Critical Analysis on National Educational Policy, 2019

Critical Analysis of National Educational Policy, 2019

Author: Ms. Vaishali Malhotra, Kurukshetra University

Co-Author: Abhishek Naharia, RGNUL, Patiala.

Brief introduction of Draft Education Policy of 2019

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (the HRD Ministry) releases the Draft National Policy for India. The Member of Parliament who introduced the Draft National Policy for this year was Vijila Satyanath in a written form on the 3rd of January, Thursday, 2019. On the 31st May 2019 the Draft National Education Policy (NEP) was kept before the public for their perusal and comments. Since 1986, for the first time, comprehensive education policy of India was in the making. The changes in the Draft National Education Policy would be very slow and steady as it comes naturally to the children that every year the curriculum is the same and it requires very minute and minimal changes. But Education being the prime most sector, it does require manipulations for the betterment of the children and the youth, who are the founding stones of the Nation. The Committee which put the policy for the public on 31st May was headed by Dr. K. Kasturirangan and it was formed way long back in June 2017. The Policy seeks to address the challenges on access, equity, quality, affordability and accountability faced by the current education system.

Background and Overview of Education Sector of India

The last National Education Policy was released in July 2016. The major highlights of the Education sector in the 2016 policy were as follows. Over the years, the enrolment in class 6 and above has improved. India’s enrolment rate in primary education is almost at par with the other developing nations across the globe, but one place where India lacks behind is that after class 6, India is not able to keep up with enrolment rates. Transition rates mean the proportion of students who are able to advance to a higher class. As per data, ninety percent of students transition from class 5 to 6, but only 67 percent from class 10 to 11. Further, more SC and ST students have found to be drop out of school, when we take into consideration the elementary education. Lastly, most states are having at least a teacher for 30 students in classes 9-12.

 Committee Report on Early Education and Childhood

The Committee Report ended overall n a positive note. Where on one hand, the Committee observed several quality-related deficiencies in the existing early childhood learning programs. It observed that the quality of teachers was not up to the mark and that the curriculum needed minute changes. Further, as per the RTE Act, the free and compulsory education is only given to children of 6 to 14 years, whereas the recommendation is till 18 years. The Committee also observed that rather than the conventional learning of facts and procedures, the education should be well laid on the essential core content-based study. The Board exams restructuring to only the core subjects were suggested here in the 2019 report. And finally, minute changes in the school infrastructure and teacher management was also suggested. [1]

 Committee Report on Higher Education

The Gross Enrollment Ratio has increased from 20.8% to 25.8% (From 2012-2018). This implies that the role of all professional councils such as AICTE and the Bar Council of India would be limited to setting standards for professional practice. The establishment of new higher educational institutions should be from NHERA, a Higher Education System. Restructuring of Higher Education System is proposed, wherein the focus is laid research Universities on Research and Teaching, Teaching Universities on Teaching, and Colleges focussing only on teaching at UG levels. The establishment of a National Research Foundation is also proposed, along with a liberal approach. The professional development of faculty and an optimal learning environment needs to be created along with the aforementioned changes.[2]

Committee report on Governance of education

The committee observed the need to revisit the existing governing system in the education sector. The committee recommends that there should be the establishment of National Educational Commission/ Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog that will after the apex body for the education sector in which the prime minister will be the superior body. This body is responsible for various functions that are developing, implementing, evaluating and revisiting the vision of education in the country. It is also responsible for the monitoring of various other bodies related to education package NCERT, CBSE, etc. Other than this the committee also recommends renaming the Ministry of Human Resources of Development as the Ministry of education and the department in order to bring focus in the field of education.

Committee report on financial assistance

Committee also made a recommendation to spend 6% of the GDP as public investment in the sector of education only.  In the year 2017-2018, only 2.7 % of the GDP is spent on the education sector of India.

Committee report on Vocational education

The committee also observed that less than 5% of the workforce in the age group of 19 to 24 getting the facility of vocational education in India. The committee recommends that there must be integrated vocational educational programs to be introduced in all the educational institutions including schools, colleges as well as universities. It also strictly recommended that all school students must be enabled to receive occasional education in at least one vocation in grades 9 to 12. The vocational training must also be offered to the higher educational institutions according to the proposal of the committee. The committee also recommends the establishment of the National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Courses which is to be provided with the separate fund to enable them to perform its functions.

Committee report on adult education

The committee recommends that there must be the establishment of an autonomous Central Institute of Adult Education as a branch of NCERT which will develop on National Curriculum Framework for adult education in India. The new framework of adult education focuses on five broad areas which are:

  • Foundational literacy
  • numeracy
  • Critical life skills vocational skills development
  • Basic education
  • Continuing education

Other miscellaneous changes

They introduced the formula of flexibility in three languages in which students are free to change one or more of the three languages from grade 7 to 8 and enabling them to be proficient in three languages. Along with this foreign language introduced in Secondary School so that a student can choose the foreign language of his choice. The languages that are available to students are German, French, Spanish and Japanese, etc. The introduction of foreign language in secondary schools also emphasizes translation exercises between Indian and foreign languages. Other than that, there will be a new approach to language learning and teaching in which during the foundational stage of education which is primary School to grade 2 includes learning of languages will be taught to the  students in a fun and interactive way which focuses on the functionality and interaction which resulted into the complete growth of personality of a student. This system is the replacement of sophisticated conventional basic reading and writing abilities in each language script in the reparatory stage.

[1] Committee Report Summary, Draft National Education Policy, 2019.