Today everyone is aware of the New Education Policy (NEP) that has been launched on July 29, 2020 by the Central government after a good 34 years since the last education policy in 1986. So, what does it has in store for 21st century educators who are looking to break the shackles of the age-old teaching practices and adopt new and innovative teaching mind-sets and skills for today’s learners and prosper as a global teaching professional?
Our first Education policy was formed in the year 1968 under Mrs Indira Gandhi, followed by a second in 1986 by Mr Rajiv Gandhi. The recent NEP is the third education policy formed after 34 years under the Prime Ministership of Mr Narendra Modi. The NEP proposed several changes in the educational structure that is being currently followed in the country. The main goal of NEP 2020 is to make “India a global knowledge superpower”. The NEP policy document states that it “aims at producing engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building an equitable, inclusive, and plural society”.
About the policy, PM Narendra Modi had tweeted that the pillars of the NEP “access, equity, quality, affordability, accountability” and “will transform India into a vibrant knowledge hub.” One of the key objectives of the NEP2020 is to “empower the teacher” and lift them from their dismal state of affairs and motivate them with systematic reforms to become outstanding global educators. Hence with new reforms in the NEP 2020, teachers can expect to learn new teaching methods and skills to prosper as a global educator.
According to Justice JS Verma Committee Report, 2012, ‘a broken teacher education sector is putting over 370 million children at risk …… hence to work on teacher knowledge and skills the NEP 2020 plays an important role.
From ECCE to secondary school, a number of changes have been proposed in the NEP 2020 with respect to curriculum, content and pedagogy. Let us focus on the key points of the NEP 2020 and briefly discuss its features:
Introducing pre-school section in Kendriya Vidyalayas
Pre-school sections which cover at least one year of early childhood care and education will be added to Kendriya Vidyalayas and other primary schools around the nation, particularly in poorly developed or backward areas.
Dedicated unit for digital and online learning
There will be a dedicated unit for developing digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building to look after the online education needs of both school and higher education.
Various new provisions for children with disabilities
Children with various disabilities will be encouraged to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the foundation stage to higher education, with the support and guidance of educators with special education training, resource centres, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools and other support mechanisms customized to suit their needs.
High quality modules for Indian Sign Language by NIOS
With the help of NIOS, high-quality modules to teach Indian Sign Language will be developed as well as to teach other basic subjects using Indian Sign Language.
Indian Sign Language to be standardised across the country
Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment
Experiential learning in all stages
Traditional set up for learning has been replaced with experiential learning that includes hands-on learning, arts-integrated and sports-integrated education, story-telling-based pedagogy, among others as standard pedagogy. With the gradual shift from classroom transactions, the focus will be more on competency-based learning and education.
Content will focus on idea, application, problem- solving
The focus of the content includes key concepts, ideas, applications, and problem-solving, working towards a more interactive teaching and learning practice.
Tech- based adult learning through apps, ICT, etc.
The NEP puts a strong focus on quality technology-based options for adult learning such as apps, online courses/modules, satellite-based TV channels, online books, and ICT-equipped libraries and Adult Education Centres, that will be developed or upgraded to meet the global standards.
Increased focus on vocational studies at the school-level
The NEP includes policies that focus on providing every child to learn at least one vocation and get exposed to numerous more.
E.g.: developing vocational crafts like carpentry, electric work, metal work, gardening, pottery making, etc., for Grades 6-8, along with the opportunity to intern with local vocational experts such as carpenters, gardeners, potters, artists, etc. Similar internship opportunities are applicable to students throughout Grades 6-12. By 2025, with the help of NEP, at least 50% of learners through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education.
Vocational courses through online mode will also be available for the students.
Apart from this, a 50-hour mandatory CPD for teachers per annum is an encouragement for teachers to become lifelong learners and thrive in the new world. Therefore pursuing 21st century teacher training course might really be a wise move for the trainees looking to learn new teaching methods and skills. The NEP 2020 can be thus termed as a progressive move towards modernizing our education system as per the global standards that will impact every single learner and teacher in India, moving towards building a better future for the country and its citizens.