Webinar – New Education Policy 2020, Implications for affordable private schools

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The NEP at its heart is trying to bring in changes that are absolutely essential as we look to truly embrace '21st-century education' in India

On July 29, 2020, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) approved the draft of the National Education Policy (NEP). This is the first update to India’s education policy in nearly 30 years, and there has been plenty of debate on the recommendations made by the draft.

Varthana in its endeavor to support affordable private schools organized a webinar for school leaders aimed at unpacking the policy. 

To initiate a phase of transformative changes in the Indian education landscape, the New Education Policy recommends sweeping changes in the school and higher education. Some of the major highlights proposed by the draft approved by the Union cabinet are as given below:

  • The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure.
  • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools; Vocational Education to start  from Class 6 with Internships
  • Very strong emphasis on the Early Childhood Care and Education
  • Experiential learning across subjects in the middle school years
  • Secondary schooling years to focus on the critical aspects of higher order thinking skills in interdisciplinary subjects across the curriculum
  • Recommendation to use local/mother tongue as a medium of instruction till class 5
  • Assessment reforms with 360-degree holistic progress card, tracking student progress for achieving learning outcomes
  • Board exams to be broken into two sets, to test core capabilities
  • New National Assessment Centre- PARAKH for assessment of students PAN india
  • Standard Setting and Accreditation for school education

This webinar focused on understanding the implications of New Education Policy 2020 on affordable private schools in India with a panel of experts in the Indian education space.

The webinar explained the key priorities and focus areas of NEP and possible challenges that private affordable schools might face in a concise way that were discussed by the representatives of different schools and the expert panel. 

Dr. Dakshayini Khanna, one of the panelists with 32 years of experience with the state board and CBSE board schools finds the NEP document excellent in its letter and spirit and termed the policy document very ambitious. She believes that this policy has the ability to provide education that India needs if implemented in the direction it envisions with striking features of ECCE, the possibility of using multiple methodologies and changes in the transition stages in the academic structure proposed by the NEP. She believes that the challenges now lie in the implementation of the policy and highlighted the absence of inclusion of Public Private Partnership.

Key Priorities and Focus Areas of NEP

Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma, is the President of the National Independent School Alliance that networks 65000 schools in India. Dr. Sharma found the focus on skill development and moving away from rote learning towards vocational education and outcome oriented processes really valuable in the NEP. He found the system of accreditation as an important factor to bring transparency but doubts whether the proposed system will really bring out the best in the Indian education system. He posited the use of Direct Benefit Transfer to parents in choosing schools. He disagreed with blanket coverage of all affordable private schools since it caters to different stratas of our society and hence comes up with different facilities for the schools due to varying scenarios.

Building in 21st-century education in India by decentralising the responsibilities, emphasizing the importance of outcome parameters to bring equity in the education system, opening up the sector to different philosophies and pedagogical approaches that has the capacity to support and develop students from diverse background areas as envisioned by NEP were some of the most exciting features according to Mr. Parth Shah, Founder President at Centre for Civil Society. One of the areas where NEP misses out, according to him, is the absence of the mechanism of building parent engagement in the government schools. 

Our panelists also discussed the challenges that the sector might face during the implementation. It was highlighted that the schools will need a greater amount of support and resource allocation to implement the features of NEP 2020. The webinar pointed out that the private affordable schools need to be looked at with a different mindset as this sector is the culmination of a diverse range of schools which faces different challenges. Along with this, our panelists also wondered about the mandate of the School Standard Authority in the next phase of much desired and sorely needed transformation of the Indian education system.

Curriculum Focused on 21st century

The NEP at its heart is trying to bring in changes that are absolutely essential as we look to truly embrace ’21st-century education’. However, the real challenges lie in grassroots implementation of said changes. A majority of India’s schools provide essential education to rural children. With the infrastructure in rural areas not as robust as that found in urban India, the government has its job cut out. The success (and failure) of this policy solely depends on how seriously the government wishes to support schools in the quest for future ready education.

If you have not watched our webinar still, please click the link to watch:

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