Draft National Education Policy 2019
The Committee for Draft National Education Policy submitted the Draft National Education Policy 2019 to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, government of India, on December 15, 2018. The Committee was formed in June, 2017, with Dr. K. Kasturirangan as chairman (former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation). The policy is still being finalised.
The draft policy consists of four parts. Part I (School Education, chapters 1-8) covers such themes as early childhood care and education, foundational literacy and numeracy, reintegrating dropouts and ensuring universal access to education, curriculum and pedagogy in schools, and equitable and inclusive education. Part II (Higher Education, chapters 9-18) contains chapters such as ‘Quality Universities and Colleges: A New and Forward Looking Vision for India’s Higher Education System’ , ‘Institutional Restructuring and Consolidation’ , and ‘Towards a More Liberal Education’. Part III (Additional Key Focus Areas, chapters 19-22) covers technology in education, vocational education, adult education and the promotion of Indian languages. Part IV (Transforming Education, chapter 23) focuses on the establishment of a National Education Commission (Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog), an apex body for education in India.
The draft policy also contains an addendum which discusses its financing and implementation, and appendices.
The draft policy seeks to restructure school curriculum and pedagogy in a new ‘5+3+3+4’ design, so that school education can be made relevant to the needs and interests of learners at different developmental stages – a ‘Foundational Stage’ (five years), a ‘Preparatory Stage’ (three years), a ‘Middle Stage’ (three years) and the ‘High Stage’ (four years, covering grades nine, 10, 11 and 12).
An independent, state-wide, regulatory body called the State School Regulatory Authority shall be created for each state, it shall set forth regulations concerning the safety, security, basic infrastructure, number of teachers across subjects and grades, ‘probity’, and processes of governance in schools – both public and private.
The draft policy emphasises the need for children to be multilingual. It also states that all students – in public and private schools – must take a course on a ‘classical language’ of India, which includes Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Pali, Persian and Prakrit.
As envisioned by the draft policy, all ‘higher education institutions’ (HEIs) shall evolve into one of these three types: research universities, teaching universities and colleges. A university will mean a multidisciplinary institution of higher learning that offers undergraduate and graduate programmes, with high quality teaching, research and other services. A college will be restricted to a large multidisciplinary institution of higher learning primarily focused on undergraduate teaching. A HEI will be termed multidisciplinary if it offers at least two programmes in the arts or humanities, at least two in science and mathematics, and at least one in the social sciences.
The draft policy stipulates that all HEIs will gradually move towards full autonomy – academic, administrative, and eventually, financial. They will be governed by ‘independent boards’ that will ensure the elimination of external interference – including from the government – and will aim to engage “…high capacity individuals who are invested in and have strong commitment towards the institution.”
The draft policy proposes the establishment of a National Research Foundation to improve the quality and quantity of research in India. Its functions will be to fund competitive, peer-reviewed grant proposals of all types and across all disciplines; facilitate research at academic institutions, particularly at universities and colleges where research is in a nascent stage; act as a liaison between researchers and relevant branches of the government and industry; and recognise outstanding research through prizes and special seminars.
As per the draft policy, the National Educational Technology Forum will be created as a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to improve learning, assessment, planning and administration. Its focus will include the use technology to support translation of content into multiple languages; assist differently-abled learners; improve the quality of pedagogy and learning processes through the use of intelligent tutoring systems and adaptive assessment systems; strengthen educational planning and management and bring greater transparency and efficiency to the examination system as well as to administrative and governance processes.
Chapter 23, ‘Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog’ discusses the establishment of a National Education Commission, an apex body for education in India, chaired by the prime minister. It will be responsible for developing, articulating, implementing, evaluating, and revising the ‘vision of education’ in the country. It will also create and oversee the institutional frameworks for the same.
There is a deficit in the ‘public financing’ for educational institutions, notes the draft policy. A large proportion of public expenditure on education comprises salaries of individuals in the existing system, with “…grossly inadequate amounts allocated for other matters, e.g. learning resources, school maintenance, laboratories, midday meals, etc.” The policy envisions an increase in public expenditure on education.
The draft states: “This Policy calls for the rejuvenation, active promotion and support for private philanthropic activity in the education sector.”
Focus and Factoids by Poulomi Sen.
Committee for Draft National Education Policy (Chairman: Dr. K. Kasturirangan)
Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, New Delhi
15 Dec, 2018