India’s new Education Policy

India's new Education Policy
India's new Education Policy

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new education policy for the 21st century. The changes have been brought in the policy after 34 years.

A single regulator for higher education institutions, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, discontinuation of MPhil programmes, low stakes board exams, common entrance exams for universities are among the highlights of the new National Education Policy (NEP) approved by the Union Cabinet.  This also approved changing the name of the HRD Ministry to Education Ministry.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the approval of the National Education Policy 2020! This was a long due and much-awaited reform in the education sector, which will transform millions of lives in the times to come,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.


1.     All higher education institutions, except legal and medical colleges, to be governed by a single regulator​.

  1. Common norms to be in place for private and public higher education institutions.
  2. MPhil courses to be discontinued.
  3. Board exams to be based on knowledge application.
  4. Home language, mother tongue or regional language to be medium of instruction up to grade 5.
  5. Common entrance exams to be held for admission to universities and higher education institutions
  6. School curriculum to be reduced to core concepts; integration of vocational education from grade 6.


Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education

NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre school to secondary. By enhancing these key factors,

  • Infrastructure support
  • innovative education centres to bring back dropouts into the mainstream
  • tracking of students and their learning levels
  • facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education level
  • association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools
  • open learning for grades3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools
  • secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses
  • adult literacy and life-enrichment programs.

Around 2 crore school children will be brought back into main stream.

Early Childhood Care & Education with  new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure

With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.  This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.

Attaining Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

States will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all learners by grade 3 by 2025.A National Book Promotion Policy is to be formulated.

Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy

The school curricula and pedagogy will focus for holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and raging focus on experiential learning. Students will have more flexibility and choice of subjects.

There will be no rigid variations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships.

Multilingualism and the power of language

The policy has emphasized mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond. Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula. Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options.

Students to participate in a fun project/activity on ‘The Languages of India’, sometime in Grades 6-8, such as, under the ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ initiative. Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level. Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.

Assessment Reforms

NEP 2020 imagines a shift from summative assessment to regular and formative assessment, which is more competency-based. Such as promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity. All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority.

 Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the focus.  A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development),  will be formed as a standard-setting body .

Equitable and Inclusive Education

NEP 2020 focuses to ensure that no child loses any opportunity to learn based on circumstances of birth or background. Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities.  This includes setting up of   Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.

Special Childrenwill be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the foundational stage to higher education, with support of educators with cross disability training, resource centres, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools and other support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs.

Every state/district will be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans” as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities. Free school infrastructure can be used as SamajikChetnaKendras

Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path

Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes. Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators.

 A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.

School Governance

Schools can be organized into clusters which will be the basic unit of governance. It ensures availability of all resources including infrastructure, academic libraries and a strong professional teacher community.

Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

NEP 2020 imagines clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters. States/UTs will form an independent State School Standards Authority (SSSA). Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as enacted by the SSSA. This will be used widely for public oversight and accountability.

The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

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