The Centre recently unveiled its new education policy, proposing sweeping changes in the way education is imparted in Indian classrooms. The National Education Policy 2020, as it is called, will replace the 34-year old policy, which was announced by the then Rajiv Gandhi government.
The new policy would focuss on ushering "experiential thinking and critical thinking" when it comes to classroom teaching. Further, the policy looks at opening up the higher education sector to foreign institutes.
Government schools will now offer pre-school education, which has so far been offered by only private institutes. Further, the centre has proposed switching to a 5+3+3+4 formula instead of the current 10+2 followed across schools. Children from pre-school to classes 1 and 2 will be part of the foundational learning school.
The policy also recommends that mother tongue or regional language should be the medium for up to at least grade 5. The policy document states that children learn & grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their home language. However, it mentions that no language should be imposed on any student.
The policy also aims at redesigning board exams to primarily test a student's core capacities and competencies, rather than rote-learning. Students can, if they so desire, take up the exam on 2 occasions in a school year.
In the higher education sector - the four-year undergraduate program will be making a comeback in Indian colleges. It allows colleges to choose between the current three year under-graduate programmes and a four-year programme. Students will also be offered multiple exit options.
The policy has also proposed a credit bank to keep a record of student's academic credits. These can be transferred to students who choose to return to complete their programme after dropping out.
The policy also focusses on making universities multi-disciplinary by 2040. It also does away with multiple regulators. All these will now be replaced by a single regulator. The policy states that the centre and the states will work together to increase the public investment in education sector to reach 6 percent of GDP at the earliest.
So, can the policy really herald a new era in the education sector, or would it just remain a paper tiger? Do we have enough funds to fulfil the policy objectives? Can the new policy make quality education more accessible to the poor? To answer these questions, Shereen Bhan speaks to Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM and Education Minister of Delhi.Watch the video for more.