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NEP '20 - Knowledge Slum to Superpower

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

On 29 July 2020, while the student community across the nation was deeply engrossed with their online classes and assignments, the Central Govt passed the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020. Shortly afterward, the Ministry of Human Research and Development, also known as the MHRD, was renamed the Ministry of Education, MoE.

Since independence, the ministry responsible for education was known as the Ministry of Education until in 1985 the Rajiv Gandhi Government changed its name to MHRD. This was followed by the launch of the National Policy of Education (NPE) in 1986. For the last 34 years, the NPE 1986 has been the guiding framework that determined the education experienced by the majority of Jokars reading this article.

The fundamental aim of NEP 2020 is to make India a Knowledge Superpower. This policy, if implemented correctly, can radically transform the educational system of our country. Education in India is a subject that falls under the concurrent list. The concurrent list, as per our Constitution, includes items with powers to both the Central and the State Governments. Therefore, NEP meeting its objectives depends on the commitment and judgement of the various State Governments.

Some of NEP's salient features include, among many others, introducing education to Children at the age of 3 and moving from a 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system, preferring mother tongue or regional language as the medium of instruction at lower levels,revamping the higher education, and an emphasis on experiential learning. The 5+3+3+4 system is a departure from the traditional 10+2 system. As per this system, education begins at the age of 3, as 3 to 6 years is considered crucial for the development of a child’s mental faculties. The curriculum will be divided corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. Exams will be conducted at classes 3, 5 and 8. Coding will be introduced from class 6.

The language policy had its fair share of controversies, but the Government later clarified that choice of languages or medium of instruction is left to the discretion of State Governments, Institutions and Schools.A new body called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) would be empowered to govern higher education except for medicine and law. This means that UGC, AICTE, and other such institutions will become a thing of the past. Most undergraduate programs will have multiple exit points with the award of certificate, diploma or degree based on the stage of exit. A new autonomous body, the National Research Foundation (NRF), would also be set up to ensure quality research in Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. Reputed foreign universities will be permitted to set up their campuses in India.

We live in an age of disruption driven by a confluence of innovation and technology. The job market is also evolving with increasing demand for professionals armed with the latest skill sets and fresh thinking. The aim of NEP involves integrating technology in enhancing learning and using it to mould the next generation for an immense transformation. The impact of technology is debatable, considering the digital and economic divide that is prevalent across India. However, with the right vision and execution, we can have an education system that is inclusive, beneficial, and encouraging and capable of developing young minds with excellent problem solving and entrepreneurial skills.

What would be the impact of the NEP on Jokars?

It should be minimal for current Jokars, but for future Jokars, the experience could be entirely different. The Pandemic has forced us to develop a taste for online learning, and future classes will involve a bigger integration of technology. We might see top percentilers competing for admissions not only to top IIMs but also to the India campuses of Harvard and our very own mentor institute, MIT. The overlap of Arts, Commerce, and Sciences, at school and undergraduate stages could inspire IIM Calcutta to make massive modifications to existing courses or deliver state of art courses to smart-er Jokars. There could be increased instances of Industry leaders or globally renowned faculties teaching at Joka, and a bigger proportion of international students.

It is also quite possible that the entire placement process would get fundamentally disrupted. The placement season might be revamped to spread across the entire program duration with multiple exit points. The future list of potential recruiters could look entirely different from the current ones, with dream jobs offered by organizations we haven't even heard about. 8-digit salaried would be the norm! The list of predictions can be endless.

To summarize, NEP, like any other policy, comes with its unique mix of advantages and disadvantages. India's educational spending has never attained the desired target of 6% GDP. If backed up with increased spending and implemented correctly, the New Education Policy 2020 has the potential to make education inclusive and equitable, and thereby make India a Knowledge Superpower.

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