Principal's desk: NEP 2020 allows formal, non-formal pathways to learning
On July 29, 2020, the Union government took a giant stride, introducing the New Education Policy (NEO), 2020, with a vision to transform and add quality to education. The NEP 2020 seeks to transform every aspect of the system, from the foundation stage to its implementation and facilitation. It provides ample scope to adopt both formal and non-formal pathways to learning.
The NEP 2020 lays emphasis on learning outcomes viz. understanding of concepts, enhancing skills of creativity, communication, critical thinking, innovation and skill development. In my humble opinion, the implementation of the NEP calls for significant curricular and pedagogical changes in the Indian schooling system.
Planning and execution of a range of academic and co-curricular activities in the school are of paramount importance for the policy to be effective. The policy calls for a shift in the pedagogical structure of the education system to a 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 system which will necessitate activities to be designed from the foundation stage and linked to the knowledge acquired in subsequent classes as the 5+3+3+4 structure focuses on exams at the end of each stage instead of every year.
For the successful implementation of the 5+3+3+4 structure, a procedural change in the assessment patterns will be vital. Learning resources and materials re-designing to facilitate the cognitive, functional, critical thinking, and social development of children will be a salient strategy in order to scrape off the redundant culture of rote learning and shift to holistic methods of learning, equipping the budding pioneers with the indispensable skills of the 21st century.
Multilingualism is a much required feature that the NEP brings into force given the multicultural diversity of the nation.
Developing the essential proficiency at reading, writing, listening and numeracy through the power of the local language of a child is to be promoted to help the students gain conceptual understanding and knowledge acquisition simultaneously.
Use of the mother tongue will also make certain that parents become true partners and allow for better parental engagement. The NEP 2020 requires teacher preparedness in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude. The role of the teacher is set to change momentously as facilitators accompanying the learners in their quest for acquiring skills and imbibing the right attitude and aptitude.
Each teacher must necessarily map learning goals and the curriculum to acquiring skill sets of delivering the knowledge set, learning different strategies, techniques, use of teaching tools and have at her disposal a toolkit for paving the way forward. All teachers need to take ownership of professional development in a regular and sustained manner. The nation needs a pool of motivating guides acting as facilitators, for the diverse group of students on a pressing basis.
The way forward incorporates comprehensive inclusion of the disabled and marginalized. No section of society can be left out or overlooked. Education can no longer be synonymous with academic subjects only.
As a school leader, I am happy to see that the NEP discontinues the rigid separation between Science, Commerce and Arts streams.
The school infrastructure, facilities and faculty require rigorous organizational transposition in designing the school timetable, providing facilities for sports, design, theatre, home science and other vocational subjects.
All schools must allow for provisions at the middle and higher secondary level for the students to choose subject combinations of their choice.
Schools as a body will have to equip themselves to provide enough vocational opportunities and training sessions to the students depending upon the vocational stream they opt for. The purpose of assessment as per the new policy would have to be based on assessing the 360 degree development of the child.
This would require the redesigning of report card formats from the early stages grade levels to higher level grades.
The assessment parameters and learning rubrics need to be ideated with more realistic and achievable parameters. The revamping of the system will lead to a smooth transition from ‘what to think’ to ‘how to think’, integrating the scientific outlook objective. The successful implementation of NEP, 2020 will embark the education system on a successful journey from capacity to capability.