The National Policy on Education (NPE) is a policy formulated by the Government of India to promote education amongst the people of India. The policy covers elementary as well as college level education in both rural and urban India. The first NPE was promulgated by the Government of India by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1968, the second by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986, and the third and the most recent one by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020.
The National Education Policy 1968 was prepared to improve the condition of education in the country. Its primary aim was to provide every citizen of this nation with basic education. The same was reviewed in the subsequent years and was further updated in 1992 to create awareness about education in the country and to increase the literacy rate.
The education policy holds its place in the concurrent list,the state governments plays an important role in the development of education policy especially on the primary and the secondary level.
Following are some of the salient features of the‘New Education Policy 2020’:
- School complexes to be used for adult education courses after school hours.
- More focus on vocational studies on school levels.
- NIOS to develop high quality modules for Indian sign languages.
- Preschool sections in KendriyaVidyalays.
- NCC wings in secondary and higher secondary schools under Ministry of Defence.
- Free boarding facilities in Jawahar NavodayVidyalayas.
- Dedicated unit for online and digital learning.
- National scholarship portals for SC,ST,OBC and SEDGs students to be expanded.
- Minimum qualification for teaching will be 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree.
- Higher Education Commission of India will be the single regulatory body for entire higher education in India.
- Various new provisions for children with disabilities.
- Education sector to get 6.1% of GDP,earlier it was 1.7%.
- Three language learned by children will be choice of state,regions and students.
- Medium of instruction will be local language.
- Indian sign language to be standardized across India.
- No hard separation of students on the basis of streams.
- Experimental learning in all stages.
- Content will focus on idea,application and problem solving.
- Curriculum content to be reduced.
- NIOS,open schools to offer courses or grades 3,5 and 8.
In 2019, the Ministry of Human Resource Development had released a Draft New Education Policy 2019, which was followed by a number of public consultations.The Draft NEP discussed about reducing curriculum content to enhance essential learning, critical thinking and more holistic experiential, discussion-based and analysis-based learning. It also talked about a revision of the curriculum and pedagogical structure from a 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system design in an effort to optimize learning for students based on cognitive development of children.
On 29th July 2020, the cabinet approved a new National Education Policy with an aim to introduce several changes to the existing Indian education system.
- Right to Education (RTE) – Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right.
- National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL).
- Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) for development of secondary education, launched in 2009.
- Saakshar Bharat (Saakshar Bharat/Adult Education)to create a literate society through a variety of teaching learning programmes for non-literate and neo-literate of 15 years and above.
- Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) – overarching programme for the school education to ensure equitable learning outcomes.
- Inclusive Education for the Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS).
- District Primary Education Program (DPEP) – launched in 1994 as a major initiative to revitalize the primary education system and to achieve the objective of universalization of primary education.
Amrit Verma, National Policy on Education, 2020: An Overview, Ex Gratia Law Journal, (September 8, 2020), https://exgratialawjournal.in/blawg/children-and-law/national-policy-on-education-2020-an-overview-by-amrit-verma/.