NEW DELHI, India — “Quality Education” is the fourth goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. India’s National Education Policy 2020 states various reforms that work towards ensuring the highest quality of education with a focus on uplifting the disadvantaged and marginalized communities. The changes in the policy will affect the structure, pedagogy and curriculum, which will further impact the learning outcomes of the children to meet the needs of 21st century India through research, quality and innovation.
Five Major Reforms of India’s National Education Policy 2020
- One of the major reforms is the restructuring of the pedagogical structure and curriculum by adopting the 5+3+3+4 model. The previous pedagogical structure did not cover children between the age group of 3 to 6. This will come into effect with the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) part of the new education policy. The focus is on creating a strong foundational base for children from all backgrounds regardless of their socio-economic status.
- One of the difficulties children face is the different number of languages spoken in India. Many believe that children learn and understand concepts better in their mother language. There are 22 different languages and over 720 different dialects spoken in India. The medium of instruction under India’s National Education Policy 2020 would be either the children’s mother tongue, regional language or local dialect. This will help bridge the language gap. Teachers would be encouraged to communicate bilingually in the teaching-learning process until at least class five.
- Disadvantaged and disabled children face inequality and challenges. The new education policy emphasizes the provision of special support for children with disabilities to pursue their education. Modules of Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be developed to get a standardized curriculum for students with hearing impairment across the country. The learning environment for children with disabilities would be inclusive, with safe and accessible infrastructure for toilets, classrooms and libraries. The goal is to provide barrier-free education for children with disabilities.
- The reforms also include focusing on experiential learning through the integration of arts and sports. Art integration in the curriculum would ensure learning of the rich arts and culture of India along with an enriched understanding of the core academic concepts. Pedagogical practice of integrating sports with the curriculum would ensure the development of various skills like teamwork, discipline, responsibility and collaboration in the students.
- India’s National Education Policy 2020 focuses on the development of 21st-century skills. These skills include enabling creativity, stimulating intellectual curiosity and encouraging deep thinking in the students. This requires investment in providing quality higher education to the students. The new education policy would integrate humanities and arts with STEM. Consequently, helping students to enable innovation, critical thinking and well-rounded thinking capacity. The policy would also allow collaboration with the top 100 foreign universities that could set up their campuses in India.
India’s National Education Policy 2020 provides broad guidelines that India’s various states will follow while collaborating with the central government. The complete implementation of the directions stated under the policy would take years, which will be initiated in different phases. The goal is to make the policy entirely operational across the country by the 2030-2040 decade.
– Anandita Bardia