Learning Experience

The troubling aspects of the National Education Policy

01 April 2021
Despite a digital divide between the haves and have-nots, the NEP frequently appears to place the onus of ensuring digital access on the household rather than the state.
Anindito Mukherjee / Getty Images
Despite a digital divide between the haves and have-nots, the NEP frequently appears to place the onus of ensuring digital access on the household rather than the state.
Anindito Mukherjee / Getty Images

Every few decades, India gets a new National Education Policy—a framework to guide the development of education in the country. The first education policy was passed in 1968, the second in 1986 and the third was approved by the cabinet on 29 July last year. This policy will provide the vision for India’s education not just now, but for decades to come.

The 2020 edition of the NEP promises some sweeping changes in India’s education system. It plans to overhaul the 10+2 structure of school education into a 5+3+3+4 model, bringing preschool education into the ambit of formal schooling. It seeks to introduce pedagogic and curriculum reforms, including with respect to the flexibility of subjects and synergy between streams of learning, as well as changes in the assessment system. It aims to promote multilingualism and the learning of native languages. All this is accompanied by proposed changes in how the education system would be governed, including restructuring how both government and private schools are managed, evaluated and supported. The policy also includes an overhaul of education departments and a reiterated commitment to enhance education spending to six percent of the gross domestic product. India’s flagship education programme—Samagra Shiksha—is already undergoing restructuring in line with NEP provisions.

In February this year, the ministry of education constituted a review committee to oversee the implementation of the policy, and to assess the progress made in achieving its targets. The central and state governments have since held a series of consultations. Several state-level expert committees have been formed on various subjects. A draft plan for the NEP’s implementation has been shared with the states, which are supposed to put it in action. Along with scores of other education researchers, I was asked for suggestions on the draft plan by the Haryana government.

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    Anjela Taneja leads the work on education, health and inequality at Oxfam India. She is one of the founder members of the RTE Forum, India’s largest education network, and coordinates the Fight Inequality Alliance in India.

    Keywords: Right to Education National Education Policy higher education technical education
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