkar after mass protests.
  • 2016: Rajasthan board remove short stories of Ismat Chugtai and Hari Shankar Parsai.
  • 2017: Maharashtra board replaced chapters on the Mughal dynasty with those of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Problems Going Online
While several schools and colleges have initiated “online classes”, students and teachers are experiencing difficulties related to connectivity and prior experience of e-teaching.

  • Only 47% of village households receive electricity for 12+ hours per day.
  • 50% internet penetration in India; as of 2020 India has around 60-70 crore active internet users as per different sources
  • 40.2 % of mobile data users face poor connectivity issues, with the number increasing to 53% for home broadband users
  • Several teachers are using online teaching method for the first time. Consequently, working on audio/video presentations and lesson planning is adding to their burden.
  • Govt of India reduced expenditure on e-learning from ₹604 crores in 2019-20 to ₹469 crores in 2020-21.
  • In 1929, the government of India set up a joint Board named “Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Rajputana”. This included Ajmer, Merwara, Central India, and Gwalior. In 1952, it became the “Central Board of Secondary Education”.
  • The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan is a system of premier central government schools in India and one of the world’s largest chains of schools with more than 1200 schools. All the schools are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education.
  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India which was established in 1961 as a literary, scientific, and charitable Society under the Societies’ Registration Act.

Exams In The Time of Corona

Giving exams in times of Covid-19

In wake of Coronavirus, board and college exams had been postponed in various states and students of primary and secondary were given promotions. The Central government and few State governments have declared rescheduled dates for board exams along with the guidelines to be followed. Ministry of Human Resource Development is even creating a framework for the post-Covid academic session.
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

HRD’s Declaration
Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) announced that final exams will be conducted in July. The government said the health and safety of students are of utmost priority and thus social distancing, masks, and sanitizers will be common practices for conducting exams. Moreover, students will be able to give exams from the district they are in rather than going to the exam center in another district.

If the situation does not improve by July then for then, new dates or modes of conducting exams can be thought about but the exam will take place for final year students.

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, HRD Minister

Following are some announcements made by Ministry of HRD:

  • Pending 10th and 12th boards exams to be conducted between 1-15 July
  • 1st-year college students may get promoted if exams not conducted till July
  • 2nd and 3rd- year students to get promotion on the basis of internal assessment (50%) and previous academic record (50%)
  • Final year college students have to appear for exams

However many students have raised concerns over conducting an exam during the pandemic. Some say that final exam is not possible with an incomplete syllabus. Furthermore, a lack of infrastructure to conduct and appear for an online exam is also a major concern. Delay in exams will also cause a delay in the issuance of Degrees.

Updates on Other Exams

  • JEE Mains and NEET to take place between 18-23 July, and JEE Advanced exams on 23 August
  • ~11 lakh students to appear for JEE mains
  • ~15 lakh students to appear for NEET
  • UPSC exam date to be announced on 5 June
  • CA exams to be conducted from 29 July to 16 August
  • SAT exam to be conducted in August, September, and October
  • GRE and GMAT have introduced home-based online exam under online surveillance of a trained human proctor from start to finish to maintain test security

Updates From Some States

  • Tamil Nadu board exams postponed to 15 June
  • Telangana SSC exams scheduled to begin from 8 June
  • Madhya Pradesh state board’s pending 12th board exams to be held between 9-15 June
  • West Bengal Higher Secondary Council and CISCE to conduct exam between 1-15 July
  • Uttarakhand state board to conduct remaining board exams of 10th and 12th after 15 June

HRD’s Post-Covid Proposal

  • 220 working days might come down to 100
  • Study hours at school: 600
  • Study hours at home: 600
  • Social distancing – 6ft distance – in classroom
  • Assessment components eased to quizzes, assignments, projects, presentations, role-play, games, etc.
  • Proposed attendance policy:
    • Standard 1 to 5 – 1-2 days/week
    • Standard 6 to 8 – 3-4 days/week
    • Standard 9 to 12 – 4-5 days/week

  • The University of the Third Age is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third ‘age’ of life. It is commonly referred to as U3A. U3A started in France at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Toulouse in 1973.
  • Ancient China was the first country in the world that implemented a nationwide standardized test, which was called the imperial examination. The main purpose of this examination was to select able candidates for specific governmental positions. The imperial examination was established by the Sui dynasty in 605 AD.
  • The design of the NCERT logo is taken from an Ashokan period relic of the 3rd century BCE. The intertwined swans symbolize the integration of the three aspects of the work of NCERT – Research and development, Training, and Extension. The motto has been taken from the Isha Upanishad and means ‘life eternal through learning’.

What Will Be The Learnings Of Learn-From-Home Days Post-Covid?

COVID-19 is reshaping parents’ role as mentors for their little ones and ensuring that students and teachers are adapting to online learning tools. Will the defence mechanisms adopted in the pandemic, last long enough to seep into the post-Coronavirus world? What would be the new reality of global education?
Complete Coverage: Coronavirus

Crux of the Matter

An Inclination Towards Homeschooling
Some families opting for prolonged work from home duties during the Covid crisis may get accustomed to teaching their toddlers, in the post-coronavirus version of the world. Others might use virtual tutors to enable holistic development of kids, while being in the comfort zone of their regular surroundings. 

Digital Tools As Helpful Complements To In-Person Instructions
Teachers are going to continue using online tools even when things normalise back in school and colleges. Since students would have prior experience with them and professors would be better equipped to deal with the tools with regular teaching methodologies in lecture halls.

A Change In The 300 Odd Year Old Education System
Anantha Duraiappah
director of UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development says “Online learning allows the potential of individualized learning and offers the prospect of radically changing a system established a long time ago”.

Instead of offering tweaks and minor experimentations in the existing academic curriculum, the entire system can start from scratch, with the learnings from the old one incorporated wisely in the new one. Students would retain the lessons more easily learned through personalized training, rather than memorising them only for their respective exam times. State education department would create their own models based on local needs.

Growing Importance Of Volunteer Work
Volunteer work during a crisis like Coronavirus will cause more students to understand and spend time helping their communities address social issues across boundaries. It will cause colleges to take into account such community service as an extracurricular activity, beyond theoretical extra classes on regular subjects.

Learning Created For All, By All
Constructive Education would no longer be restricted to major urban centers and the elite section of society. According to a recent survey conducted by learning apps in India, 60% of their students are mobile users from outside the 10 largest metropolitan cities in the country. 

Updations will be done on a regular basis in the platforms, based on the feedback of students using it from all over the world including release of app versions in regional and international languages. Additionally the children at an disadvantage with any physical disability would be able to learn in the same spectrum as any other student of their age.

  • In 1993, the German educator Hartmut von Hentig designed the Teacher’s Oath, which is supposed to be a set of professional guidelines for educators, teachers, and pedagogues. India has its own version of the oath as “Abdul Kalam Teacher’s Oath”.
  • BYJU’S – The Learning App is the world’s most valued Edtech company at $5.4 billion (Rs 37,000 crore). The online tutoring firm was founded in 2011 by Byju Ravindran.
  • The idea of a smartphone-friendly video conferencing system was pitched by Eric Yuan to the management of Cisco Systems Inc. in 2011. After the idea was rejected, Yuan left Cisco to found Zoom Video Communications. In 2019, Zoom became a public company via an initial public offering, at which time Yuan became a billionaire.