Essay Paper for APSC | The National Education Policy 2020: Merits and Demerits
The National Education Policy 2020:
Merits and Demerits
The introduction of the new National Education Policy (NEP) in August 2020 elevated the expectations of Indians with the hope to witness the reform that had been hampered due to the existing archaic policy. The most immediate change was renaming the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education, which without doubt seems more appropriate. Though, more has to be done and achieved so that the students of all age groups may benefit from the new NEP while getting the necessary support for wholesome learning through various programs proposed in the policy. The NEP also holds the potential to make India a global education destination if the implementation gets executed in an orderly manner.
Merits of National Education Policy 2020
More Spending on Education Sector: At present, the education sector in India gets only a 3% share from GDP, but with the implementation of NEP 2020, spending will increase to almost 6% which is going to breathe a new life into the education sector.
Changes in the School Structure: The current structure of 10+2 school education will be replaced with the 5+3+3+4 pattern, to reduce students’ burden of board exams. The new policy aims for universalisation of education from preschool to secondary level with 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030 and aims to raise GER in higher education to 50 per cent by 2025.
Focus on vocational learning: There will also be a focus on vocational learning right from class 6 to 8, so that the students can learn practical skills such as gardening, carpentry, plumbing, artists, potters, etc., to introspect and understand their interests while developing a better understanding, respect for these skills.
Broader Options to Learn: The children in classes from 9 to 12 will now have multidisciplinary course options available to them, which means that the different streams will be more porous with various subject combinations.
Focus on Critical Thinking: The board exams system that primarily tested the memorization and rote learning ability of students will be replaced to develop critical thinking, rationalisation, and creativity of students with the practical application of their knowledge.
Making Education a Basic Right: At present, the Government ensures that children from the age of 6 to 14 years may get compulsory education for which numerous programs were successfully carried out, including the one such as “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan”. But it left out several children from the education system. Therefore, the updated NEP promises to universalize education to include the children from 3 years of age till 18 to provide them with free education at governmentrun establishments.
Option to Learn Coding in School: The introduction of computers and coding classes as early as class 6 will be in the curriculum will be a positive step towards upgrading the learning process.
Entrance Tests for Colleges: Instead of countless independent entrance tests for getting admission in colleges, standard entrance tests will be put in place and administered by National Testing Agency (NTA) for uniformity and better clarity, which in the long run, will support students in getting into the disciplines and educational institutes of their choice as expensive, sometimes exploitative entrance tests can be ended.
Upgraded Undergraduate Program: The 3-year undergraduate program will be replaced with a 4-year program that will give the option to have a one-year degree after completing the 1st year, a diploma after completing the 2nd year, and a degree for the completion of 3 years.
Regulating the Fees: The implementation of NEP will put a ceiling on the extent fee is charged, so that the private institutions may not charge exuberantly for higher education. This step will make education more accessible and affordable, even to economically disadvantaged students.
More Scope for Global Education: The new NEP will welcome the global educational institutions and foreign universities to set up their campuses in India. The Indians will have a better reach to quality education in their nation, making the dream affordable to more students as it may even reduce the brain drain.
More Inclusive Policy: The new NEP delves into the provision of funds and the creation of special education zones, gender inclusion funds for the underprivileged students to give them access to learning and growth.
Propagation of Culture and Ethos: The Indian culture and ethos will be part of the learning curriculum so that the students will be able to learn about India’s ancient history and its glorious past, a step towards reviving our traditions and promoting unity and brotherhood right at the early stage.
Improvement in Teaching Quality: By 2030, B.Ed. will be made a mandatory 4-year course to improve the quality of education for teachers.
Demerits of the NEP 2020
The National Education Policy 2020 has been praised for its numerous proposals, though many of its segments have caused some concern and it has received staunch criticism as
well, which have been termed as major loopholes in the policy.
Enforcement of Languages: The NEP emphasises the introduction of mother tongue in the primary classes which will be used to teach the principal subjects, while English will be taught at a much later stage. Unlike other nations such as Germany, Russia, Japan, China, France, etc., which have one common mother tongue, India is a diverse nation with 22 major languages and thousands of dialects. So, converting the basic subjects to these various regional languages (and mother tongues) will be a monumental task that will require a considerable amount of time, effort, and skilled professionals.
Alleged move to enforce Hindi: One more factor that has caused some people to be vocal against the NEP is that the enforcement of mother tongue and regional languages is seen as the central government’s move to enforce Hindi on the nonHindi speaking states.
Delay in Teaching of English: The NEP suggests that the government schools will start teaching English after class 5, which is going to be a setback for the students who can only afford to go to government-run institutes. It will widen the chasm between the different socio-economic groups.
Focus on Digital Learning: Though it sounds practical and the need of the hour, the focus on digitization of education and the promotion of e-learning under the NEP 2020 seems to overlook the fact that just about 30% of Indians can afford smartphones and fewer still have access to computers. Then the schools run by the government do not have a strong IT infrastructure, so the students in remote regions or underprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds won’t be able to acclimatise to the ITbased learning till such a facility is made available at the earliest.
The Updated Terms of Undergraduate Program: Since under the updated policy a student can exit from the graduate program and still get a certification or diploma, this can cause the students to quit without completing their education, leading to their non-seriousness and a high drop-out rate.
Going through the above negative and positive aspects of the National Education Policy 2020, it can be said that the good aspects are much more than the less appreciable points. Still, even a few less than perfect points can turn out to be the Achilles heel in this proposed dossier that envisions to revolutionise India’s education sector. Therefore, a few parts of the NEP 2020 that some people might find unacceptable should be reviewed and updated by the Government, so that all the loopholes can be closed. The main thing is that the policy should prove beneficial to the education sector and the students.