The Draft National Education Policy 2019 is out in the public domain and it is on its way to becoming a reality very soon. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), K. Kasturirangan Committee recently concluded the consultation exercise and is now giving the policy document a final touch. It is expected to be unveiled in the month of November after presenting before the Union Cabinet for clearance.
The policy document, recommended by a nine member committee led by recognised scientist Dr Kasturirangan called for the restructuring of regulatory and examination system of both higher education and school education systems.
Academic restructuring – The NEP recommends restructuring the 10+2 format into 5+3+3+4 structure, covering the children in the age group 3-18 years instead of the present 6-14 years under the RTE act. According to the draft policy, pre-primary and grades 1-2 will be considered as the foundational stage, grade 3-5 as a preparatory stage, grade 6-8 as middle stage and grade 9-12 as the secondary stage.
Additionally, to tackle the challenges faced by students inboard and entrance examinations, the committee recommends restructuring the exam to modular format wherein students will be allowed to take the board examination in each subject at the end of the semester.
Emphasis on mother-tongue – The draft policy brings language into key focus and aims to protect our culture by making the mother tongue the mode of instruction at least until class five. It mandates Sanskrit to be taught at all levels of school and higher education as one of the optional languages along with other eight languages including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali etc.
Changes in the higher education system – It also suggests consolidating 800 universities and 40,000 colleges into around 15,000 large, multidisciplinary institutions. It proposes three types of Higher Educational Institutions: Research Universities, Teaching universities and Autonomous degree-granting colleges.
Focus on R&D – Setting up of an autonomous body called the National Research Foundation through an act of parliament was also suggested. The draft encourages engagement of the private sector and provisioning of government funding for R&D work through a proposed national research fund.
Furthermore, institutes will be permitted to offer PhD to those with either a master’s degree or a four year bachelor’s degree with research.
The policy document recommends constitution of an apex body – Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog or the National Education Commission chaired by the prime minister and bringing on board renowned educationists, researchers, Union Ministers, representation of Chief Ministers of States and expertise from various fields. It also called for re-designating HRD (Human Resource Development) Ministry to the Ministry of Education.