How NEP has brought a ‘paradigm shift from ‘quantity to quality in the Indian education system
The New Education Policy to promote education among people of India is sure to improve the quality of education being rolled out. The policy covers elementary education to colleges in both rural and urban India. The new policy ensures to cover a wide ambit from Early childhood to higher education to professional education to vocational education to teacher education and training to professional education.
It is based on the ground reality of the country’s education scenario that puts more emphasis on the creativity and innovation as well as personality development of the students rather than expecting them to score high and memorizing the content without getting a basic grasp of concepts.
The NEP looks to improve the quality of education of our system in the following ways:
1. Change in the pedagogical structure
The 10+2 board examination structure has been dropped; the new school structure will be 5+3+3+4, which comes as a big relief; would prove revolutionary. While most of the existing private schools already have the ECCE embedded in their system and will only have to make a slight change in the class structure and objectives of the change.
2. Transforming the teaching-learning process
a. Focus on core essentials: Mapping of the curriculum across grades and narrowing it to the respective core knowledge only. The focus will be on practical application-based learning. This reduction will create space for teachers to add activities related to experiential learning, creative thinking and critical skills.
b. Stress on the importance of literacy/numeracy skills: All schools will have to rework in these areas to bring about a transformation in the teaching strategies so that these foundational skills can be developed, strengthened and achieved by Grade 3. There will need to be more focus at an early age on reading, writing, and learning of basic mathematical concepts. Introducing innovative teaching would be essential to achieve this.
c. Promoting multilingualism; the power of language: Wherever possible, students till Class 5 in schools should be taught in mother tongue or local language. Various studies that show young children best understand things in their mother tongue or home language. So teachers should be encouraged to be bilingual to achieve the best outcomes.
d. Changes in classroom teaching with the NEP: Moving away from rote learning & memorising to score marks during exams to actual conceptual understanding. Schools will have to adopt the top-down approach of shifting from syllabus completion to defining learning goals, curate classroom instruction through innovative pedagogy and link assessments to these goals. Educators must look at integrating subjects, streams and technology to create a holistic learning experience for students along with the component of digital literacy, scientific temper and computational thinking.
e. Change in the assessment pattern: Board exams will be designed such as to primarily test core capacities, & competencies. The progress card will now be designed to reflect the 360-degree assessment of a student. A multi-dimensional report card will be generated that will reflect the progress & uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective and psycho-motor domains.
f. No hard separations: Multidisciplinary and holistic educational approach between arts and sciences; curricular and extra-curricular activities; vocational & academic streams etc. In order to eliminate harmful hierarchies among or the silo between different areas of learning can be achieved by integrating the subjects and learning areas.
g. Vocational training and coding will start from Class 6: As mentioned in the NEP one bagless day can be planned for the hands-on learning of the vocational subjects. But the challenge would be how many vocational subjects are chosen, infrastructural changes and teacher availability.
The new National Education Policy (NEP) has demonstrated a clear will to move the needle away from the old world of learning. This has been highlighted with the triad of multidisciplinary higher education, multiple options at senior school and multiple chances of success in school-leaving examinations. The focus on foundational learning, the inclusion of the very young into formal learning and the emphasis on holistic learning are goals that are baked into the policy. As institution implement these changes, we will see a shift in the quality education system to one where students receive more conceptual and practical education.
(Author Rohan Parikh is a Managing Director at The Green Acres Academy. Views expressed here are personal.)