By Rajiv Shukla
NEW DELHI : Dumping the draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2016
to the dustbin, the NDA 2 government presented a
new draft of the NEP
2019 for public feed-back.
The new avtar of the draft NEP was presented to the new Human Resource
Development Minister Ramesh Pokhrial 'Nishank' on May 31 by the NEP
drafting committee members, headed by former ISRO chief Dr K
The recommendations, spread over 500 pages, include changes to training of
teachers, suggestions on how school fees must be regulated, and the
start of a new, four-year liberal arts undergraduate course. It suggests
complete overhaul of the board examinations, removing distinctions
between different “streams” of study, a greater freedom to choose
subjects and learning in local languages.
The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992. A new education
policy was part of the BJP’s manifesto in 2014 general polls.
In school education, the policy pitches for sweeping changes in teaching
and assessment so that current methods that reward memory and learning
by rote are replaced. “Curriculum and pedagogy are transformed by 2022
in order to minimise rote learning and instead encourage holistic
development and 21st century skills such as critical thinking,
creativity, scientific temper, communication, collaboration,
multilingualism, problem solving, ethics, social responsibility, and
digital literacy,” the draft says.
The panel said the present system of board exams in class X and XII led to
stress and promoted a coaching centre culture, suggesting instead a
flexible system spread over the four years between grades IX and XII in
which students can take a board examination in a subject in the semester
they study it in. It also recommended that students be allowed to retake
tests if they feel they can study and do better – especially when
computer-based adaptive tests can be rolled out.
The panel has held that private schools may be free to set their fees, but
there shall be no arbitrary hikes. Substantial increases that cannot be
anticipated and/or justified shall not be made, including under any
‘fees head’, such as ‘school development’, ‘infrastructure fund’, etc,
it said. The Right to Education Act should also cover secondary
education, the report said, calling for the availability of free and
compulsory quality secondary education for all students by 2030.
The committee also proposed major transformation in teacher education by
shutting down substandard teacher education institutions. The 4-year
integrated stage-specific B.Ed programme will eventually be the minimum
degree qualification for teachers.
In the matter of Higher Education the draft NEP calls for a complete
change in the present system of regulation where bodies like the
University Grants Commission (UGC) not only distribute funds but also
enforce regulations. It has called for setting up a National Higher
Education Regulatory Authority for a higher education and a similar body
In higher education, the draft NEP proposes three types of higher
education institutions. Type 1: Focused on world-class research and high
quality teaching; Type 2: Focused on high quality teaching across
disciplines with significant contribution to research; Type 3: High
quality teaching focused on undergraduate education. This will be driven
by two Missions -Mission Nalanda & Mission Takshashila. There will be
re-structuring of Undergraduate programs (e.g. B.Sc, BA, B.Com, B.Voc) of 3
or 4 years duration and having multiple exit and entry options.
A new apex body Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog is proposed to enable a
holistic and integrated implementation of all educational initiatives
and programmatic interventions, and to coordinate efforts between the
Centre and States. The National Research Foundation, an apex body is
proposed for creating a strong research culture and building research
capacity across higher education.
The private and public institutions will be treated on par and education
will remain a ‘not for profit’ activity.
The experts also took into account the report of a panel headed by former
cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian. “Indian contribution to knowledge and
the historical context that led to them will be incorporated wherever
relevant, into the existing school curriculum and textbooks,” the policy
“The topics will include Indian contribution to mathematics, astronomy,
philosophy, psychology, yoga, architecture, medicine, as well as
governance, polity, society, and conservation course on Indian knowledge
systems,” it added.