What is NEP (National Education Policy)?
The National Education Policy builds an inclusive framework meant for the development of education in the country. First, the change was brought up in 1968, then 1986, and now in 2020 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The National Education Policy (2020) has been approved by the cabinet and there are several changes in the framework of the education system of India, right from the preschool stage to the college level that you would want to know about
Let’s primarily focus on the key points mentioned concerning early childhood education-
- The current 10+2 system that has been set up as per the 1986 policy will be changed to a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure with ages divided as per this format 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years
- The 3-8 year group being the foundational stage, the 8-11 is a preparatory stage, 11-14 being a middle stage, and 14-18 being the secondary stage.
- The most crucial part to take in here is the fact that early childhood education which is considered to be preschool education for children in the age group 3-5 will now be a part of formal schooling.
- The mid-day meal program will be extended to pre-school batches as well.
- Students up till Class 5 as suggested by NEP should be provided teaching in their mother tongue or regional language.
- Early childhood education is considered to have gained immense significance in the past few years with researches showing evidence of how it impacts a child’s developmental stage and personality as an adult.
- It will therefore be brought under the formal school syllabus.
- The regulation of schools, both private and public, and their governance will be done by an independent authority
- One another key point to note here is that more priority will be given to foundational literacy and numeracy. Plus academic streams, extracurricular activities, and vocational streams in schools won’t be separated strictly, the NEP wants to go for an inclusive teaching approach that works on the overall development of children right from their growth years.
- The assessment will be done on an overall development basis with progress cards mentioning 360-degree holistic development
- For teachers and their qualifications, a different and more comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be put together by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) after due consultation from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
- Aspiring teachers, by the year 2030, will need a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree as the minimum qualification requirement.
The thought behind bringing such dynamic changes to the education system, the curriculum, and structure at large is that by the year 2030 all children should have access to quality early childhood education and care. This helps them be prepared thoroughly to enter the primary stage of education or to set foot into higher grades.
The implementation of NEP will take time and it will probably be completely set by 2040(set target). The government will have talks with state governments to enhance the smooth implementation of the same.
Bringing this policy to reality won’t be a cup of tea. It will require abundant resources including an adequate number of qualified teachers to put this plan into action and attain positive results.
Investing in early childhood education is equivalent to investing in the flourishing future of the country and as NEP promises to make quality education available even to the underprivileged of our country its efficient implementation would be fruitful for the community and its development at large.