Perils of prematurely imparted literacy - The Hindu -27/08/2020

Inclusive Education:

Inclusion is a theme of the Policy beyond technology as well.
As per the Ministry, under NEP, efforts will be made to incentivise the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs.
Private Higher Educational Institutions will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of scholarships to their students.
The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
Regions such as aspirational districts, which have large numbers of students facing economic, social or caste barriers will be designated as ‘Special Educational Zones’.
Special funds have been earmarked for special education.
The NEP emphasises universal access to schools, and aims to bring two crore out-of-school children back into the educational mainstream.
It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035.

Replacing 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 format:

The 10+2 system will be divided into 5+3+3+4 format.
This means the first five years of school will comprise of the foundation stage. The next three years will be divided into a preparatory stage from classes 3 to 5. Later, there will be three years of middle stage (classes 6 to 8), and four years of secondary stage (classes 9 to 12).
Schools will not have any rigid formation of streams of arts, commerce, science, etc. and students can take up whichever courses they want.
A new curricular framework is to be introduced, including the pre-school and Anganwadi years.
A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the Class 3 level by 2025.
Students will begin classes on coding as well as vocational activities from Class 6 onwards.
Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge, will be incorporated into the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner.

Language issues:

Language issues caused the most outrage, as the original draft called for mandatory teaching of Hindi to all school students. That clause was subsequently dropped.
There will be greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State. The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and students.
Sanskrit will be offered as an option at all levels of school and higher education.
Other classical languages will also be available, possibly as online modules, while foreign languages will be offered at the secondary level.
The medium of instruction till at least Grade 5, and preferably till Grade 8 and beyond will be in Home Language/Mother tongue/Regional Language.

Gender Inclusion Fund

The Centre will also set up a ‘Gender-Inclusion Fund’ to build the country’s capacity to provide equitable quality education to all girls and transgender students.
The fund will be available to States to implement priorities determined by the Central government critical for assisting female and transgender children in gaining access to education.

Multi-disciplinary approach:

Standalone Higher Education Institutes and professional education institutes will be evolved into multi-disciplinary institutes.
By 2049, all higher education institutions (HEIs) should aim to become multidisciplinary institutions, each of which will aim to have 3,000 or more students, as per the data shared by MHRD.
Further, by 2030, the aim is to set up at least one large multidisciplinary HEI in or near every district.

Exit options in degree courses:

The undergraduate degree, which is of 3 to 4-year duration will have multiple exit options.
After completing one year, if a student decides to drop out, s/he will get a certificate in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas.
On dropping out after two and three years, students will get a diploma and a Bachelor’s degree, respectively.
The four-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s program, however, will be the preferred option and will give a degree with research if a student has pursued a project along with it.
M.Phil. degree would be abolished.
It would establish a common higher education regulator with fee fixation for both private and public institutions.

Teacher Education:

By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a four-year integrated B.Ed degree.
Technology in Education:

The policy has proposed the setting up of a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration, etc., for both school and higher education.
A dedicated unit for the purpose of creating digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be set up in the ministry.

Academic Bank of Credit:

The ABC will digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognized HEIs so that the degrees from an HEI can be awarded taking into account credits earned.
Currently, a similar programme is being run where a student can opt for a course related to their degree on SWAYAM – online portal by the government, and credits associated with that course will be given to the student and help in their assessment for their degree course also.

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