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The National Education Policy 2020

The National Education Policy 2020


  • The National Education Policy 2020 has been approved by the union cabinet. The new policy replaces the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
  • This is the first education policy of the 21st century and replaces the thirty-four year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.
  • In 2018, a committee headed by K. Kasturirangan submitted its report on the new education policy.
  • Objective: To transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, suited to the 21st century. The policy also aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.
  • Adult Education: Policy aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy.
  • Financing Education: The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  • Education is in the concurrent list of schedule 7 of the Indian constitution, also most states have their own school boards.


Policies related to School Education

Universal Access at all levels of school education

  • NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre school to secondary.
  • About 2 crore out of school children will be brought back into main stream under NEP 2020.

Following steps will be taken:

  • Innovative education centers to bring back dropouts into the mainstream,
  • Tracking of students and their learning levels,
  • Facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes,
  • An association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools,
  • Open learning for class 3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools,
  • Secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses,

Early Childhood Care &Education with new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure

  • With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14- 18 years respectively.
  • This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
  • The new system will have 12 years of schooling with 3 years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.

National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood

Care and Education (NCPFECCE):

  • Developed by NCERT for children up to the age of 8. 
  • institutions including Anganwadis and preschools will have teachers and Anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum.
  • The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs

Attaining Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

  • National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by MHRD.
  • States will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all learners by grade 3 by 2025.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy is to be formulated.

Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy

  • Holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st-century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking, and a greater focus on experiential learning.
  • Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects.
  • There will be no rigid separations between
    • Arts and sciences,  
    • Curricular and extra-curricular activities,  
    • Vocational and academic streams.
  • Vocational education will also start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships.
  • NCERT will develop a new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21.

Multilingualism and the power of language

  • The policy has emphasized mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond.
  • Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula.
  • Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options.
  • No language will be imposed on any student. 
  • Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level.
  • Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.

Assessment Reforms

  •  Shift from summative assessment to regular and formative assessment, which is more competency-based, promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity.
  • All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.
  • Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development.
  • National Assessment Centre, PARAKH:  Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development, will be set up as a standard-setting body.

Equitable and Inclusive Education

  • Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities, and disabilities. 
  • Gender Inclusion Fund: The policy also includes setting up of a Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
  • Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process.
  • Every state/district will be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans” as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities.
  • Free school infrastructure can be used as Samajik Chetna Kendras.

Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path

  • Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes.
  • A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.

School Governance

  • Schools can be organized into complexes or clusters which will be the basic unit of governance and ensure availability of all resources including
    • Infrastructure,
    • Academic libraries and
    • Strong professional teacher community.

Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

  • NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters.
  • States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority
  • (SSSA).
  • The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

Classical languages:

  • 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.
  • Mother tongue: Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/ mother-tongue/ local language/ regional language. This will be followed by both public and private schools.

Policies related to Higher Education

Increase GER to 50 % by 2035

  • NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.
  • 3.5 Crore new seats will be added to Higher education institutions

Holistic Multidisciplinary Education

  • Broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with
    • Flexible curricula,
    • Creative combinations of subjects,
    • Integration of vocational education and
    • Multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification.
  • UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  • Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs
  • The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.


  • Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding
    • Medical and
    • Legal education.

HECI to have four independent verticals –

  1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation,
  2. General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting,
  3. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, and
  4. National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation.
  • Powers to penalise: HECI will function through faceless intervention through technology, &will have powers to penalise HEIs not conforming to norms and standards.
  • Same regulation for Public and private higher education institutions: Both will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.

Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty

  • NEP makes recommendations for motivating, energizing, and building capacity of faculty thorugh
    • Clearly defined,
    • Independent,
    • Transparent recruitment ,
    • Freedom to design curricula/pedagogy,
    • Incentivising excellence,
    • Movement into institutional leadership.
  • Faculty not delivering on basic norms will be held accountable

Teacher Education

  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.
  • By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree

Mentoring Mission

  • A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty
  • willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.

Financial support for students

  • To incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs.
  • The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships.
  • Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.

Open and Distance Learning

  • Significant role in increasing GER.
  • Online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based Recognition of moocs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class Programmes.

Online Education and Digital Education:

  • For promoting online education
  • to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and in-person modes of education are not possible
  • A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD

Technology in education

An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.

Promotion of Indian languages

 To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP recommends:

  • Setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI)
  • National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit
  • Strengthening of Sanskrit 
  • All language departments in HEIs
  • Use mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI programmes .

Professional Education

  • All professional education will be an integral part of the higher education system.
  • Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.

Internationalization of education

Internationalization of education will be facilitated through

  • institutional collaborations
  • Student and faculty mobility
  • Allowing entry of top world ranked universities to open Campuses in our country



National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to revamp all aspects of India's education system that was in place over three decades and bring it closer to the best global standards of education. The cabinet under the guidance of Prime minister Narendra Modi has now given a nod to this new education policy for the 21st century. The new education policy is applauded by many authorities and is regarded as a promising model of education reforms that have been brought in India

Good of New Education Policy:

  • Higher education material in regional language: The policy calls for an “effort” to create high quality bilingual textbooks so students can understand concepts in both English and their regional languages.
  • Remove Rote Learning’: The bad part of Indian Education system was and is in its ‘Rote Learning’. NEP focuses on removal of rote learning and emphasizes on concepts, creativity and extra curricular work.
  • Foreign players: Participation of foreign universities in India is currently limited to them entering into collaborative twinning programmes, sharing faculty with partnering institutions and offering distance education. NEP allows foreign institutions to set up their branch in India. It will increase the education quality in India and further will improve our QS World university ranking.
  • Holy trinity of Science, Commerce or Humanities-the holy trinity of subject streams in Class 11 & 12, with one stream always deemed more divine than the others, have been done away.
  • Multi-disciplinarity: One of the buzz words in the document is multi-disciplinarity — an apparently attractive and flexible proposition, allowing learners to experiment with a variety of options.
  • Technology in Education: The new NEP has a new section on digital education to ensure “equitable use of technology”.
    • A dedicated unit to coordinate digital infrastructure, content and capacity building will be created within the Education Ministry to look after the online learning needs of both school and higher education. 
  • National Testing Agency:  It will serve as a premier, expert, autonomous testing organisation to conduct entrance examinations… in higher educational institutions.” This is expected to be a means of “drastically reducing the burden on students, universities and colleges, and the entire education system.”
    • It would attempt to create space for context-specific and diverse modes of evaluation for different fields of learning is a possibility that remains unexplored.
  • De-bureaucratisation: the NEP 2020 tries to de-bureaucratise the education system by giving governance powers to academicians. The policy recommends including more academicians in decision-making bodies. It recommends preparing a category of educational administrators among the teachers — the idea behind this move is to minimise the dependence on the administrative services and reduce hierarchy.
  • Financial support for students: Efforts will be made to incentivise the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.
  • No More Dropouts: Under the NEP, undergraduate degree will be of either 3 or 4-year duration with multiple exit options within this period. College will be mandated to give certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor's degree after a 3-year programme.

The Bad of New Education Policy:

  • English on backseat: In a bid to promote regional and local languages, English will take a back seat if this is implemented. While English is the language that was imposed on us for centuries and is the language of our colonizer, it does give us a great comparative global advantage because it is the language that the world talks in.
  • Underfunding of education: The move is also questionable because the education sector in our country is extremely underfunded. The condition of the government schools is deplorable, and the lack of competence is starkly evident.
  • Fiscal Burden: Though all acknowledge this fact that education is such a crucial sector that needs huge investment by the government. This policy promises 6 % of GDP expenditure into education. It will further increase the fiscal burden of the government
  • The incumbent government has set a target of 2040 to implement the entire policy. Sufficient funding is also crucial; the 1968 NEP was hamstrung by a shortage of funds.
  • Poor Quality of education: Another reason for the poor quality of education is the poor quality of teachers in government schools. The level of education that government schools are not as expected and they do not possess an honest image among people. NEP does not talk how it will improve the quality
  • Focus on multiple disciplines will dilute the character of single-stream institutions, such as IITs.
  • Examinations only in Classes 3, 5, and 8: Examinations are not just for checking a student’s potential, but a touchstone — a check and a preparation for education and life. If the foundation is laid thus, the future is definitely under question. Eliminating annual examinations from junior classes is not the solution. A more sensitive approach needs to brought about in parents and teachers to instill this life skill in children.
  • Political and bureaucratic resistance: The national education policies of 1968 and 1986 were also excellent and visionary, but could not be implemented due to political and bureaucratic resistance. The government is very much dependent on its bureaucrats for the implementation of its policies. Education, too, is a field where bureaucratic interests are involved, both at the Centre and state level, and accommodates them even after their retirement. So, it is not easy to curtail bureaucratic interest.

Way forward:

  • It is possible to promote regional and English language, both  at once, but introducing learning in English directly in Class 6 will prove to be very hard on children who come from backgrounds that aren’t as privileged as those from rich and upper-caste families
  • It took 34 years for a change in the education system. So, the rechristened education ministry needs to overhaul at least 34 years, if not more, of the science-stream raga that parents have been dutifully chanting.
  • There ought to be more emphasis given on adult education as it is necessary to teach the parents and guardians first in order that they become keen towards there ward’s education.
  • The condition of the government colleges and institutions ought to be raised to a reasonable level.
  • The NEP only provides a broad direction and is not mandatory to follow. Since education is a concurrent subject (both the Centre and the state governments can make laws on it), the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states.
  • It is to be hoped that beyond the immediate excitement that the announcement of the implementation of the NEP has generated, there will be opportunities to examine its long-term implications, and, if necessary, revisit it, before it is actually implemented.
  • To make India a vibrant educational hub, one needs to take steps forward and not backward. We need to compare our education boards with international boards. People lagging need to be brought forward.

Source: The Hindu