In July 2020, the Indian government launched the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 to replace the old education policy (National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986) and meet the evolving needs of new-age learning skills including digital education. The NEP 2020 was released to empower the country’s youth and make them future ready; thereby, transform India as a hub for the world’s biggest skilled manpower. The policy emphasises on holistic development of India's youth, with a focus on skill development as the key element in achieving Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi's vision of self-reliant India.
In July 2021, the new policy completed one year and brought significant changes in the Indian education sector. For example, the policy introduced new subjects, such as artificial intelligence and financial education, in curriculums and implemented regional language mediums for schools & colleges. In addition, under this policy, CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) announced to increase number of analytical and multiple-choice questions in board examinations from 2022. Further, the new NEP 2020 policy implemented multidisciplinary streams across school and colleges.
Key Developments under NEP 2020
In the past one year (July 2020 onwards), the Indian education sector recorded significant developments as part of the NEP implementation. Key developments are as follows:
Technical courses in regional languages
- In July 2021, Union Minister of Education, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan announced to introduce technical subjects in regional languages such as Malayalam, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. In line with this, the government also announced that 14 engineering colleges across eight states have initiated technical education (B.Tech course) in five regional language (Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu and Tamil) to cater to the marginalised section of the society.
- The government also launched subjects in Indian sign language at secondary level in the country for inclusion in higher education.
Online degree programmes
- In line with the government’s NEP 2020, in 2021, the University Grants Commission (UGC) allowed universities to offer online degree courses and expand further in the education sector, while supporting career growth of students.
- NEP 2020 enabled the top 100 universities in the country to extend online degree courses and enhance accessibility.
- In line with the government’s goal to implement NEP, key EdTech players are leveraging strategic partnerships to offer online courses to students in India.
- In June 2021, upGrad, an EdTech company, in collaboration with O.P. Jindal Global University and Jamia Hamdard University introduced online education programmes such as Master of Computer Applications, Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and courses on corporate and financial law.
- In June 2021, Imarticus Learning in partnership with JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru, introduced online degree programmes such as BBA in banking and finance.
- In March 2021, Great Learning, an EdTech firm, joined forces with JAIN (Deemed-to-be University), Bengaluru, to introduce online degree programmes such as BBA, MBA and MCA.
Revised pattern of board examination
- In line with the NEP 2020, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced to increase the number of analytical, competency-based and multiple-choice questions to assess the critical and creative thinking capabilities of students and make them industry-ready for employment.
Availability of multidisciplinary streams in institutes
- In line with the government’s NEP 2020, aiming to make higher education multidisciplinary by 2030, institutes and colleges including IIT Delhi, IIT Roorkee and IIT Kharagpur are gradually expanding to include non-engineering courses to offer students an extended opportunity to learn new disciplinaries.
- In August 2020, IIT Kharagpur inaugurated the Academy of Classical and Folk Arts to offer students training programmes on performing arts, fine arts and music.
- For FY21, IIT Roorkee introduced new term-wise MBA and MSc (Biotechnology) (supported by the Department of Biotechnology).
Data science and financial literacy in schools
- In 2021, as part of NEP 2020 implementation, CBSE schools leveraged strategic partnerships with tech players such as Microsoft to introduce data science and coding skill courses in schools.
- In June 2021, CBSE also collaborated with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to introduce financial literacy curriculum for Class VI students.
New Educational Initiatives
In July 2021, on the occasion of one year anniversary of the introduction of NEP in the country, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi launched additional ten educational initiatives to boost the education landscape of the country. Key initiatives are as follows:
- Academic Bank of Credit
Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi launched the Academic Bank of Credit to offer opportunity for multiple entry and exit choices for students in higher education.
- Artificial Intelligence
Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi released a website dedicated to artificial intelligence to prepare students industry-ready and lay the foundation for an AI-driven economy.
- Engineering Programmes in Regional Languages
The government announced that first-year engineering programmes will be available in regional languages FY22 onwards. In line with this, the AICTE aims to build a resource database to empower institutions to provide more programmes in regional languages and design a tool that can translate technical curriculum into 11 languages.
- NISHTHA 2.0
The government introduced NISHTHA 2.0, which is an integrated programme that was designed by NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) to train teachers.
- Vidya Pravesh Programme
The government launched the Vidya Pravesh programme, which is a three-month play-based school readiness programme for students in Grade I.
The government introduced SAFAL, (Structured Assessment for Analysing Learning Levels), a competency-based assessment methodology used in CBSE schools for Grades III, V and VIII.
- National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR)
The government launched National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR) to facilitate a new educational ecosystem and establish a digital framework for self-governance for all concerned stakeholders.
The programme was designed to allow educators assess students based on their abilities and talents, enabling them to better understand their areas of specialisation and how they might apply them to their career prospects.
- National Education Technology Forum (NETF)
The government introduced the National Education Technology Forum (NETF) to deliver neutral, evidence-based recommendations on technology-based initiatives to central and state government associations.
Once the forum is operational, school-specific information will be gathered on how technology can be utilised to deliver academic material and what efforts are being done to improve research.
- Sign Language as a Subject
In his address to mark the 1st anniversary of NEP 2020, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi said that for the first time, Indian sign language has been granted the status of a language subject. He added that the country has >3 lakh students who require sign language as part of their education and the introduction of sign language in the system would help empower those students.
- Internationalisation of Higher Education
In addition, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi introduced guidelines for ‘Internationalisation of Higher Education’ to encourage higher teaching institutions and explore creative collaborations in areas of education and research. Moreover, this will also help provide an opportunity to the Higher Education Institutions compete at a global level.
Following this, the government, in July 2021, announced that ~250 Indian universities established an 'office of international education' to attract overseas students.
The Road Ahead
Going forward, the government aims to implement NEP 2020 rapidly across states, laying the foundation to establish education complexes, introduce a wider range of subjects in higher education institutions and implement flexible entry-exit schemes in colleges and universities.
Union Minister of Education, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, advised state institutions, such as colleges and universities, to follow the policy in FY22. In line with this, in August 2021, Karnataka became the first state to issue mandate to implement NEP effective from FY22.
The government is also planning to make India as a global study destination. According to the Ministry of Education estimates, ~200,000 students from India travel abroad for higher education each year, resulting in an annual outflow of ~Rs. 50,000 crore (US$ 6.7 billion). On the other hand, ~48,000 overseas students are estimated to study in Indian institutes.
To attract more international students in India, the government is focusing on various initiatives, including incentives for international institutions to establish campuses in India, seeking for alliances from international universities for introducing collaborative training programmes. Also, the government aims to build offshore campuses to attract international students and encourage them for discounted programmes at Indian campuses.
Further, with broad-based changes across the education sector, the NEP is making significant progress at modernising the country’s educational landscape and addressing the evolving needs of the youth, while making them well-equipped with industry-based skills.
Also, the state government’s increased emphasis to implement NEP, along with rising participation of private players to offer online programmes in colleges and universities, are expected to contribute to the effective implementation NEP and create further learning opportunities for global students.