All About New National Education Policy 2020: Explained | Education Systems Around The World: A Comparison

Education System

After 28 Years, The Ministry of Human Resource Development, India (Soon to be Ministry of Education) has announced A New Policy for the Education System which was framed in 1986.

Union Cabinet approved the New National Education Policy 2020 (National Higher education bill), paving way for transformational reforms in the school and higher education sector in the country.

Union Ministers for Information and Broadcasting (I&B)Prakash Javadekar and Human Resource Development (HRD) and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank released the New Education Policy 2020 which shall be implemented from the academic year 2021/22.

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JNU, Delhi

National Education Policy 2020 has been the break-down of the existing 10+2 academic format and introduction of the 5+3+3+4 structure of School Education.

  • ‘From ages 3 to 8 years’ is the Foundational Stage (5 Years duration)
  • ‘From ages 8 to 11 or classes 3 to 5’ is the Preparatory Stage (3 Years duration)
  • ‘From classes 6 to 8’ is the Middle Stage (3 Years duration)
  • ‘From classes 9 to 12’ is the Secondary Stage (4 Years duration)

Foundational Stage (5): For ages 3 to 8 years, the foundational stage has been suggested. The multi-level play activity-based learning would include 3 years at Anganwadi’s, pre-school, or as commonly called playschools and the kindergarten classes catering to ages 3 to 6.

Preparatory Stage (3): This is for ages 8 to 11 or classes 3 to 5. The focus would shift to play, discovery, and activity-based and interaction classroom learning. The focus until this stage would remain on the development of language and numeracy skills, in accordance with the cognitive development of a child.

Middle Stage (3): Referring to classes 6 to 8, the new structure aims at transforming the pedagogy from the existing system to more experiential learning in the sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences, and humanities.

National Education Policy also aims a considerable change in the examination structure. Key stage assessments (at Grades 3, 5, and 8) would be conducted to track the development of the child. As for the secondary stage, the board examinations would be reformed.

New Education Policy will bring a slew of major changes including allowing top foreign universities to set up campuses to India, a greater proportion of students getting vocational education, and a move towards institutes including IITs turning multi-disciplinary.

The new academic session will begin in September-October – the delay is due to the unprecedented coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak – and the government aims to introduce the policy before the new session begins. Students of class 6 and onwards will be taught coding in schools. The medium of instruction will be the local/ regional language.

By 2040, all higher education institutions (HEIs) shall aim to become multidisciplinary institutions. NEP aims at setting up at least one large multidisciplinary institution in or near every district by the year 2030. A university will mean a multidisciplinary institution that offers undergraduate and graduate programs, with high-quality teaching, research, and community engagement.

Even engineering institutions, such as IITs, will move towards more holistic and multidisciplinary education with more arts and humanities. Students of arts and humanities will aim to learn more science. the policy proposes discontinuation of M. Phil and also a 4 year bachelors’ degree with research.

The undergraduate degree courses will be of either 3 or 4- year duration, with multiple exit options. A certificate course after completing 1 year in a discipline or field, including vocational and professional areas, or a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year program. The 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s program, however, shall be the preferred option.

New Education Policy 2020 aims at promoting India as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs. An International Students Office at each institution hosting foreign students will be set up.

An Academic Bank of Credit (ABC) shall be established which would digitally store the academic credits earned.

High performing Indian universities will be encouraged to set up campuses in other countries. Selected universities like those from among the top 100 universities in the world will be facilitated to operate in India.

There will e-content in the regional languages apart from English and Hindi, said Khare. E-courses to be in eight major languages not just English and Hindi

Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative & Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation.

In order to reduce the importance and stress of board exams, exams will be conducted in two parts: Objective and descriptive. Exams can be conducted twice a year. Board exams should promote knowledge application rather than rote learning.

Students will get a 360-degree holistic report card, which will not only inform about the marks obtained by them in subjects but also their skills and other important points.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) will offer a high-quality common aptitude test, as well as specialized common subject exams in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year for university entrance exams.

Quality technology-based options for adult learning such as apps, online courses/modules, satellite-based TV channels, online books, and ICT-equipped libraries and Adult Education Centres, etc. will be developed.

Experiential learning will include hands-on learning, arts-integrated and sports-integrated education, story-telling-based pedagogy, among others, as standard pedagogy. Classroom transactions will shift, towards competency-based learning and education

Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills.

National Scholarship Portal for SC, ST, OBC, SEDGs students to be expanded.

There will be no hard separation among ‘curricular’, ‘extracurricular’, or ‘co-curricular’, among ‘arts’, ‘humanities’, and ‘sciences’, or between ‘vocational’ or ‘academic’ streams.

Subjects such as physical education, arts and crafts, and vocational skills, in addition to science, humanities, and mathematics, will be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.

Bagless days will be encouraged throughout the year for internships & various types of enrichment activities involving arts, quizzes, sports, and vocational crafts.

Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the foundational stage to higher education, with support of educators with cross-disability training, resource centers, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools, and other support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs.

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.

Free boarding facilities will be built – matching the standard of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas particularly for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence, State Governments may encourage opening NCC wings in their secondary and higher secondary schools, including those located in tribal-dominated areas.

The new National Education Policy (NEP) will create new opportunities for students in the domain of higher education, moreover, they can pursue education with greater flexibility in a seamless learning-environment, said Professor Najma Akhtar, Jamia Millia Islamia Vice-Chancellor.


The Education System in India before 2020

The modern school system was brought to India, including the English language, originally by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay in the 1830s. The curriculum was confined to “modern” subjects such as science and mathematics, and subjects like metaphysics and philosophy were considered unnecessary. Teaching was confined to classrooms and the link with nature was broken, as also the close relationship between the teacher and the student.

The Uttar Pradesh (a state in India) Board of High School and Intermediate Education was the first Board set up in India in the year 1921 with jurisdiction over Rajputana, Central India, and Gwalior. In 1929, the Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Rajputana, was established. Later, boards were established in some of the states. But eventually, in 1952, the constitution of the board was amended and it was renamed Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). All schools in Delhi and some other regions came under the Board. It was the function of the Board to decide on things like curriculum, textbooks, and examination system for all schools affiliated to it. Today there are thousands of schools affiliated to the Board, both within India and in many other countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

Universal and compulsory education for all children in the age group of 6-14 was a cherished dream of the new government of the Republic of India. This is evident from the fact that it is incorporated as a directive policy in article 45 of the constitution. But this objective remains far away even more than half a century later. However, in the recent past, the government appears to have taken a serious note of this lapse and has made primary education a Fundamental Right of every Indian citizen. The pressures of economic growth and the acute scarcity of skilled and trained manpower must certainly have played a role to make the government take such a step. The expenditure by the Government of India on school education in recent years comes to around 3% of the GDP, which is recognized to be very low.

India is divided into 28 states and 7 so-called “Union Territories”. The states have their own elected governments while the Union Territories are ruled directly by the Government of India, with the President of India appointing an administrator for each Union Territory. As per the constitution of India, school education was originally a state subject —that is, the states had complete authority on deciding policies and implementing them. The role of the Government of India (GoI) was limited to coordination and deciding on the standards of higher education. This was changed with a constitutional amendment in 1976 so that education now comes in the so-called concurrent list. That is, school education policies and programs are suggested at the national level by the GoI though the state governments have a lot of freedom in implementing programs. Policies are announced at the national level periodically. The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), set up in 1935, continues to play a lead role in the evolution and monitoring of educational policies and programs.

There is a national organization that plays a key role in developing policies and programs, called the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) that prepares a National Curriculum Framework. Each state has its counterpart called the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT). These are the bodies that essentially propose educational strategies, curricula, pedagogical schemes, and evaluation methodologies to the states’ departments of education. The SCERTs generally follow guidelines established by the NCERT. But the states have considerable freedom in implementing the education system.

The National Policy on Education, 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA) 1992 envisaged free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality for all children below 14 years before the 21st Century. The government committed to earmark 6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education, half of which would be spent on primary education. The expenditure on Education as a percentage of GDP also rose from 0.7 percent in 1951-52 to about 3.6 percent in 1997-98.

The school system in India has four levels: lower primary (age 6 to 10), upper primary (11 and 12), high (13 to 15) and higher secondary (17 and 18). The lower primary school is divided into five “standards”, upper primary school into two, high school into three, and higher secondary into two. Students have to learn a common curriculum largely (except for regional changes in mother tongue) till the end of high school. There is some amount of specialization possible at the higher secondary level. Students throughout the country have to learn three languages (namely, English, Hindi, and their mother tongue) except in regions where Hindi is the mother tongue and in some streams as discussed below.

There are mainly three streams in school education in India. Two of these are coordinated at the national level, of which one is under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and was originally meant for children of central government employees who are periodically transferred and may have to move to any place in the country. A number of “central schools” (named Kendriya Vidyalayas) have been established for the purpose in all main urban areas in the country, and they follow a common schedule so that a student going from one school to another on a particular day will hardly see any difference in what is being taught. One subject (Social Studies, consisting of History, Geography, and Civics) is always taught in Hindi, and other subjects in English, in these schools. Kendriya Vidyalayas admit other children also if seats are available. All of them follow textbooks written and published by the NCERT. In addition to these government-run schools, a number of private schools in the country follow the CBSE syllabus though they may use different textbooks and follow different teaching schedules. They have a certain amount of freedom in what they teach in lower classes. The CBSE also has 141 affiliated schools in 21 other countries mainly catering to the needs of the Indian population there.

Each state in the country has its own Department of Education that runs its own school system with its own textbooks and evaluation system. As mentioned earlier, the curriculum, pedagogy, and evaluation method are largely decided by the SCERT in the state, following the national guidelines prescribed by the NCERT.

Each state has three kinds of schools that follow the state curriculum. The government runs its own schools in land and buildings owned by the government and paying the staff from its own resources. These are generally known as government schools. The fees are quite low in such schools. Then there are privately owned schools with their own land and buildings. Here the fees are high and the teachers are paid by the management. Such schools mostly cater to urban middle-class families. The third kind consists of schools that are provided grant-in-aid by the government, though the school was started by a private agency in their own land and buildings. The grant-in-aid is meant to help reduce the fees and make it possible for poor families to send their children. In some states like Kerala, these schools are very similar to government schools since the teachers are paid by the government and the fees are the same as in government schools.


Major Differences In Education Systems Around The World

There are many research findings on the education systems around the world that force us to think about how we impart education to our students. The few countries that dominate conversations of good education systems are Finland, South Korea, UK, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

The secondary education system in the United Kingdom is quite different from that of other countries. At age 16, students usually take exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). They can then choose what type of education they would like to pursue for the next two years. Many choose to study for A-Level qualifications that allow entry to universities like Oxford and Cambridge, while others continue at vocational colleges or spend time undertaking work-based apprenticeships.

South Korea: The main focus of their system is primary education. They make a good start with students, which carries them through the rest of their educational life. The students are known to go to school seven days a week. South Korea spends 8% of its GDP on education as compared to a 6% average of other OECD participating countries. Culturally there is high emphasis placed on education. Parents are very involved and are willing to spend a lot of money to get their child the education they need. Teachers have to be highly qualified and are also paid good salaries. It is one of the coveted career choices in South Korea.

Equality is a central feature of the Finnish education system – often named one of the best education systems in the world – and many efforts are made to ensure every student in the country leaves school with the same level of learning. For example, students are not separated into different classes based on ability, and every school draws from the same bank of highly-educated teachers. This Nordic country also avoids comparing students against one another so, apart from one exam at the end of the final year of high school, there are no mandated tests in Finland!

Japan/Singapore/Hong Kong: All three systems have a technology-based education structure. They are also similar to South Korea in the fact that their main focus is also primary education and they spend a good percentage of their GDP on education. The primary, secondary and higher education levels are exemplary in their approach and work. Student retention is a common practice. The education system has moved instruction further away from the rote memorization and repetitive tasks on which it had originally focused to deeper conceptual understanding and problem-based learning. The Singapore’s ministry of education’s recent policy of ‘Teach less, learn more’ is highly popular and has catapulted its education system onto the top rungs in the world.

The education system in Australia is influenced by its climate which is very different to countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. For instance, because the summer occurs from December to February rather than mid-year, the school year Down Under typically runs from late January to early December. Plus, most schools require students to wear hats when outdoors in spring and summer to protect against the risk of skin cancer caused by powerful UV rays from the sun.

Canada: In the last few years, Canada has been a surprise entry in the top 10 education systems surprising many. Their system is very simple. They focus on three main parts: literacy, math and high school graduation. With a clear vision, they have created a transparent system in collaboration with administrators, teachers and the union to create a curriculum and methodology that is successful. The system encourages teamwork, quality education, continued teacher training,  transparent results and a culture of sharing best practices. The teacher morale is also high because their pay is acceptable, working conditions are favorable, facilities are good and there are all kinds of opportunities for teachers to improve their practice. Most importantly, perhaps, there is discretion for teachers to make their own judgments.

School in China tends to be quite intensive. Chinese children typically start their formal education at the age of two and are expected to recognize 400 Chinese characters by the first semester of first grade. Many students in China also spend hours after school completing homework or attending music classes, sports clubs, and additional lessons with tutors.

When your child turns 7, it’ll be time for basic education. Finland doesn’t divide its basic education into elementary and junior highs. Instead, it offers single-structure education for nine years, 190 days per year. As with ECEC, policymakers leave plenty of room for local school administrators and teachers to revise and revamp the curriculum to meet the needs of their unique student body.

“The ideology is to steer through information, support and funding,” writes Finnish National Agency for Education (which sets core curricula requirements). Their stated goal for basic education is “to support pupils’ growth toward humanity and ethically responsible membership of society and to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed in life.” This latitude includes what tests to give, how to evaluate student progress and needs, and even the ability to set daily and weekly timetables.

Such autonomy may sound scary to some parents. What if your child spends all day learning phenomenological regressions of the Konami Code? (Though that would be fascinating). Finland’s parents, however, don’t have such concerns as teaching is a highly respected and professional field in Finland.

Most teachers hold a master’s degree, and basic-ed teachers are required to hold them. Eighty percent of basic-ed teachers also participate in continuing professional development. This level of learning and continuous development ensures Finland’s educators are steeped in the science of teaching — ironically, drawing inspiration from the American pedagogy of yesteryear.

Educational systems around the world have many differences, though the same factors—including resources and money—affect every educational system. Educational distribution is a major issue in many nations, including in the United States, where the amount of money spent per student varies greatly by state. Education happens through both formal and informal systems; both foster cultural transmission. Universal access to education is a worldwide concern.

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