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It’s not about language alone

New Education Policy (NEP) prepared by a nine-member committee headed by Dr. K Kasturirangan. NEP has the potential to usher in a new era in India’s education sector.

Since children learn languages quickly between the ages of 2 and 8, NEP suggests that children can be encouraged to learn several languages. No priority has been given to Hindi and, in fact, more emphasis is placed on teaching India’s classical languages like Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, etc. Still, after the protests, the government tweaked the draft NEP to make sure that, for non-Hindi speakers, Hindi is not mandatory.

If NEP is implemented even partially, it will usher in a new era in India’s education sector. There will be no fear of one examination deciding the destiny of the student. Going to school will be enjoyable. Students will have a lot of flexibility to select courses. Rote learning will be replaced by creative thinking and there will be minimal bureaucracy and less regulation.

The current 12 years of schooling will be replaced by 15 years, but still, students can complete high school by age 18. Current 5+3+2+2 will be replaced by 5+3+3+4 streams. The Foundational phase from ages 3 to 8 will comprise five years of flexible, multilevel, play-based, activity-based and discovery-based learning.

At the High School stage, there will be a complete transformation. Pre-university or higher secondary is eliminated. Each year will be divided into 2 semesters, for a total of 8 semesters. Each student would take 5 to 6 subjects per semester. There will be some common subjects for all. Simultaneously there will be great flexibility in selecting elective courses, including the arts, music, vocational subjects, and physical education. Each semester, students can take Board Examinations in subjects they have taken and there will be no in-class final examinations. Thus the pressure of the exams will be eliminated.

All stages will incorporate Indian and local traditions, as well as ethical reasoning, socio-emotional learning, quantitative and logical reasoning, computational thinking and digital literacy, scientific temper, languages, and communication skills. School education will develop the scientific temper, aesthetic sense, communication, ethical reasoning, digital literacy, knowledge of India, knowledge of critical issues facing the community and the world.

The Objective of higher education is to create world-class multi-disciplinary higher education institutions (HEI) across the country and to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50 per cent by 2035 from the current level of 25 per cent.

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