Education remains an important sector to focus and spend on in literally all the countries of the world. The coming generations are the future of the country. Thus, education is an important facility that is to be provided by every government to its citizens. In India, due to the huge economic inequalities, there exist a great disparity wherein on one hand we have schools and institutions ranging from no proper infrastructure to international schools providing best facilities.
India has, till date, formulated 13 education policies aiming to improve enrollment of students in schools, enhance the quality of education, and to make education affordable. The education system in India is far from better for schooling and hence needs a robust framework to make it better.
The Ministry of Human Resource Department released the draft of the National Education Policy, 2019 in early January 2019. It was kept before the public for their opinions. The bill has not been yet passed in the Parliament. The Committee, headed by Dr. K. Kasturirangan, was formed in June 2017 for framing a policy for improvement of the education system of India. The draft policy aims at solving the issues of accessibility, affordability, equity, and accountability faced by the current education system of India.
Aims and Objectives of the policy
The National Education Policy 2019 aims to ensure implementation of policy, focus on inculcating high-quality research skills, etc. It has focused on primary and high schooling and suggested measures to be taken in order to provide proper care to children in their childhood.
It aims to reform the current exam system, strengthen teacher training and restructure the education regulatory framework. It further focuses on improving the quality of the faculty, childhood care for primary schools and vocational training and adult education. The policy also aims to introduce school complexes so that a culture of common sharing of resources is created.
The first education policy was introduced in 1968 with a goal to promote education in India. It introduced a three-language system to be followed in schools, aimed at promoting regional languages and providing compulsory education to children till the age of 14 years. There were, in total, 13 education policies introduced in India and almost every policy introduced has had similar aims and goals to accomplish. Even in the National Education Policy 2019, adult education, promotion of multilingual languages are examples of some of the common goals.
The previous education policy introduced in 2016, was mainly focused on pre-schooling and the creation of educational tribunals. It aimed to increase enrollment of students in schools by mapping the entire region and working on better infrastructure in schools. The protection of the rights of children and adolescent education was given importance. The school authorities were to be made aware of the relevant acts and regulations for the protection of children. It aimed to reduce gender discrimination in student enrollment and improve the ratio of girls in schools. The policy aimed to improve the quality of the faculty by providing guidelines for recruitments and further introduced skill development programmes in schools. It hopes to improve investment in education up to 6% of the GDP of the country. Internationalisation of education and distance learning were also promoted.
Briefing National Education Policy 2019
In the present scenario, the gross enrollment of the students has increased from 20.8% to 25.8% in2012-2018. The current National Education Policy focuses on early childhood and higher education. The objective is to provide each child quality education which is accessible by 2025. An educational framework for children from 0 to 3 years and 3 to 8 years old is introduced. It focuses on extra-curricular activities that are play-based and discovery-based. Practical learning and understanding of concepts is promoted.
Vocational training for all students and adult education are to be introduced. A National Committee for the integration of vocational courses is to be made for the same. The introduction of a foreign language in secondary education is recommended for a better approach towards learning. Multilingual teaching is promoted so that the language learning abilities of the children are enhanced. UNESCO supports mother-tongue instruction as a means of improving educational quality by building upon the knowledge and experience of the learners and teachers.
The committee suggests the extension of the Right to Education Act, 2009 to children between 3-6 years of age as early childhood care forms a strong base for children to start learning. It suggests that the Right to Education Act must include compulsory education up to the age of 18, because the dropout rate after grade 5 and grade 8 is high. The committee found that around 6.2 crore students aged between 6 and 18 years were out of school in 2015.
The draft suggests improvement of the education system by reforming the exam system and reforming the pedagogy. The low quality of teachers has had a great impact on the education system of India. The draft provides for a four year teacher-preparation programme that will include high-quality content and practical training. The education system of India has been following a pedagogical structure of 10+2 i.e. schooling and junior college for intermediate education. The committee suggests a new structure that is 5+3+3+4 design which consists of the foundational, preparatory, middle and high school stage.
The committee has suggested the creation of a National Education Commission headed by the Prime Minister. The commission is supposed to monitor all the decisions and activities related to education and monitor education boards like NCERT, CBSE, ICSE etc. The draft aims to double the gross enrollment ratio of students in universities from 25% to 50% by 2035 and aims to turn universities into research hubs. The Committee has observed that the total investment on research and innovation in India has declined from 0.84% of GDP in 2008 to 0.69% in 2014. Thus, establishment of a National Research foundation is suggested to grant competitive funding.
The draft of the National Education Policy, 2019 has envisioned the transforming of the education system of India. It aims to improve the quality of institutions and faculty by improvising the existing methods. The draft aims to improve the standard of the Universities and aims at enhancing learning capacities of the children. Though the committee has formulated a draft which would reduce the loopholes in the education system of India, its implementation is the focal issue. Implementation of the policy is to be guaranteed or else the National Education Policy, 2019 will act as a stagnant policy having no results. The funding problem and corruption are the important hurdles to overcome for the implementation.
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