India’s new National education policy (NEP) 2020
This truly is a watershed moment for India. The NEP 2020 is a transformative policy move that can change the fortune of the country and its children. It is an excellent policy for private schools since it looks to minimize govt controls. It is also great for innovation since it aims to cut excessive content and instead to make room for progressive teaching methods. This is the first substantive reform our country has seen in 34 years! (The previous national education policy changes took place in 1986)
Sad state of education in India
According to the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2017 – 33% of children in grade 3 cannot read basic text and small paras and 44% children cannot solve basic math problems. The situation only gets worse by grade 8. According to The World Bank estimates, 50% of children in India cannot read simple text with meaning by age 10.
Based on proven practices
The NEP 2020 looks to achieve FLN (Foundational literacy and numeracy) by 2025. Fortunately these are not mere experiments. The FLN model has worked extremely well for other countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Philippines
The age old adage goes that teachers will always teach what is assessed. Fortunately assessment is being re-imagined and a NAS (National assessment center), also called PARAKH shall be set up. Again the NAS is based on proven models and is similar to successful models in Australia, USA and Brazil.
The NEP also aims to Introduce Key Stage Exams in grades 3,5 & 8. This is similar to successful prevailing models in Chile, Mexico, UK and Australia. According to research all these reforms have worked well across the developing world as well, in countries such as Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, UK, Tanzania and Bangladesh.
For the first time there shall be a shift away from rote learning. Critical thinking, creativity and 21st century skills are planned to be integrated into the curriculum. This is great news for progressive schools across India and shall potentially unlock tremendous innovation. Innovation is the engine that will drive our country into the 21st century.
The NEP also looks to encourage community participation. If implemented well it will sensitize children and potentially bridge the gap between the lower and higher economic strata.
Other positives include the creation of new libraries. synchronizing the curriculum with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, reduction of textbooks so they only contain essential core topics and material.
One of the boldest moves of the NAP is the planned removal of silos among subjects. With interdisciplinary learning the focus can shift from learning subjects to learning by doing projects and solving real world problems. Progressive teaching methods such as PBL (problem based learning) and cohort teaching (where a team of teachers from various disciplines come together to teach a group of students) can become mainstream.
If the NEP 2020 is implemented with fidelity there will be greater independence for private schools to craft and deliver innovative learning models. The learners will benefit from an experience that is far more interesting and aligned with the real world. A major shift could take place – a shift from recall of content (only for the exam) towards application of knowledge to find new and better ways of doing things. This is how innovation occurs and great nations are born. At Vega Schools, we call this a shift from lower Depth of Knowledge (DOK) levels to higher DOK levels. Higher DOK levels are necessary to create children of a new India.