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Here is epitome of proposed National Education Policy

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New Delhi, June 21: The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has invited public suggestions on Draft National Education Policy, 2019. The last date for submitting comments/feedback is June 30.

The Committee for Draft National Education Policy, headed by eminent scientist Dr. K. Kasturirangan, submitted its report on May 31, 2019.

Here is epitome of proposed National Education Policy

The draft proposes an education policy, which seeks to address the challenges of access, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability faced by the current education system.

The draft Policy provides for reforms at all levels of education from school to higher education. It seeks to increase the focus on early childhood care, reform the current exam system, strengthen teacher training, and restructure the education regulatory framework. It also seeks to set up a National Education Commission, increase public investment in education, strengthen the use of technology and increase focus on vocational and adult education, among others.

Here are the highlights of the proposed policy for school and higher education.

School Education

The draft Policy recommends developing a two-part curriculum for early childhood care and education. This will consist of: (i) guidelines for up to three-year-old children (for parents and teachers), and (ii) educational framework for three to eight-year-old children. This would be implemented by improving and expanding the anganwadi system and co-locating anganwadis with primary schools.

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It recommends extending the ambit of the Right to Education Act, 2009 to include early childhood education and secondary school education. This would extend the coverage of the Act to all children between the ages of three to 18 years.

Talking about curriculum framework, the committee noted that the current education system solely focuses on rote learning of facts and procedures. Hence, it recommends that the curriculum load in each subject should be reduced to its essential core content. This would make space for holistic, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning.

Proposing to reform current school exam system, the draft Policy proposes State Census Examinations in classes three, five and eight. Further, it recommends restructuring the board examinations to test only core concepts, skills and higher order capacities.

"These board examinations will be on a range of subjects. The students can choose their subjects, and the semester when they want to take these board exams. The in-school final examinations may be replaced by these board examinations, " says the Draft.

Talking about school infrastructure, the draft Policy recommends that multiple public schools should be brought together to form a school complex.

"A complex will consist of one secondary school (classes nine to twelve) and all the public schools in its neighbourhood that offer education from pre-primary till class eight. The school complexes will also include anganwadis, vocational education facilities, and an adult education centre. Each school complex will be a semi-autonomous unit providing integrated education across all stages from early childhood to secondary education. This will ensure that resources such as infrastructure and trained teachers can be efficiently shared across a school complex, " says the Draft.

To reduce the non-educational burden on teachers, the draft Policy recommends that teachers should be deployed with a particular school complex for at least five to seven years. Further, teachers will not be allowed to participate in any non-teaching activities (such as cooking mid-day meals or participating in vaccination campaigns) during school hours that could affect their teaching capacities.

For teacher training, the existing B.Ed. programme will be replaced by a four-year integrated B.Ed. programme that combines high-quality content, pedagogy, and practical training. An integrated continuous professional development will also be developed for all subjects. Teachers will be required to complete a minimum of 50 hours of continuous professional development training every year.

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The draft Policy recommends separating the regulation of schools from aspects such as policymaking, school operations, and academic development. It suggests creating an independent State School Regulatory Authority for each state that will prescribe basic uniform standards for public and private schools.

Higher Education

The Committee identified lack of access as a major reason behind low intake of higher education in the country. It aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50% by 2035 from the current level of about 25.8%.

Draft National Education Policy, 2019 proposes setting up the National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA) that would replace the existing individual regulators in higher education, including professional and vocational education.

"The draft Policy proposes that higher educational institutions could be allowed to be set up through a Higher Education Institution Charter from NHERA. This Charter will be awarded on the basis of transparent assessment of certain specified criteria. "

The Committee has proposed to restructure higher education institutions will be restructured into three types: (i) research universities focusing equally on research and teaching; (ii) teaching universities focusing primarily on teaching; and (iii) colleges focusing only on teaching at undergraduate levels.

The draft Policy recommends establishing a National Research Foundation, an autonomous body, for funding, mentoring and building the capacity for quality research in India. The Foundation will be provided with an annual grant of Rs 20,000 crore.

It proposes to make undergraduate programmes interdisciplinary by redesigning their curriculum to include: (a) a common core curriculum and (b) one/two area(s) of specialisation. Students will be required to choose an area of specialisation as 'major', and an optional area as 'minor'.

The Committee

The MHRD constituted the committee under the chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan in June 2017 with Vasudha Kamat, K.J. Alphons, Manjul Bhargava, Ram Shankar Kureel, T.V. Kattimani, Krishna Mohan Tripathy, Mazhar Asif, M.K. Sridhar, Rajendra Pratap Gupta, Shakila T. Shamsu as members.

K.J. Alphons discontinued on assuming office as Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Culture, and Tourism since 3 September 2017.

The Committee held 14 meetings from July 11, 2017 to October 20, 2018.

The Committee interacted with 74 ministries / institutions / associations / organizations, and 217 eminent personalities before finalising the Draft National Education Policy, 2019.

Consultations were held with minority institutions/organisations like Osmania University, Anjuman-I-Islam, Darul Uloom Deoband, Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, Consortium of Christian Minority Higher Education Institutions, and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

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