The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has been announced by the Ministry of Education. NEP 2020 shares ideas revamp education, teaching and assessment systems in schools, colleges as well as teacher’s professional-level training. NEP 2020 suggests doing away with the existing 10+2 education system and replacing it with a 5+3+3+4 system.
To begin with, the actual number of years of study remain the same and this does not mean additional years. Here’s a look at the new pedagogical structure proposed in comparison to the existing one.
At present, a student enter formal education at the age of 3 by means of Play Schools. Then he/she enters a School which is Kindergarten 1 and 2 and subsequently 12 years of Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. The new structure now proposes dividing the same structure into cognitive developmental stages of the child – early childhood, School years and Secondary stage.
The 5+3+3+4 structure corresponds to the following:
Foundation Stage: For ages 3 to 8 years, the first five years of school will comprise of the foundation stage including three years of pre-primary school as well as classes 1 and 2. The focus here will be on development of language skills and teaching by play based and activity based curriculum.
Preparatory Stage: This is for ages 8 to 11 or classes 3 to 5. The focus would shift to play, discovery and activity based and interaction classroom learning. The focus till this stage would remain on development of language and numeracy skills. The medium of instruction till Class 5 would be home language or mother tongue or local language. Three languages would be taught to all students – and states would decide which ones.
Middle Stage: This is for ages 11 to 14 or classes 6 to 8. The focus here will be at transforming the pedagogy from the existing system to a more experiential learning in the sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences and humanities. Focus would be on critical learning objectives and not on rote learning.
Secondary Stage: This is for ages 14 to 18 or classes 9 to 12 or the secondary and the higher secondary as we know them today. The changes suggested at this stage include a multidisciplinary study where students would be able to pick and choose any subject from the available structure. The focus would be on critical thinking and flexibility, allowing the child to pick subjects as per their interests – even technical and arts.
Apart from the education structure, the NEP also proposes a change in the examination structure. Key assessments would be conducted at Class 3, 5 and 8 to track the development of the child. The class 10 and 12 exams — referred to as board exams — are likely to be held in two difficulty levels and students will be given a second chance at boards to improve their score.
The principles for University entrance exams will remain same, the NTA will work to offer high quality aptitude test as well as specialized common subject exams in the Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Arts, and Vocational Subjects at least twice a year. The NTA will serve as autonomous testing Organization to conduct entrance exams at Undergraduate and Graduate admissions and fellowships in higher educational institutions. The NTA testing services will enable most Universities to use these common entrance exams rather than each University conducting their own entrance exam.
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