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NEP 2020 in the context of school education

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The Indian Government made a landmark change in the year 2020. In this year characterized by uncertainty, one of the most positive breakthroughs to the otherwise dreadful start of the decade was introducing the NEP 2020, the not only anticipated but rather necessary change to reform the Indian education paradigm.

Replacing the 34-year-old National Policy on Education, which was framed in 1986, the new NEP certainly compliments the country’s vision of the ‘New India’; to build a culture of innovation, and a highly skilled workforce.

 

Let us take a look at the key changes that the new NEP proposes to bring in ; to change not only the style and pattern of education but also the mindset that today restricts us from adopting an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach to learning.

Schooling to begin from the age of 3 years

The revised policy expands the age group of mandatory schooling from 6-14 years to 3-18 years.

The existing 10+2 structure of school curriculum will 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 new system will include 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ Pre-primary.

For each of these stages, curricular and pedagogical approaches have been prescribed. For foundational stage play and theme-based approach shall be followed. For classes three to five that are currently a part of primary-  will now be called the preparation stage and children will be learning largely through play and activities

For middle stage, with classes 6 to 8 , the curriculum and pedagogical approach will be experiential and interdisciplinary and for the secondary stage (classes 9 to 12) the subject offerings will now have a lot of flexibility and the approach followed shall be multi-disciplinary.

To ensure that LEAD powered schools are in sync with the NEP , we at LEAD have introduced unique approaches for different subjects to ensure students learn subjects as a skill rather than gain just theoretical knowledge. The classroom interactions, activities and routines at LEAD also make learning holistic and experiential.

 

Digital Education Drive

NEP lays emphasis on integration of digital technology being envisaged at all levels of learning through a dedicated unit for creating digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building. The main idea is to improve classroom processes through technological advancement so that no child is left behind.

 Needless to add, we have seen a surge in the utility of online learning during the recent pandemic. The policy thus aims at achieving the objective of uninterrupted education to all sections of society. 

At LEAD, apart from ensuring the classrooms are transformed using digital technologies and enabling audio-video learning, a significant focus  is also laid in providing educators with the tools and technology to help their students every step of the way. Also for parents, apart from providing a wholesome and vibrant classroom experience at home through the LEAD parent app , the child will be a part of LEAD Summer Camp, Student Led Conferences (SLCs), LEAD MasterClasses and much more, all designed to ensure that not coming to school doesn’t hinder holistic learning and development of the child in any way.

Integration of Essential Subjects, Skills, and Capacities

The revised policy aims at making students ready for today’s rapidly changing world. Certain subjects, skills, and capacities should be learned by all students to become good, successful, innovative, adaptable, and productive.

It is recognized that mathematical thinking will be very important for India ’s future and India’s leadership role in the numerous upcoming fields and professions that will involve artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, etc. Thus, mathematics and computational thinking is  given increased emphasis throughout the school years, starting with the foundational stage, through a variety of innovative methods.

It also lays emphasis on competitions that may be held in schools for learning various topics and subjects through fun and indigenous games.

At LEAD, in our school curriculum, we have introduced subjects such as the Coding & Computational Skills (CCS) program. Rather than simply consuming content using technology, our students become creators by using technology to build apps, games, and websites and thus become future-ready. The LEAD Championship also enables building a competitive spirit among the students and gives them a wider exposure.

 

Knowledge of India and Multilingualism

The NEP, 2020 aims to steer the Indian schooling system towards a culturally enriching and nationally integrating one by making use of ancient and modern Indian literature, film, and music. If nothing, it wants Indian students to understand the fact that being educated in Indian languages will not reduce their capabilities or chances of employment. It would only widen their awareness, cultural sensitivity, and tolerance, for India is a melting pot of cultures.

Among the many fundamental principles listed in the NEP, it advocates for the promotion of multilingualism and highlights the power of language in teaching and learning. In consonance with this principle, the policy has laid out multiple recommendations and it has emphasized that the proposals are only broad directions and none of it would be mandatory owing to the cultural diversity across and within states and the linguistic diversity within each classroom.

Firstly, the NEP proposes that wherever possible the medium of instruction in public and private schools until at least Grade 5 and preferably till Grade 8 and beyond shall be the home language/mother-tongue/local language/regional language. The suggestion has been made based on various studies that have established that children tend to get a better grip on concepts when they are taught in their home language/mother tongue.

It also proposes that teachers should be encouraged to use a bi-lingual approach with those students whose home language may be different from the medium of instruction.

At LEAD the curriculum is contextualized because of  which students get a better understanding of knowledge of India. Also at LEAD teachers are encouraged to teach using a bilingual pattern. For example while teaching English, the teacher  explains the meaning in the local language and then repeats it in English to reinforce the learning since the students will have to reproduce that in their exams in English itself.

A new age road map for teacher empowerment

The National Education Policy recognises and identifies teachers and faculty as the heart of the learning process. It acknowledges the reality of the teaching profession in India and proposes to completely overhaul it to create a robust merit-based structure of tenure, salary, and promotion, that incentivizes and recognizes outstanding teachers. 

International pedagogical approaches will be studied by NCERT, identified, and recommended for assimilation in pedagogical practices in India. Teachers along with principals will have to undergo Continuous Professional Development modules every year in order to enhance teaching quality, leadership, and school management along with implementing competency-based learning.

At LEAD, believing in the country’s vision that the young minds of tomorrow will only be strengthened when we empower our educators – we do extensive Teacher Development Workshops. These sessions up skill and reinvigorate teachers to overcome challenges. Every teacher in a LEAD-powered school is also a part of the LEAD Academy network – designed for the teachers to keep upgrading themselves with modern day technology and teaching methods.

Conclusion

The shortcomings in the education system vary from generation to generation. Some of the common complaints in the system are that degrees do not fetch you jobs, India’s study pattern is more of rote learning and less of practical knowledge, most of the study is irrelevant in real lives, the system is exam- centric and so on.

 The new policy definitely makes clear the government’s vision to usher in some landmark changes to the education sector and aims at making India a global knowledge superpower. LEAD curriculum has been more progressive than NEP since inception. K-5 has been benchmarked to international standards on outcomes across all subjects, with international pedagogical practices used for deep conceptual understanding. Class 6-10 outcomes are benchmarked to the Boards, however international pedagogical approaches and best practices have been used to develop deep conceptual understanding & building thinking, communication and collaboration skills. Innovative programs like ELGA and CCS build strong foundational skills. With NEP guidelines coming in, adoption of LEAD curriculum will get a boost since all schools need to move away from traditional textbooks to NEP aligned curriculums like LEAD. Click here to know more about the NEP Policy and how is LEAD aligned to the Policy.

About the author

Himanshu Sangtani is the Regional Academic Excellence Expert at LEAD. Having over eight years of experience in the field of education, he has been a teacher, content developer, academic consultant, trainer, and a passionate writer. With his deep academic know-how and curriculum knowledge, he takes pride in training teachers and guiding schools with appropriate academic solutions.

Himanshu Sangtani

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