National Education Policy, 2020 

#GS2 #Education  

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Education Policy 2020, making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. 

Background of education policies in India  

  • As early as 1948, the Union Government established the University Education Commission and the Secondary Education Commission in 1952 to develop proposals to modernise India’s education system. 
  • Post-independence, University Education Commission under Dr S Radhakrishnan recommended creation of UGC. UGC was created in 1953 and granted statutory status in 1956. 
  • Second Five Year Plan focused on opening institutes of great importance and NCERT for primary and secondary education. Another Education Commission in 1964 was established under the chairmanship of Dr DS Kothari with the objective of modernising education in India. 
  • First National Education Policy in 1968, was a “radical restructuring” & provided equal opportunity to achieve national integration & economic development. 
  • 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976 curbed the deteriorating condition of education by shifting it to the concurrent list.  
  • National Education Policy, 1986 called for a “child-centred approach” in primary education & launched “Operation Blackboard” to improve infrastructure. It also emphasised on inclusive opportunity for women, SC & ST’s. 
  • 1992 modification to the National Education Policy, 1986 focused on strengthening higher education by its “Common Minimum Programme” which envisaged common entrance examination on all India basis for admission to professional and technical programmes in the country. 
  • 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002 made Education ‘a Fundamental Right’, under Article 21-A and imbibed education related provisions in Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties too. In 2009, the Right to Education was enforced providing compulsory education to all children of age 6-14. 
  • Right to education has helped to increase the enrolment rate quickly with which government is now focusing on improving the quality by training teachers under Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission & 4 year courses for B-Ed. 
  • T.S.R. Subramaniam Committee Report (May 27, 2016). 
  • Dr. K. Kasturirangan Committee Report (May 31, 2019). 

Challenges of Indian education system  

  • Huge rate of drop outs in primary and elementary education. 
  • Weak teaching faculty coupled with training facilities, outdated curriculum and poor infrastructure. 
  • Exam oriented with focus on rote-learning system. 
  • Poor employability of graduates. 
  • Wide disparities across socio-religious groups, genders and regions. 

Outcomes of National Education Policy, 2020  

  • Universalisation from Early Childhood Children Education (ECCE) to Secondary Education by 2030, aligning with SDG4. 
  • Attaining Foundational Learning & Numeracy Skills through National Mission by 2025. 
  • 100% GER in Pre-School to Secondary Level by 2030. 
  • Teachers to be prepared for assessment reforms by 2023. 
  • Inclusive & Equitable Education System by 2030. 
  • Board Exams to test core concepts and application of knowledge. 
  • Every Child will come out of School adept in at least one Skill. 
  • Common Standards of Learning in Public & Private Schools. 

Highlights of the new policy 

School Education  

  • New Policy aims for universalisation of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.  
  • NEP 2020 will bring 2 crore out of school children back into the main stream through open schooling system. 
  • The current 10+2 system to 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. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognised globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling. 
  • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools ; Vocational Education to start  from Class 6 with Internships 
  • Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/ regional language. No language will be imposed on any student. 
  • Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes. 
  • 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 . 

Higher Education  

  • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035;  3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education. 
  • The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and  multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. For example, certificate after 1 year, advanced diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with research after 4 years. 
  • Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate Transfer of Credits. It will be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different institutes so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned. 
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to  be set up as models  of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country. 
  • The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education. 
  • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have  four independent verticals – 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. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards. 
  • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university. 


  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration. 
  • NEP 2020 emphasises setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups. 
  • New Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up. 
  • The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest. 
  • Keeping in line with the recommendations of the TSR Subramanian Committee, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development has been renamed as the Ministry of Education. 

Background of National Education Policy, 2020  

  • NEP 2020 has been formulated after an unprecedented process of consultation that involved nearly over 2 lakh suggestions from 2.5 lakhs Gram Panchayats, 6600 Blocks, 6000 ULBs, 676 Districts. The MHRD initiated an unprecedented collaborative, inclusive, and highly participatory consultation process from January 2015. 
  • In May 2016, ‘Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy’ under the Chairmanship of Late Shri T.S.R. Subramanian, Former Cabinet Secretary, submitted its report. Based on this, the Ministry prepared ‘Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016’.  
  • In June 2017 a ‘Committee for the Draft National Education Policy’ was constituted under the Chairmanship of eminent scientist Dr. K. Kasturirangan, which submitted the Draft National Education Policy, 2019 to the Hon’ble Human Resource Development Minister on 31st May, 2019. Later, the Draft National Education Policy 2019 was opened for views/suggestions/comments of stakeholders, including public. 

Way forward  

  • The challenges confronting the Indian education system can be tackled by – 
  • Improving teacher’s quality in primary and secondary education. 
  • Minimising student-teacher ratio. 
  • Shifting from rot-learning practice to developing understanding. 
  • Schools should be learning centres not burden. 
  • Regulating tuition fees charged by private un-aided schools. 
  • Imbibing scientific temper by improving higher education. 

Complete autonomy to institutes of high importance on the basis of international best practices.

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