The Draft National Education Policy, 2019

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 prepared by a committee chaired by Dr K. Kasturirangan, was shared for public comment by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development. The policy aims to make India a powerhouse of education by equipping the requisite skills and knowledge to the students. It also focuses on addressing the workforce shortages in scientific technology , education and industry. The draft policy is based on Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability & Accountability foundational pillars.

The program encompasses schooling, higher education, and vocational education, which in turn includes agricultural education, legal education , medical education, and technical training. It also looks at the technical education verticals by providing teacher education and science and innovation. Early childcare and education were sought to be integrated within the Ministry of Education (the Ministry of Human Resource and Development-MHRD has suggested a changed name). The policy also attempts to focus on certain basic skills which children should have in the proposed new 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 structure.

The first five-year stage (for children aged 3-8) i.e. the foundational stage looks at learning from discovery and learning through play. Under it, the basic literacy and numeracy skills are a mission mode approach that includes the National Tutors' Program, remedial instructional assistance programs etc. It regards nutrition as very critical to strengthening children's levels of 3-8 years

The next level is the Preparatory Level for children aged 8 to 11 (grades 3 to 5), followed by the Middle Stage (grades 6 to 8) for students aged 11 to 14, and the Secondary Stage (grades 9 to 12) for students aged 14 to 18.

Improvements in the level of governance have also been proposed for school education. To control education in the nation, a state regulatory authority has been suggested. The body must determine which schools to accredit. The Government will continue to fund and operate the country's education.

Key higher education takeovers

Tier 1 includes research universities that focus equally on research and teaching, Tier 2 includes teaching universities that focus primarily on teaching; and Tier 3 includes colleges that focus only on undergraduate-level teaching. All of these institutions are progressively moving towards full autonomy-academic, administrative and financial. The aim is to promote 'science culture' at graduate university level.

The policy also talks about the National Scholarship Fund to support Higher Education students financially. Classical and regional language promotion has been emphasized. In addition, the policy proposes to increase the class of compulsory education to ages 12-18 levels.

The Children's Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or the Right to Education Act – RTE, 2009 (represents Article 21-A of the Indian Constitution) made education a fundamental right of every child between 6 and 14 years of age.

The policy aims at achieving a fully educated society where by 2030 or so all adults will be literate. However there has been controversy over the Three Language Formula

The government has dropped from the draft legislation the 'three language rule.' The three-language rule, which dates back to 1968, suggests that students in Hindi-speaking states should study a modern Indian language apart from Hindi and English and Hindi along with the tribal language and English in non-Hindi-speaking states.The intention behind the formula was for the symbiotic relationship between the languages. One can see a clear partition of languages between the Southern states and the Northern states.

In 1964, the Kothari Commission also called for students from the north to study one language from the south and for students from the south to learn the northern languages, including Hindi. There was agitation in the South , especially in Tamil Nadu, over the imposition of Hindi.

Factors Considered while Framing the Policy

The 1986 National Policy on Education, amended in 1992, required changes to meet India 's contemporary and futuristic demands. In a spectrum the strategy is looking at employment. For a child the learning journey is not segmented. At the point of view of curricular and pedagogical purposes, the new system introduced in the policy is not from the point of view of infrastructure as might exist. From the point of view of curricular and pedagogical reasons, the new structure proposed in the policy is not from the point of view of infrastructure as there may be schools offering education up to only Class 3.

At 3, 4 and 5 years of age, there is a great potential for mental development as well as creative aspects in a child. For the same thing proper nutrition is necessary.

Most education or employment fields outside the Ministry of Human and Resource Development (MHRD) As India is in a lower position in the research index, consideration has been given to the growth of research culture among the students.

The Government of India plays multiple roles, i.e. financing, manufacturing, evaluating and regulating education in India..

Issues in the Draft Policy

  • · Less consensus exists on the integration of basic learning with education. Compulsory schooling in Europe only starts at age 6. Compulsory schooling starts at age 7 in some countries, such as Denmark, Germany and Finland.
  • · Whether literacy and numeracy skills should be developed during the time of basic learning needs to be discussed.
  • · There is no reference in the draft policy of how government agencies will be governed by the State regulatory body.
  • · A constitutional amendment to change the country 's mandatory schooling limits is expected. Increasing the limit on the higher side , i.e. until the age of 18, is also not consistent with the worldwide limitations. It is also a very costly proposition. The country does not have adequate capacity to pay for teacher education. Also, under the strategy M.Ed was given less priority. More focus was on the B.Ed.

Way Forward

  • Education is a concurrent list subject. In addition to a consensus between the center and the states, all other stakeholders should also be consulted, including agencies , public and academics.
  • In the country's education system, natural and prenatal studies should also be included to ensure awareness of issues relating to mothers and infants, taking into account the high MMR and IMR in the country
  • There should be a course of Masters of Teacher Education. Also, there is a need to build good teacher training institutions.
  • The education policy should maintain a symbiotic relationship between the different regions of the country through the study of different languages.
  • The quality of education provided in the country shall be such that it not only delivers basic literacy and numeracy but also creates an analytical environment in the country.