The new National Education Policy-2020 and Challenges

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister has cleared the New National Education Policy 2020 on 29 July 2020, which will replace currently running the National Policy on Education (NPE) 1986 which was brought by the then Rajiv Gandhi government and further amended in 1992 by PV Narsimha Rao government. Hence after 34 years a new and very significant policy change is brought by the Government of India. It is brought to change the way of teaching and learning at both levels of education i.e. School Level and Higher Education Level.
  • Union Cabinet also renamed HRD Ministry to Education Ministry.

Formation of The NEP-2020

  • The  process of the policy formulation was started when GoI brought consultation on the Draft of Education Policy in 2015, which received about 2.5 lakh suggestions from almost every fora in the country. 
  • In May 2016, Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy, under the chairmanship of Late Shri T.S.R. Subramanian(former cabinet secretary) submitted it's report. 
  • In June 2017, under the Chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan (former ISRO HEAD), a committee for the Draft national Policy, was formed, which submitted it's report in form of Draft National Education Policy, 2019 to the HRD Minister on 31st May 2019.

Important Highlights of NEP-2020 

School Education

  • The Policy aims at universalising the school education, which will target to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) in school education to 100% by 2030.
  • The significant change which will be implemented in School Education is the new 5+3+3+4 curriculum structure which corresponds to 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, 14-18 years of age respectively, in place  of current 10+2 Scheme of School Education which was proposed by Kothari Commission way back in 1966. By this step government will try to cover the children of age group of 3-6 years, which are remained uncovered in National Policy on Education-1986
  • However 12-year schooling was remained intact with an addition of 3 years of pre-schooling/Anganwadi for children of age group 3-6 years.
  • Vocational education will now start from Class Sixth onwards which will boost the skill in the country as well as it will inculcate work culture in child and relieve them from the load of traditional education system. 
  • The teaching upto at least fifth class will be only in mother tongue/regional language and no external language can be imposed on the students.
  • A significant change to be brought in the assessment system of School Education through a new 360 Degree Holistic Progress Card, which tracks not only marks gained by the candidate but also include various Learning Outcomes. The card will be prepared not only on the basis of teacher's remarks  but will also include the remarks of the student's friends and even the student himself. Ths is quite interesting to see. 
  • The minimum qualification required for teaching will be Bachelor in Education (B.Ed.) by 2030. Which will replace the current in which Diploma in Education(D. Ed.) is the minimum required qualification in the case of Primary Education. 
  • A new and comprehensive curriculum for teacher's training will be prepared i.e. National Curriculum Frame work for Teacher's Education, NCFTE-2021 by National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) in consultation of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). 

Higher Education

  • The policy target to increase the Gross Enrolment Raio (GER) in higher education to be 50% by 2035, however to implement this policy about 3.5 crore new seats have to be created, which will cost thousands of crores.
  • One significant change, the policy is to create in higher education is Multidisciplinary system of education which will be free from the current, stream based system. It means the students now can study Physics with Music/Political Science/History and a Commerce student if he wishes to can study Chemistry along with Accounting and Statistics. Basically in the new system students will be able to choose subjects of their own interest without any bar of streams.
  • To implement multidisciplinary system of Higher education, Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs and IIMs to be created of global standards. 
  • Similar to American Research Foundation, in India, National Research Foundation (NRF) will be established to foster research in India without any bar of streams. Currently in India most of the research is happening only in Science and Technology sector.
  • A single and powerful regulator i.e. Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be created removing UGC, AICTE and many other agencies which regulates higher education in India. But Medical and Law institutions are kept outside the purview of HECI. 
  • HECI will have  four Independent bodies:- 
  1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council(NHRE) - For the purpose of regulating and maintaining the standards of Higher Educational Institutions.
  2. General Education Council(GEC) - For setting high  standards in Higher education.
  3. Higher Education Grants Council(HEGC) - To provide funding to colleges and universities and other educational institutions.
  4. National Accreditation Council (NAC) -  For the purpose of accreditation and grading of colleges universities and other educational institutions.
  • Affiliation system in colleges will be phased out in 15 years by a stage-wise mechanism which will grant autonomy to colleges on the basis of grades and accreditation of the concerned colleges. In the end it is aimed that only two kind of colleges will be remained i.e. either Independent Degree-granting Colleges or constituent colleges of Universities.

Other Common Aspects

  • National Educational Technology Forum(NETF) - It will be created, to boost technology in educational system both in teaching as well as in Educational Administration. 
  • National Institute of Pali, Persian and Prakrit, Indian Institute for Translation and Interpretation to be set up to promote multilinguism in both schools and higher education levels.
  • NEP-2020, emphasise on the set up of Gender Inclusion Fund and Special Education Zones for the regions which are disadvantage. 
  • The policy also emphasise on the sync between Central and State governments so as to increase public spending on education to 6% of GDP as earliest as possible.

Challenges in The Way of NEP-2020

Economic Challenges 

  • India spends curently about 4.6% of it's total on educational sector (according to Business Today) and ranks 62nd in Total Public Expenditure on Education per Student, according to a report of IMD. This is much lower in comparison to developed as well as many developing economies. Low public spending in educational sector in India lead to poor infrastructure of schools in India especially in rural areas, where quantity as well as quality of schools and higher educationl institutions are very poor. Poor infrastructure in schools like unavailability of toilets, benches and even class rooms results into high drop outs specially of female students which in turn reducing the GER.
  • According to an Indian Express Report 2018, there is a shortage of more than 5 lakh teachers in elementary schools and 14% of government secondary schools do not have the prescribed minimum of six teachers. And above all the quality of those available teachers are also not very good due to weak taining policy and a new trend of recruiting untrained teachers on temporary basis in Govt. Schools reduce load of education budget.

Political challenges 

  • Since Education is in Concurrent list of constitution which leads to chaos in the education system. State and central government both are trying to influence the education system by  their own policies which generally have no sync, resulting into different syllabus, curriculum and teaching methods across the country and leads to lesser uniformity in the educational sector. 
  • Governments are not active to implement positive policies of education merely due to political differences between Central or State governments.

Social Challenges

  • Traditional Indian Society ruled by orthodox people are not very keen to education especially to girls and even if they allow, they do not spend much on the girls' education as it seemed to them as a waste of money, which can be saved for her marriage purpose. 
  • Large family size due to very bad family planning also make a very large section of community out from proper educational system mainly due to bad economic condition of the family.
  • While certain sections of the country thinks that modern education will destruct their own traditional culture and religion, hence they do not prefer to educate their children or educate them at their own local level, which is based on unscientific and illogical teaching methods.


  • Despite all challenges many schemes such as Beti-Bachao Beti Padhao, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan etc. of Central And State Governments are helping to foster new socio-economic and political changes in Educational sector.
  • The public spending on education in India is significantly increased to 4.6% of GDP in 2020 due to increased focus of Central and State Governments on education.
  • One of the very significant result which these  schemes produced is that the Gross Enrolment Ration of Girls at all levels of education system i.e. Primary Secondary and Higher Education is now better than that of boys.
  • The new National Education Policy have many positive and must have policies, which will definitely help to boost the education sector in the country, if the policy is properly implemented at grass root level.