Restructuring School Education System in India to Implement National Education Policy 2020

All the flaws mentioned in the existing system crept and only increased over time with the best efforts of the Govt and ...

Abstract

Education and especially School education is the most important part or in fact prerequisite to development of a state and in turn union of states India. The mere percentage of population under its ambit directly or indirectly especially in South Asia with demographic dividend and densely populated make it the most important state activity. The neglect of this core activity by the state is the root cause of extreme disparity and increasing.

A state in India has appx 25% of its population in the age group of 3 to 17, age supposed to be in the schools. There is another vast population of teachers(supporting education staff) to private tutors directly involved and parents especially of middle/upper middle so intimately involved with fewer children in the next generation.

The education which was supposed to be state responsibility and empowering the masses for narrowing the gap between classes(linked to caste) in India has been an utter failure. This has given rise to class based education systems in India with vast difference in standards between them based on 

(a) Govt or Private

(b) Rural or Urban (especially big cities).

(c) Affiliated Boards.

(d) Within privates linked to paying capacity or other accessibility.

(e) Within the Govt based on infra and posted strength of teachers.

This inequality in human resource development is hurting India across the classes in several ways – it is not allowing the fullest development of the country’s potential workforce.

The consistent efforts by the State Govt in spite of the best of administrators placed are unable to improve things due to their inherent limitations in India. There has been a vast number of NGO started by eminent peoples in India to supplement the Indian state's Public education structure with a very focused approach to various aspects. In Spite of these major 26 NGOs working from the last three decades such as Pratham, CRY etc the conditions of the Public education system for the poor remain pathetic with a vast gap from the private education system.

This so many boards from ICSE, CBSE to different state Boards has lead to utter confusion for admission to premium professional and University programs post secondary education on basis of merit. This has created a market for competitive exams conducted, which are mechanically producing competing machines among upper middle class at huge financial costs. The ever increasing competition for these few premium Institutes has led to a race for catching young and overburdening children of upper middle/middle class affecting their health badly.

A National Education Policy 2020 has been recently made to reconfigure(restructure) with the aim to overcome these pitfalls in the existing system with noble intentions. However there is no clear implementation vision and the same is proposed in this paper.

Solution Proposed

This paper is an attempt to revive the public education system for poor and correct present education systems divided vertically among Indian classes right from pre primary level till senior secondary with totally different standards.

A uniform public system for pre primary and primary(elementary) education accessed locally by all segments(classes) of India society is proposed. This has been made possible only through restructuring existing resources be it infra or manpower. The Public education system based on data Punjab at primary level will increase from 40% to 100% an increase by 2.5 times.

Accordingly the post primary education in schools is also restructured in the same way with Govt share based on data in Punjab from present 40% reduced to 20%. The private affiliated state board schools share utilizing existing primary infra after catering to stipulated norms etc is increased from 40% to 50% an increase of 1.25 times. The share of CBSE/ICSE affiliated schools in post primary education increased from 20% to 30%, an increase of 1.5 times.

The state level Boards exams at the end of Primary education, Middle level and High level by state boards and all India level Boards exams at senior secondary level by central evaluation agency/Board. This will permit admission post Primary, Middle, High or Secondary education based on merit only. This will abolish all spurious industries of competitive exams and unnecessary stress on students.

The whole education system post restructuring will provide access locally to all classes of society a uniform standard and provision of internally electively opting for advanced Math Science etc at High and Secondary levels as followed in developed countries. Keeping in view migration by the vast population of India World over from Gulf to developed countries the necessary skills handy will be incorporated maximum at primary level and suitably at post primary level.

This improved School education will pave the way for improving educational standards at existing vocational, ITIS, polytechnics, Professional Engineering, Medical, humanities colleges and Universities. It will also impact national physical standards and India ranking World over in sports competitions.

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Primary and Post Primary Student (%)  Public Private Schools Existing and post Restructuring

Gap between private and public schools – Hurting India Poor & Upper Middle Class       

The base of any nation that is willing to be a developed country and a superpower in every sense of the term always needs to be commendably strong to realize the ambition.  India, as a union of states, has taken some steps in that regard with the institution of steps such as compulsory free education for each child till the age of 14 years and so on. However, the real problem is perhaps not with the question of access to education but rather the quality of education being provided.

In India, there are two types of schools – the government owned and aided ones, and the privately owned schools. The privately owned are further affiliated to State Education Boards and CBSE/ICSE Boards. The government schools are indeed doing a commendable job of making education available to a greater number of people and are normally doing it for free or for fees that are really within the reach of everyone. They are of great help for people in urban areas for whom it is impossible to get their children to the more expensive private and government aided schools and in the remote rural areas, perhaps, they are the only ways in which majority children can get educated and dream of a better future.

The government schools are not known to provide the standard of education and facilities for the students that are available at the ones that are aided by them as well as the private schools. This inequality in human resource development is hurting India in several ways – it is not allowing the fullest development of the country’s potential workforce. 

This article has been written around data of Govt and Private school education in Punjab but the condition is more or less same in all states of union of India. 

Govt and Private Schools in Punjab 

There are 19,175 government schools in Punjab, of which 12,857 are primary schools while 2,658 are middle schools. The state has 1,699 high schools and 1,961 senior secondary schools. The schools in each district can be seen at https://schools.org.in/punjab. A rough estimate is that the ratio of elementary schools to all schools post elementary (middle+high+senior secondary) is appx 2: 1. There is on an average a primary school in each village. 

Punjab has a total of 811 primary, 2,404 middle, 2,635 high and 2,773 senior secondary private schools, recognised by the department and affiliated to the PSEB. In addition to this, there are 1513 Schools affiliated to CBSE and another 172 Schools affiliated to ICSE.

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Punjab Existing Schools Infrastructure

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Punjab Present Student Strength (in thousands) Govt & Private

Present State of Education 

The state of Govt schools education in Punjab is poor like the majority of states in India as reported by various NGOs working in the area and feedback by Govt School teachers. One of the root causes has been the failure of Primary education (till class 5) in Govt primary schools in Punjab as its administration has been separated in 1978.

The weak link in the Punjab public education system of pre-primary and primary education involves 12.5 lakh students in 12857 Govt schools. It involves 50% of the strength of the complete Public School system with 66% schools. 

The dysfunctional Public education system would have been publicly closed had there been no political compulsions of votes and another problem of mass malnutrition in India with 40% children stunted. The public schools are entrusted with the primary task of feeding them through mid day meals. The other compulsion of continuing with Public schools is to protect influential middle class teaching jobs. 

There are vast differences in standards of private schools both infra and quality of teachers. Even in Public schools both at primary and post primary levels difference exists within the state in infra and posted teacher strength. Worse is mushrooming of substandard private schools on name English medium with congested infra and badly affecting lower middle and poor both financially and development(physical & intellectual) of poor children.

In Spite of this going with the national trend of increase in enrolment in government schools, in Punjab too, similar wave was witnessed. In 2018, 46% children in Punjab were admitted in government schools. In 2021, the number jumped to 52.8%. In neighbouring Haryana, where 41.8% children were enrolled in government schools till 2018, there was an increase of 6.6% between 2018 and 2021 with 48.3% students now enrolled in government schools. This is probably with increasing disparity and pushed to poverty with Covid and closure of few substandard private schools etc.

Why Local Schools

The natural trend in West/Developed Nations has been the closure of Public schools in rural areas and merging them into bigger schools over the last century. In the West with less population density, large distances involved, less disparity and responsive Govts there has been less of as sharp vertical divide among rich/poor as far as access to education infra/facilities was concerned. 

Even in West/Developed Nations this closure and centralisation to bigger schools in rural regions justified with dwindling rural population and constraints to maintain standards with better transportation facilities opposed by researchers affecting community life. Research in West has concluded that in rural areas, families daily time-space arrangements is organised around the schools. When local schools are closed, the management of these daily arrangements is stretched, as families face longer distances to services and new challenges in organising their daily lives. 

However, regions like South Asia with 3.5% area and 25% population of World have made possible and created multiple class based educational systems in parallel with vast disparity coexisting. The better private system would have overtaken the Public(Govt) schooling system like other setors had it not been the continuous increase in disparity of people and large dispossessed population in India and especially ever falling incomes of rural India. 

Reasons for maintaining Local Schools(Primary and even post primary) in India(South Asia)

(a) High Population density.

(b) Reduce traveling and stop building/broadening new roads.

(c) Safety of children.

(d) Covid like lockdowns and easier management in shifts.

(e) Time management of families.

(f) Post school evening and weekend activities especially sports and extra coaching etc.

(g) Involvement of local community actively in the school system.

(h) Global warming and fossil fuels import costs. 

These projects should be funded by the international community through World banks in South Asia looking at their concerns about Global Warming at Cop26 Glasgow recently.

Restructuring Existing System to Solve Accumulated Problems

Consolidation of Govt Infra (Not Recommended)

In one of the solutions there has been advocacy for reducing the No of Govt especially primary schools and merging them into less No large efficient Govt Schools. The Govt Schools be made to compete with Private schools and let there be a hierarchy of schools in India with difference in education standards with highest end private schools to (improved)Govt schools at bottom. There should be continuation with existing different boards from ICSE to CBSE to State Boards.

There have been ample reasons for this model of not Local schools especially in high density populated India(South Asia) which are quoted in above para goes against this solution. Also in spite of all the best efforts made both by Govt and NGOs in the last 75 years the disparity in Public and Private education system in India has increased and moved into worse direction both for the poor and even rich in India.

This so many boards from ICSE, CBSE to different state Boards has lead to utter confusion for admission to premium professional and University programs post secondary education on basis of merit. This has created necessity for entrance exams and a huge commercial tutoring market, which are mechanically producing competing machines among upper middle class at huge financial costs. The ever increasing competition for these few premium Institutes has led to a race for catching young and overburdening children of upper middle/middle class affecting their health badly.

This prevailing education system in India is only increasing the divide among rich and poor. It has resulted in poorly skilled labour from lower middle class to unemployable engineer from middle and upper middle class. This has led to migration of upper middle class students to abroad for MS and settlement, which has now moved to migrating at UG level itself. Even most private educational Institutes in India are pitching for foreign transfer programs to cater first two years of UG degrees and tie up with second rung foreign colleges/Universities.

The race for admission to high ranking Universities abroad by upper middle class especially at PG level has given rise to more students at UG level getting involved in fabricated research and research paper publications.

Moving toward Uniform Education with Localised Access (Recommended)

The other extreme side opposite to this solution is to make primary education and pre primary education (7 years and 8 years in National Education Policy(NEP) 2020) only with a uniform one public education system accessed locally both in rural and urban areas. This will involve the same education standards within State and in turn throughout India with only the difference of teaching one's own regional language by each state.

The education post primary(7 years) will also be uniform and assessed locally with majority(80%) privatised both in Urban and rural areas and 20% public majority in rural areas. To cater to the needs of students aspiring to do more but limited to a class by vertical division presently, this opportunity can be given in a new restructured system to all by giving options to opt for advanced Math, Science subjects like abroad.

Strength of Students Existing and Post Restructuring in Punjab.

Presently in the state of Punjab this Pre Primary, primary and post primary education is divided among Govt Schools-40% , State Board Affiliated Private Schools-40% and CBSE/ICSE Boards affiliated Private Schools- 20%. The total strength of students is appx 62.5 lacs.

This restructuring proposed for the state of Punjab(even India), which presently caters to a poor 40% deprived population at all levels, means an increase in its primary school strengths to 2.5 times. The Govt Schools of Punjab presently cater to 12.5 lac primary & pre primary students and the same will increase to 31.25 lacs. The NEP  2020 added an extra year in ECCE at age 3 and there will be an additional strength of 5 lacs.

With conversion of Govt middle and high schools and even urban secondary schools to cater for Primary Infra, their existing strength(50% of 40%=20% ) at post primary levels will be shifted to private schools using their existing primary infra. The chosen Govt senior secondary schools and high schools for teaching remaining 20% (50% of 40%) be upgraded to be at par with private school infra and facilities. 

The private affiliated to the State Board can enhance their share of Post Primary from 40 to 50%(1,25 times present=15.625 lacs in Punjab) and CBSE/ICSE affiliated schools can enhance from 20% to 30% share(1.5 times present=9.375 lacs). The Govt should keep a maximum of its senior secondary and high schools in villages and towns as cities already have a lot of private post primary school infrastructure.

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Punjab Student Strength (in thousands) after Restructuring Govt & Private

Govt middle, high and even urban senior secondary schools with vast land pools be converted into primary hubs. They are to be built with multi storied buildings and land spared to create centralised sports infra to swimming pools. This infra can be used by a cluster of primary schools connected (1 hub: 3 Primary schools) with use of centralised facilities allotted on different days of week or weekends. 

The existing Govt teachers at middle and high school level TGT entrusted with tasks of heading/teaching at 20 K plus Primary Schools with pay protection. The best among them are mostly recruited after introduction of TET and based on evaluation can be kept in retained 50% Govt senior secondary & high schools..

Infra for Enhance primary strength Public system in Punjab in Urban and Rural Areas.

The government already has a huge infrastructure of elementary schools in rural Punjab(likely in India) which is presently underutilised. The increased 190% student strength in pre primary & primary level can be handled easily by Govt in rural and smaller towns in existing elementary schools structure and converting the Govt middle and high schools to elementary schools.

The new restructured system will also reduce present elementary student strength in cities with no incoming flow from rural areas. There could still be shortage of Govt infra in cities at elementary level and can be in transitory phase/otherwise over come by:

(a) The existing only private schools at primary level(811 in Punjab) are given the option to either upgrade to post primary or be taken over by Govt with due compensation.

(b) The private substandard schools at post primary level lacking requisite infra are also taken over by Govt paying due compensation converting to Primary.

(c) Making suitable arrangements with big Private secondary schools State Board/CBSE/ICSE elementary wings continue in transitory phase and ensuring uniform primary education is imparted.

(d) Convert more Govt middle High and even (senior) secondary schools in big cities to big elementary schools as post primary education private infra is in abundance in big cities.

(e) Over a time Create more infra to bring all 100% elementary education in big cities run in Govt infra.

(f) The pre primary schools & even primary schools be made functional in all PUDA approved colonies, catered sites and taken over by Govt.

(g) The population in outer parts of cities in vicinity to rural areas to use Govt rural elementary infra.

(h) KV, Army Schools etc. are allowed to continue Primary education.

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Punjab Restructured School Infra after Restructuring : Primaries cluster Hubs(1:3)

Enhanced Infra in Private Sector at Post Primary level after Restructuring.

Post taking over of complete pre primary and primary education by Govt there will be unused capacity at post primary level in Private schools affiliated to state Boards and CBSE/ICSE. The gross percentage increase in capacity will be as under:

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The conversion pre primary and primary to post primary capacity will involve correction factor of 0.7 and below with requirements of catering additional infra like labs etc at Post primary level. Many of these private schools once told to adhere to proper classroom and space infra will further lead to reduced enhanced capacity post closing primary wing.

Based on this the private schools affiliated to the State Board can enhance their share to 50% from present 40% (1,25 times present) and CBSE/ICSE schools can enhance their share from 20% to 30%(1.5 times present). The Govt should keep a maximum of its (senior) secondary schools in villages and towns as cities already have a lot of private school infrastructure. 

This restructuring with the coming of more Govt new elementary schools in cities will also make lucrative options for those 20K TGT teachers to head or teach elementary schools protecting pay with postings to cities and max ladies TGT teachers with added responsibility households will opt. 

Financial Management Restructured System

The rich 60% will be paying their fees fixed by Govt at the primary level including the cost of mid day meals, books, dress and other facilities like swimming pools, sports activities by their children. Even still they will be paying less than what they are paying presently in the system and further reduction in payment of transportation costs. All these activities at equal standards will be free for the 40% poor of the society.

Post primary education the 12.5 lac poor and 12.5 lac +6.25 lac middle/upper middle will move to a system of Govt+Private catering for (improved) Govt secondary schools with capacity for 6.25 lacs(20%) and Private schools with capacity for 25 lacs lacs(80 %). The admission to these schools are also based on vicinity basis and on basis of merit in case of schools with lapping areas.

The system of mid day meal post primary be continued in Govt schools and private schools and free for the poor. The Govt should duly compensate private schools catering for 6.25 lac(20%) poor students appx 25 % of their upgraded strength post primary with deducting their existing commitment to teach 15% poor etc. This compensation can be done from fees collected from 60% rich in primary & pre primary education systems.

This will reduce unnecessary financial burden on middle/upper middle both by gimmicks private schools, transportation to tutoring for competitive exams. The hidden cost of saving from moving to easier management of daily life saving a lot of time.

This will make Govt based free school education for 40% population self-reliant with obtaining fees from 60% school population (8 years in Nation Education Policy 2020) and only paying for 10% school population for 7 years in post primary. There will be additional mobilisation of resources from use of infra like swimming pools, providing books, dresses etc to catering lunch for middle/upper middle. 

System Board Exams and Admissions  Restructured.

On completion of Govt Primary Education by State and its merit for basis of admissions post primary such as to Sainik Schools etc within the State. The centralised Military and RIMC type schools are made into Sainik Schools only to bring uniformity in military training schools post primary education. These schools should be fully boarding schools except for the local population in a few km radius. Even drop out post primary level can be enrolled for Vocational training in ITIs in simpler trades.

On completion class 8th at State level and merit as basis for enrolment to Vocational training like ITIs in mid level trades. The merit can also form the basis for recruitment to certain state level jobs based on middle pass.

On completion of High School at State level and merit as basis for enrolment in senior secondary level streams, ITIs & Polytechnics. The merit can also form the basis for recruitment to certain state level jobs based on high school pass.

On completion of (senior) Secondary School at National level and merit be the basis for admission to UG course in Universities, Professional Engineering/Medical/Law/Fashion Designing etc colleges, recruitments in jobs like Army/Police and other central and state jobs based on senior secondary pass.

This system will abolish undue stress of students appearing in so many competitive exams at various levels and even absent from the school system.

Impact on Current Govt School Teacher Cadre.

For the purpose of this the data of the state of Haryana is undertaken with applying the proposed restructuring model. 

Govt Schools Haryana 14473 Student Strength 25.31 lac 

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These TGT 14673 and PGT 26113 teachers will be maximum adjusted in 2000 secondary schools only and few posted as teachers in restructured new improved Primary system with increased one year in NEP 2020. The Govt will have to make recruitments of teachers for increased elementary schools strength only. 

Conclusion

The present system of education in states of Punjab is that 40% of poorest population studying in Govt Schools affiliated to State Boards, 40% middle class population in Private owned schools affiliated to State Boards and 20% upper middle/educated middle population in privately/other owned schools affiliated to CBSE/ICSE Boards.

These % ages may vary across states in India based on local conditions. There is substantial difference in standards of education imparted to all three classes in this school hierarchy from pre primary level onwards. This has created an imbalanced society with all the classes suffering in terms of incomplete development of children, undue stress and suffering in terms of finances/time management.

The proposed solution involves complete restructuring of this system making a uniform school education system accessed locally with complete pre primary & primary education(100%) taken over by the Govt both in rural and Urban regions. The admission to schools strictly on the basis of vicinity of place of residence.

All the flaws mentioned in the existing system crept and only increased over time with the best efforts of the Govt and so many dedicated resourceful NGOs will be abolished in one go. This will not only benefit the poor deprived class of India, reduce HR development divide across classes but also halt ever increasing disparity. This will benefit the middle and upper middle class which has badly spoiled the health of their children in the rat race. This will better equip their children with skills for migration after being unable to qualify for top professional colleges in India.

The proposed solution will be an immediate win-win for all classes and should find support across the board with some initial reluctance by upper middle class. India (South Asia) needs to move in this direction if they want to keep their democracies functional. The World and its financial Institutes need to support India(South Asia) liberally to mitigate extreme disparity, preserve democracies and control global warming.

The proposed Restructuring will implement the noble intention expressed in National Education Policy 2020 with using existing Infra and resources in states of India. It will make public education self-sustainable and of high quality by adopting proven implementation practices of developed Nations

References

National Education Policy 2020 https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NEP_Final_English_0.pdf

Village schools as a hub in the community - A time-geographical analysis of the closing of two rural schools in southern Sweden :   https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016718310659

Gap between private and public schools – how it is hurting India? https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/education/gap-between-private-and-public-schools-how-it-is-hurting-india

Apna Punja : Adopt Your Villages : https://www.sikhnet.com/news/apna-punjab-adopt-your-villages

  1. Punjab Education Department tells private schools to pay for lectures on DD https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/bathinda/punjab-education-department-tells-private-schools-to-pay-for-lectures-on-dd-119596

K12 Education in Canada : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/new-to-canada/benefits/k-12-education-in-canada/new_canada_show/48341608.cms

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/archive/chandigarh/cbse-affiliated-schools-can-have-only-40-students-per-section-685515

https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/statistics-new/ESG2016.pdf

School Network Govt and Private(State Board +CBSE/ICSE) In Amritsar District

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Counted for site : https://schools.org.in/punjab

Govt has Elementary School with and without Pre primary in each villages.

Govt Secondary/High/Middle  Schools in Urban Area without Primary wing.

Private Middle High and Secondary Schools mostly in Urban Areas with Primary wing.

There are 1513 CBSE affiliated Schools in Punjab.https://www.cbseschool.org/location/punjab/

There are 172 ICSE Schools in Punjab.  https://www.cisce.org/locate-search.aspx?country=2&state=29&dist=0&city=0&location=&schooltype=&cve=&isc=&icse=&schoolclassi=&school=&search=locate

 

This paper is dedicated to revolutionary poet Sh Sant Ram Udasi

Sant Ram Udasi-Maghda Rahin Ve Soorja Kamian De Vehrhe 

The poor class Kamian(labour class India), middle class Kamian(labour class Gulf) and upper middle class Kamian(labour class of Canada/Australia) 

Magdha Suraj needed more by upper middle class Kamian in -40C in Canada. 

National Education Policy 2020 : Salient Points

https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/NEP_Final_Eng...

 

The Vision of this Policy 

This National Education Policy envisions an education system rooted in Indian ethos that contributes directly to transforming India, that is Bharat, sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high-quality education to all, and thereby making India a global knowledge superpower. The Policy envisages that the curriculum and pedagogy of our institutions must develop among the students a deep sense of respect towards the Fundamental Duties and Constitutional values, bonding with one’s country, and a conscious awareness of one’s roles and responsibilities in a changing world. The vision of the Policy is to instill among the learners a deep-rooted pride in being Indian, not only in thought, but also in spirit, intellect, and deeds, as well as to develop knowledge, skills, values, and dispositions that support responsible commitment to human rights, sustainable development and living, and global well-being, thereby reflecting a truly global citizen. 

Introduction

Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent, and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation. Universal high-quality education is the best way forward for developing and maximizing our country's rich talents and resources for the good of the individual, the society, the country, and the world. India will have the highest population of young people in the world over the next decade, and our ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to them will determine the future of our country. 

The global education development agenda reflected in the Goal 4 (SDG4) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by India in 2015 - seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality 

education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. Such a lofty goal will require the entire education system to be reconfigured to support and foster learning, so that all of the critical targets and goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be achieved. 

Indeed, with the quickly changing employment landscape and global ecosystem, it is becoming increasingly critical that children not only learn, but more importantly learn how to learn. Education thus, must move towards less content, and more towards learning about how to think critically and solve problems, how to be creative and multidisciplinary, and how to innovate, adapt, and absorb new material in novel and changing fields. Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and, of course, enjoyable. The curriculum must include basic arts, crafts, humanities, games, sports and fitness, languages, literature, culture, and values, in addition to science and mathematics, to develop all aspects and capabilities of learners; and make education more well-rounded, useful, and fulfilling to the learner. Education must build character, enable learners to be ethical, rational, compassionate, and caring, while at the same time prepare them for gainful, fulfilling employment. 

The aim must be for India to have an education system by 2040 that is second to none, with equitable access to the highest-quality education for all learners regardless of social or economic background. 

Education is a great leveler and is the best tool for achieving economic and social mobility, inclusion, and equality. Initiatives must be in place to ensure that all students from such groups, despite inherent obstacles, are provided various targeted opportunities to enter and excel in the educational system. 

These elements must be incorporated taking into account the local and global needs of the country, and with a respect for and deference to its rich diversity and culture. 

Previous Policies 

The implementation of previous policies on education has focused largely on issues of access and equity. The unfinished agenda of the National Policy on Education 1986, modified in 1992 (NPE 1986/92), is appropriately dealt with in this Policy. A major development since the last Policy of 1986/92 has been the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 which laid down legal underpinnings for achieving universal elementary education. 

Principles of this Policy 

It aims at producing engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisaged by our Constitution. 

However, at the same time, there must also be seamless integration and coordination across institutions and across all stages of education. 

  • full equity and inclusion as the cornerstone of all educational decisions to ensure that all 

students are able to thrive in the education system; 

  • no hard separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams, etc. in order to eliminate harmful hierarchies among, and silos between different areas of learning; 
  • focus on regular formative assessment for learning rather than the summative assessment that 

encourages today’s ‘coaching culture’; 

  • education is a public service; access to quality education must be considered a basic right of every child; 
  • substantial investment in a strong, vibrant public education system as well as the encouragement and facilitation of true philanthropic private and community participation. 

Part I. SCHOOL EDUCATION 

Currently, children in the age group of 3-6 are not covered in the 10+2 structure as Class 1 begins at age 6. In the new 5+3+3+4 structure, a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from age 3 is also included, which is aimed at promoting better overall learning, development, and well-being. 

1. Early Childhood Care and Education: The Foundation of Learning

1.1. Over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs prior to the age of 6, indicating the critical importance of appropriate care and stimulation of the brain in the early years in order to ensure healthy brain development and growth. Presently, quality ECCE is not available to crores of young children, particularly children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Strong investment in ECCE has the potential to give all young children such access, enabling them to participate and flourish in the educational system throughout their lives. Universal provisioning of quality early childhood development, care, and education must thus be achieved as soon as possible, and no later than 2030, to ensure that all students entering Grade 1 are school ready. 

1.4 The overarching goal will be to ensure universal access to high-quality ECCE across the country in a phased manner. Special attention and priority will be given to districts and locations that are particularly socio-economically disadvantaged. ECCE shall be delivered through a significantly expanded and strengthened system of early-childhood education institutions consisting of (a) stand- alone Anganwadis; (b) Anganwadis co-located with primary schools; (c) pre-primary schools/sections covering at least age 5 to 6 years co-located with existing primary schools; and (d) stand-alone pre-schools - all of which would recruit workers/teachers specially trained in the curriculum and pedagogy of ECCE.

2. Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: An Urgent & Necessary Prerequisite to Learning

2.1 The ability to read and write, and perform basic operations with numbers, is a necessary foundation and an indispensable prerequisite for all future schooling and lifelong learning. However, various governmental, as well as non-governmental surveys, indicate that we are currently in a learning crisis: a large proportion of students currently in elementary school - estimated to be over 5 crore in number - have not attained foundational literacy and numeracy, i.e., the ability to read and comprehend basic text and the ability to carry out basic addition and subtraction with Indian numerals. 

2.2. Attaining foundational literacy and numeracy for all children will thus become an urgent national mission, with immediate measures to be taken on many fronts and with clear goals that will be attained in the short term (including that every student will attain foundational literacy and numeracy by Grade 3). The highest priority of the education system will be to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary school by 2025. 

2.6  A national repository of high-quality resources on foundational literacy and numeracy will be made available on the Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA). Technological interventions to serve as aids to teachers and to help bridge any language barriers that may exist between teachers and students, will be piloted and implemented 

2.7 Studies around the world show one-on-one peer tutoring to be extremely effective for learning not just for the learner, but also for the tutor. Thus, peer tutoring can be taken up as a voluntary and joyful activity for fellow students under the supervision of trained teachers and by taking due care of safety aspects. Additionally, it will also be made far easier for trained volunteers - from both the local community and beyond - to participate in this large-scale mission. Every literate member of the community could commit to teaching one student/person how to read, it would change the country’s landscape very quickly. States may consider establishing innovative models to foster such peer-tutoring and volunteer activities, as well as launch other programmes to support learners, in this nationwide mission to promote foundational literacy and numeracy. 

2.9 Children are unable to learn optimally when they are undernourished or unwell. Hence, the nutrition and health (including mental health) of children will be addressed, through healthy meals and the introduction of well-trained social workers, counsellors, and community involvement into the schooling system.

3. Curtailing Dropout Rates and Ensuring Universal Access to Education at All Levels

3.1 The GER for Grades 6-8 was 90.9%, while for Grades 9-10 and 11-12 it was only 79.3% and 56.5%, respectively - indicating that a significant proportion of enrolled students drop out after Grade 5 and especially after Grade 8. As per the 75th round household survey by NSSO in 2017-18, the number of out of school children in the age group of 6 to 17 years is 3.22 crore. It will be a top priority to bring these children back into the educational fold as early as possible, and to prevent further students from dropping out, with a goal to achieve 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio in preschool to secondary level by 2030.

3.6 Other models for schools will also be piloted, such as public-philanthropic partnerships. 

Efforts will be made to involve community and alumni in volunteer efforts for enhancing learning by providing at schools: one-on-one tutoring; the teaching of literacy and holding of extra- help sessions; teaching support and guidance for educators; career guidance and mentoring to students; etc. In this regard, the support of active and healthy senior citizens, school alumni and local community members will be suitably garnered. Databases of literate volunteers, retired scientists/government/semi government employees, alumni, and educators will be created for this purpose. 

4. Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools: Learning Should be Holistic, Integrated, Enjoyable, and Engaging

Restructuring school curriculum and pedagogy in a new 5+3+3+4 design 

4.1 The curricular and pedagogical structure of school education will be reconfigured to make it responsive and relevant to the developmental needs and interests of learners at different stages of their development, corresponding to the age ranges of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years, respectively. The curricular and pedagogical structure and the curricular framework for school education will therefore be guided by a 5+3+3+4 design, consisting of the Foundational Stage (in two parts, that is, 3 years of Anganwadi/pre-school + 2 years in primary school in Grades 1-2; both together covering ages 3-8), Preparatory Stage (Grades 3-5, covering ages 8-11), Middle Stage (Grades 6-8, covering ages 11-14), and Secondary Stage (Grades 9-12 in two phases, i.e., 9 and 10 in the first and 11 and 12 in the second, covering ages 14-18). 

4.2 The Foundational Stage will consist of five years of flexible, multilevel, play/activity-based learning and the curriculum and pedagogy of ECCE as mentioned in para 1.2. The Preparatory Stage will comprise three years of education building on the play, discovery, and activity-based pedagogical and curricular style of the Foundational Stage, and will also begin to incorporate some light text books as well as aspects of more formal but interactive classroom learning, in order to lay a solid groundwork across subjects, including reading, writing, speaking, physical education, art, languages, science, and mathematics. The Middle Stage will comprise three years of education, building on the pedagogical and curricular style of the Preparatory Stage, but with the introduction of subject teachers for learning and discussion of the more abstract concepts in each subject that students will be ready for at this stage across the sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences, and humanities. Experiential learning within each subject, and explorations of relations among different subjects, will be encouraged and emphasized despite the introduction of more specialized subjects and subject teachers. The Secondary Stage will comprise of four years of multidisciplinary study, building on the subject-oriented pedagogical and curricular style of the Middle Stage, but with greater depth, greater critical thinking, greater attention to life aspirations, and greater flexibility and student choice of subjects. In particular students would continue to have the option of exiting after Grade 10 

4.3 The above-described stages are purely curricular and pedagogical, designed to optimize learning for students based on the cognitive development of children; they will inform the development of National and State curricula and teaching-learning strategies at each stage, but parallel changes to physical infrastructure will not be required.

Holistic development of learners 

4.4 Curriculum frameworks and transaction mechanisms will be developed for ensuring that these skills and values are imbibed through engaging processes of teaching and learning. NCERT will identify these required skill sets and include mechanisms for their transaction in the National Curriculum Framework for early childhood and school education. 

Reduce curriculum content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking 

4.5. Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, to make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning. The mandated content will focus on key concepts, ideas, applications, and problem-solving. Teaching and learning will be conducted in a more interactive manner; questions will be encouraged, and classroom sessions will regularly contain more fun, creative, collaborative, and exploratory activities for students for deeper and more experiential learning.

Experiential learning 

4.6. In all stages, experiential learning will be adopted, including hands-on learning, arts-integrated and sports-integrated education, story-telling-based pedagogy, among others, as standard pedagogy within each subject, and with explorations of relations among different subjects. 

4.8 Sports-integration is another cross-curricular pedagogical approach that utilizes physical activities including indigenous sports, in pedagogical practices to help in developing skills such as collaboration, self-initiative, self-direction, self-discipline, teamwork, responsibility, citizenship, etc. Sports-integrated learning will be undertaken in classroom transactions to help students adopt fitness as a lifelong attitude and to achieve the related life skills along with the levels of fitness as envisaged in the Fit India Movement. 

Empower students through flexibility in course choices 

4.9. Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school - including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills – so that they can design their own paths of study and life plans. Holistic development and a wide choice of subjects and courses year to year will be the new distinguishing feature of secondary school education. There will be no hard separation among ‘curricular’, ‘extracurricular’, or ‘co-curricular’, among ‘arts’, ‘humanities’, and ‘sciences’, or between ‘vocational’ or ‘academic’ streams.

Multilingualism and the power of language 

4.11. It is well understood that young children learn and grasp nontrivial concepts more quickly in their home language/mother tongue. Home language is usually the same language as the mother tongue or that which is spoken by local communities. However, at times in multi-lingual families, there can be a home language spoken by other family members which may sometimes be different from mother tongue or local language. Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language. Thereafter, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. This will be followed by both public and private schools. High-quality textbooks, including in science, will be made available in home languages/mother tongue. 

All languages will be taught in an enjoyable and interactive style, with plenty of interactive conversation, and with early reading and subsequently writing in the mother tongue in the early years, and with skills developed for reading and writing in other languages in Grade 3 and beyond. 

4.12 There will be a major effort from both the Central and State governments to invest in large numbers of language teachers in all regional languages around the country, and, in particular, for all languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. States, 

4.13 The three-language formula will continue to be implemented while keeping in mind the Constitutional provisions, aspirations of the people, regions, and the Union, and the need to promote multilingualism as well as promote national unity. However, there will be a greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State. The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India. 

4.14 All efforts will be made in preparing high-quality bilingual textbooks and teaching-learning materials for science and mathematics, so that students are enabled to think and speak about the two subjects both in their home language/mother tongue and in English. 

Curricular Integration of Essential Subjects, Skills, and Capacities 

4.23. While students must have a large amount of flexibility in choosing their individual curricula, certain subjects, skills, and capacities should be learned by all students to become good, successful, innovative, adaptable, and productive human beings in today’s rapidly changing world. In addition to proficiency in languages, these skills include: scientific temper and evidence-based thinking; creativity and innovativeness; sense of aesthetics and art; oral and written communication; health and nutrition; physical education, fitness, wellness, and sports; collaboration and teamwork; problem solving and logical reasoning; vocational exposure and skills; digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking; ethical and moral reasoning; knowledge and practice of human and Constitutional values; gender sensitivity; Fundamental Duties; citizenship skills and values; knowledge of India; environmental awareness including water and resource conservation, sanitation and hygiene; and current affairs and knowledge of critical issues facing local communities, States, the country, and the world. 

4.26. Every student will take a fun course, during Grades 6-8, that gives a survey and hands-on experience of a sampling of important vocational crafts, such as carpentry, electric work, metal work, gardening, pottery making, etc., as decided by States and local communities and as mapped by local skilling needs. A practice-based curriculum for Grades 6-8 will be appropriately designed by NCERT while framing the NCFSE 2020-21. All students will participate in a 10-day bagless period sometime during Grades 6-8 where they intern with local vocational experts such as carpenters, gardeners, potters, artists, etc. Similar internship opportunities to learn vocational subjects may be made available to students throughout Grades 6-12, including holiday periods. Vocational courses through online mode will also be made available. Bagless days will be encouraged throughout the year for various types of enrichment activities involving arts, quizzes, sports, and vocational crafts. Children will be given periodic exposure to activities outside school through visits to places/monuments of historical, cultural and tourist importance, meeting local artists and craftsmen and visits higher educational institutions in their village/Tehsil/District/State. 

National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) 

4.30. The formulation of a new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be undertaken by the NCERT - based on the principles of this National Education Policy 2020, frontline curriculum needs, and after discussions with all stakeholders including State Governments, Ministries, relevant Departments of the Central Government, and other expert bodies, and will be made available in all regional languages. The NCFSE document shall henceforth be revisited and updated once every 5-10 years, taking into account frontline curriculum. 

4.32 The aim will be to provide such quality textbooks at the lowest possible cost -namely, at the cost of production/printing - in order to mitigate the burden of textbook prices on the students and on the educational system. This may be accomplished by using high-quality textbook materials developed by NCERT in conjunction with the SCERTs; additional textbook materials could be funded by public-philanthropic partnerships and crowd sourcing that incentivize experts to write such high-quality textbooks at cost price. States will prepare their own curricula (which may be based on the NCFSE prepared by NCERT to the extent possible) and prepare textbooks (which may be based on the NCERT textbook materials to the extent possible), incorporating State flavour and material as needed. While doing so, it must be borne in mind that NCERT curriculum would be taken as the nationally acceptable criterion. The availability of such textbooks in all regional languages will be a top priority so that all students have access to high-quality learning. All efforts will be made to ensure timely availability of textbooks in schools. Access to downloadable and printable versions of all textbooks will be provided by all States/UTs and NCERT to help conserve the environment and reduce the logistical burden.

8. Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

8.3. The current regulatory regime also has not been able to curb the commercialization and economic exploitation of parents by many for-profit private schools, yet at the same time it has all too often inadvertently discouraged public-spirited private/philanthropic schools. There has been far too much asymmetry between the regulatory approaches to public and private schools, even though the goals of both types of schools should be the same: to provide quality education. 

8.5 (d) Academic matters, including academic standards and curricula in the State will be led by the SCERT (with close consultation and collaboration with the NCERT), which will be reinvigorated as an institution. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through wide consultations with all stakeholders. 

8.7. Public and private schools (except the schools that are managed/aided/controlled by the Central government) will be assessed and accredited on the same criteria, benchmarks, and processes, emphasizing online and offline public disclosure and transparency, so as to ensure that public-spirited private schools are encouraged and not stifled in any way. Private philanthropic efforts for quality education will be encouraged - thereby affirming the public-good nature of education - while protecting parents and communities from arbitrary increases in tuition fees. 

8.9. The aim of the public-school education system will be to impart the highest quality education so that it becomes the most attractive option for parents from all walks of life for educating their children. 

8.10. For a periodic ‘health check-up’ of the overall system, a sample-based National Achievement Survey (NAS) of student learning levels will be carried out by the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH with suitable cooperation with other governmental bodies- such as the NCERT– that may assist in assessment procedures as well as data analysis. The assessment will cover students across government as well as private schools. States will also be encouraged to conduct their own census-based State Assessment Survey (SAS), the results of which will be used only for developmental purposes, public disclosure by schools of their overall and anonymized student outcomes, and for continuous improvement of the school education system. Until the establishment of the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH, NCERT may continue to carry out NAS. 

8.11. Finally, the children and adolescents enrolled in schools must not be forgotten in this whole process; after all, the school system is designed for them. Careful attention must be paid to their safety and rights- particularly girl children - and the various difficult issues faced by adolescents, such as substance or drug abuse and forms of discrimination and harassment including violence, with clear, safe, and efficient mechanisms for reporting and for due process on any infractions against children’s/adolescents’ rights or safety. The development of such mechanisms that are effective, timely, and well-known to all students will be accorded high priority.

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