NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY, 2020- AN INTRODUCTION
The National Education Policy, 2020 approved by the union cabinet and passed on July 29 brings in a big change in the curriculum followed by the students from the beginning years of their schooling after 34 years of gap in the sense that it allows children to take up education from age 3 that gives a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). The new NEP, approved by the cabinet is not a law and thus has not been present before the parliament. This enhances the overall knowledge gaining and well-being process because over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs in the early years. The very aim and purpose to bring in a change is to develop good human beings who are being able to rationally think and act. This policy also calls for integrated studies with no hard and fast rules on separation of the streams for instance, science and music which recognizes and fosters the unique abilities. This kind of education policy has been brought forth to ensure developing the creative potential because education should not only be based on cognitive abilities but also on critical thinking and problem solving. This also clearly aims for inclusive and equalised education as it has proposed to provide education to all the marginalised, disadvantaged and under-represented students. This is because in any country education will be a key factor for social justice, economic growth and cultural upkeep. There were many fundamental principles while proposing the policy. Some of them are flexibility, no hard separations, multidisciplinary and holistic approach to education, emphasis on conceptual understanding, ethics and human values, life skills, continuous review etc. A brand new concept of National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education (NCFTE) 2021, will be formulated by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA BEFORE NEP
Education system in India has gone through remarkable changes over these years. Before NEP, the system followed in India was guided by different objectives when compared to the previous ones. After independence the mission of the ministry of education was quantitative spread of educational facilities. But however, after the 1960’s the efforts were channelized on qualitative spread of education. There were many initiatives taken in this regard. They were District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) in 1994 which focused on making primary school education accessible to all the school going age children. In 2001, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was introduced to concentrate on compulsory elementary education for all the children. The most remarkable initiative was the RTE act (2009) by lying down legal underpinning which provides a fundamental right to the children between 6 and 14 of accessing quality education and this was held in a landmark judgement Unnikrishan JP v State of Andhra Pradesh & others. Moreover the RTE act provides for a 25% reservation for socially backward students. On the whole all the educational policies before this NEP were aimed and promoted for free and equal access to education.
WHY NEP, 2020?
The main motto of bringing into effect the NEP, 2020 is to make quality education an easy access to all the students in our country. Although there were previous NEPs aiming for making India a better education place, they were more in quantity terms. For instance, the important outcomes of the NEP, 1986 were Navodhaya Vidhyalayas, Kendriya Vidhyalayas and use of IT in education. The whole idea behind the introduction of the National Education Policy, 2020 is to transform our country into ‘Bharat’-a society filled with vibrant knowledge and thus making India a global superpower in the field of education. The government through this policy visualizes a curriculum and pedagogy of institutions that will enroot in the students a deep sense of understanding and respect to the values of the constitution and fundamental duties. This will lead to a clear awareness of roles and duties as a citizen of this country right from a very young age. It is a policy in which the implementation depends on both the centre and state governments in that it is a concurrent subject. Vocational education to be imparted to students from class six which can prove to be useful for their skill development as a part of this policy. In conclusion, the government has proposed that by 2030 there will be guaranteed minimum degree qualification for all the students.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POLICY
Such a big initiative taken by the government to ensure quality education for all can be a milestone only if it is implemented effectively. However, this process requires a lot of efforts, resources and contributions by multiple bodies such as MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development), Union and the State governments, NCERT, SCERTs, HEIs and schools working together in an efficient manner. The makers have carefully laid down principles to be followed in the implementation process- First, the content and the spirit should be kept in mind throughout the process. Second, it is important to carry out the implementation in an organised manner. Third, comprehensiveness in implementation will be a key; as this Policy is interconnected and holistic. Finally, since education is a concurrent subject, it will require careful planning, joint monitoring, and collaborative implementation between the Centre and States.
In nutshell, the New Education Policy, 2020 has brought about a significant shift in the Indian education system as a whole. The proposed plan of internalization and a multidisciplinary approach to education seems to be advantageous in terms of providing quality education to the students than the previous education policies. However, the real question will be of implantation of the policy throughout the country as it is both resource and time consuming. To add on it calls for united efforts from both the tiers of the government as education is under the concurrent list of subjects.
 National Education Policy 2020, MHRD, https://www.mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NEP_Final_English.pdf (last accessed on Aug. 24, 2020, 10:22 PM).
 Unni Krishnan, J.P. & Ors. v. State Of Andhra Pradesh & Ors., AIR 1993 SC 2178 (India).
 CA Rohit Kapoor, Statutory Compliance Calendar for the Month of August 2020, Consultease, (Aug. 01, 2020) https://www.consultease.com/gst-compliances-in-india/statutory-compliance-calendar/.
 Supra. Note 1.