Significance of Education Policy of India

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Education imparted in its various forms and ways has always been an integral part of mankind from time immortals. A regularized and effective education system is always a base of progress for any country and play a great role for the upliftment of unprivileged sections of society in particular. Education in its any form always equip a person with characters like flexibility, eagerness to learn, and innovation. In earlier times (ancient India) education was imparted to imbibe characters of human all together from privileged and unprivileged sections of society together and preparing them to face the tough lessons of life.

Further, providing education became a policy matter with demarcation of levels towards educational institutions, degrees (general/vocational) and with many more characters. With time, many education policies with particular and special characters came into existence and recently, planners of the country have come up once again with a New Education Policy (NEP)-2020 boosting to provide a panacea to all the ills in education system as well as in society due to education. It will nice to see, how our education policies came into existence from initial times and what is new in the present New Education Policy and the role earlier education policies played and the significance of the new education policy.

Ancient education system In ancient India

Vedic and Buddhist were two sources of education system and both formal and informal ways of education systemmight have existed as indigenous educationwas imparted at home, in temples, pathshalas, tols, chatuspadis and gurukulsguiding young children in imbibing pious ways of life i.e., self-reverence, self-discipline, self-knowledge and self-control. With these characters of ancient education people were able to lead life to sovereign power and ancient Indian education was dominated by strict moral codes of conduct.In case of Vedic education system,scriptures og holy books like Vedas, Vedangas and Upanishads werethe medium of learning. The duration of this period was 1500 BC to 600 BC.In the other side, the thoughts of the major Buddhist schools were preached by Buddhist system. Thehistory of modern educationis said to began with teaching of traditional elements such asIndian religions, Indian mathematics, Indianlogic at early Hindu and Buddhist centres of learning such as ancient Takshashila (in modern-day Pakistan) and Nalanda (in India) before the common era of national education policies.In agurukula or gurukulameducation systeminancientIndia, shishyas/disciples/students used to live near or with the guru/teacherat the same place/houseand the term is also used today to refer to residential monasteries or schools.Theaims of Vedic Educationof ancient India are summarized as: self-realization, development of healthy physique, character building, all personality development, preparing towards fulfilling social responsibility, emphasis on co-operation, emphasis upon knowledge and experience and sublimation of instinct.

Education during Mughal period

With the coming of the Mughals in India, educational and cultural activities received great changes and influences. Babur, the first Mughal ruler, was a man of literary taste and possessed perfect knowledge of Persian, Arabic and Turkish and great love for education and got a number of schools and colleges started/repaired. Hamayun(son of Babur) was also a great scholar like his father and provided patronage to men of arts and literature in his empire and also rendered valuable service to the cause of education. He was fond of the company of scholars and saints and spent lot of time in scholarly pursuits like collecting books and raising library. Then, EmporerSher Shah Suri, who ruled India when Humayun was in exile, was also a great patron of education and learning and established Madrasas for education at various places. During the Mughalperiod, the Muslim system of educationwas predominant in which enough stress was also laid on languages, music, arts and cultural studies. Then, Akbar, the great Mughalruler, also showed much greater interest in education and not only continued with the existing ancient Indian education system but also strengthened it by introduced madrasa education system at par with gurukula education system along with certain changes in the existing curriculum of studies in educational institutions and subjects like logic, arithmetic's, astronomy, accountancy and agriculture etc. were included in studies.

British education system

The educationwhich is taught in the schools today is said to be the modern which teaches about the skills required today that is the skills of science and technology, science of medical science etc. The modern educationincludes different modes of imparting education like listening, writing, visualizing, imagining, and thinking skills. The present system of education(school education) was introduced and founded by the British by the recommendations of Macaulaywhich had the student representatives from all classes of the society. In 1834, Thomas Babington Macaulay came to India with a to serve on the Supreme Council of India and to advise the Governor-General, Lord William Bentinck and worked for four years from 1834 to 1838in this role. The English educationact 1835 was formulated which gave effect to a decision in 1835 by Governor-General of the British East India Company to reallocate funds required by the British Parliament to spend on education. This policywas an attempt to create a system of educationwhich will educate only upper strata of society through English instead of other languages as Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and other Indianlanguages. Lord Macaulay thus is known to introduce British education system in India in place of Indian traditional educational system to produce white collar work force/babus far away from social realities.

Education policy after independence

An education policyconsists of the principles and government policies in the educationalsphere as well as the collection of laws and rules to govern the operation of education system in a country. Therefore, education policy can directly affect the educationpeople engage in at all spheres of education system. Soon after gaining independence, making educationavailable to all become a priority for the government. The present educationsystem inIndiamainly comprises of primary, secondary, senior secondaryand highereducation with a mix of vocational, professional and job oriented courses. A policy is a deliberate system of principles and a statement of intent to be implemented as a procedure or protocol to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. Each policydiffers from others by rules or laws. In independence India, the major education policy which is known to give a shape to the modern education system in the country is “The University Education Commission (1948-49)”. In subsequent years, several commissions and committees were appointed by the government for educational restructure and changes in the system of higher education in India from time to time and as per needs seems fit to planners of the country. The important documents that have been published are:

  • Towards an Enlightened and Human Society- A Perspective Paper on Education, 1960
  • Report of the Education Commission, 1964-66
  • National Policy on Education, 1968
  • Draft Policy on Education, 1978
  • National Commission on Teachers-II, 1983
  • Challenge of Education: A Policy Perspective, 1985
  • National Policy on Education: A Programme of Action, 1986 and 1992

Overall, India so far has three national Education Policies. The first came in 1968 and the second in 1986, under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi respectively; the NEP of 1986 was revised in 1992 when P V Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister. The third is the NEP released recently under the Prime Ministership of Narendra Modi.

New Education Policy2020

Under previous education policies, primary educationin the country has been free and compulsory in government schools but enrolment in these schools has decreased to a low level and private education sector has flourished. Though, midday meal has been started in schools since 1995 to check drop-out rate and the number of primaryschools has risen by three times from 2.10 lakh (1950-51) to 6.40 lakhs (2001-02). There were only 27 universities/institutes of higher learning in 1950-51 which increased to 254 in 2000-01 and at present the number is more than 900 (state/central/private/deemed to be universities). With all this expansion of quantity, quality of education in the country as well as employment and professional career to pass outs have not been sustained. The so called first National Education Policywas framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. It is said that during this period significant changes have taken place in our country, society economy, and the world at large and therefore country needs a new education policy.The present Indian government thought of replacing the 34-year-oldNational Policyon Educationwith theNew Education Policyof 2020. The NEP, approved by the union cabinet, is said to make sweeping reforms in school and highereducationincluding teaching.According to government this reform would transform the lives of millions of Indians. To mention, among the major reforms, the 10+2 structure in the schooling system has been replaced by a 5+3+3+4 structure. To make education available to all, NEP-2020 goes beyond what takes places within the four walls of the classroom. There are three main types of education, namely: formal, informal and non-formal and a child gets the education from his experiences outside the school as well as from those within on the basis of these factors.NEP-2020 envisages anewcurricular and pedagogical structure for schooleducationthat is responsive and relevant to the needs and interests of learners at different stages of their development. ThisPolicy aimsto shape aneducationsystem that benefits all of India's children and pillars on which India will become a knowledge superpower will be quality innovation and research.With NEP-2020, planners are hoping that this policy will boost employment in the country and will radically transform our educational ecosystem.

NEP-2020: Facts at a Glance

Related to school education

  • The aim to universalization of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
  • NEP 2020 aims to bring 2 crores out of school children back into the mainstream through the open schooling system.
  • The current 10+2 system in the school will be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
  • Under the school curriculum, this new system will bring an uncovered age group of 3 to 6 years, a crucial stage for the development of mental faculties of a child.
  • There will be 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre-schooling.
  • The new policy emphasises on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
  • There will be n rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools.
  • From class 6, Vocational Education will start with internships.
  • No language will be imposed on any student and teaching up to at least Grade 5 will be in mother tongue or regional language.
  • There will be assessment reforms with Holistic Progress Card (360 degree) and for achieving learning outcomes, progress of the students will be tracked.
  • NCTE in consultation with NCERT will formulate a new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021.
  • The minimum qualification for a teacher will be 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree by 2030.

Related to higher education

  • In higher education, Gross Enrolment Ration to be raised to 50% by 2035 and 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
  • Higher Education curriculum will possess flexibility of subjects.
  • Various entry/ exit options will be allowed with relevant certification.
  • To facilitate Transfer of Credits, the Academic Bank of Credits will be established.
  • National Research Foundation as an apex bodywill be created for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  • Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. It will be a single overarching umbrella body.
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) will be named as Ministry of Education.
  • Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up having four independent verticals namely: National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC)-for regulation;General Education Council (GEC)-for standard-setting; Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC)-for funding and National Accreditation Council(NAC)-for accreditation.
  • In 15 years, Affiliation System to be phased out with graded autonomy to colleges.

Some other facts

  • Emphasis on gender inclusion fund and special education zones for disadvantaged regions, and groups.
  • To increase the public investment in the education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest with coordinated efforts at the Centre and States level together.
  • To promote multilingualism in both schools and higher education, NEP-2020 emphasis on setting the National Institute for Pali, Persian, and Prakritand  Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation.

 

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