What is New Education Policy - 2020

Union cabinet paved the way for transformative reform in school and higher education system by launching the New National Education Policy (NEP) on 29th July 2020. They also renamed MHRD as Ministry of Education. After the old national education policy which was launched way back in 1986, this is the first education policy of the 21st century that has replaced 34 years old education policy.

The new NEP is based on four pillars which are Access, Equity, Quality, and Accountability. In this new policy, there will be a 5+3+3+4 structure which comprises 12 years of school and 3 years of Anganwadi/ pre-school replacing old 10+2 structure. The Initiatives as per the New Education Policy is given below.

No rigid separations between Science, Arts and Commerce

Students can opt subjects across the streams. All subjects will be offered at two levels of proficiency.

The National Education Policy will now allow students to choose between subjects in Arts, Commerce, and Science programmes in school education and higher education.

The idea is to have all-rounded development of the student by helping the candidate chose which combination of subjects they wish to take.

At school and higher education institutes, an Arts student could now take up Physics or Mathematics as a subject while a Science student could take up Music as a subject.

Till now, there was a strict separation between the subjects a student could take. This was dependent on which stream of education was chosen by the candidate.

Each credit earned in subjects will be differentiated as major and minor programmes. Even if a subject is not part of the traditional degree programmes, students can still choose to take whatever subjects they are interested in.

Accumulated credits can be taken up for getting a degree or diploma programme across all fields of education.

The idea here is to encourage cross-functional thinking so that the student has basic knowledge of subjects across educational fields.

It took 34 years for a change in the education system. So, the rechristened education ministry needs to overhaul at least 34 years, if not more, of the science-stream raga that parents have been dutifully chanting. The government had now  approved landmark reforms to school and college education to prepare Indian students for a 21st century world where critical thinking will determine the future of nations.

The National Policy on Education (NPE)-2020 approved by the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi replaces a 34-year-old policy and bids farewell to rote learning. The focus is on new curricular structures to inculcate scientific temper and mathematical thinking in students; allow multiple entry and exit across higher education levels; establish a single higher education regulator replacing UGC, AICTE and NCTE; cap fees in colleges and universities; expand school education to cover 3 to 6-year-olds and end rigid separation of arts-science and curricular and extracurricular streams at school.


The present age is driven by digital technology and whole globe  has come under the influence of internet and World Wide Web. The internet equipped both the education seeker as well as education provider and laid them together under the virtual roof. Due to which the concept of virtual classroom is already popularized across the globe. Therefore in the modern era, the role of online technology in providing the education is vital and with its flexible nature the online educational technology has gained popularity.

 The online education is now more accessible to the less privileged groups in comparison to the centralized classroom education system.

The NEP has a special focus on online education. Universities and institutions like NITs and IGNOU will be conducting pilot research studies for maximizing the benefits of digital learning in India.

It emphasizes the creation of virtual labs wherein students can practice their theoretical knowledge and make course content available in different languages. The newly renamed Ministry of Education proposes to set up a dedicated unit for promotion of digital learning.

Online education allows students to attend classes from any location of their choice while it allows schools to reach out to an extensive network of students, instead of being restricted by geographical boundaries. Students can clarify their doubts through live chats or forums by staying at the comfort and safety of their home.

On the positive note, online learning has made both teachers and students become more technology savvy. Various mobile phone and computer applications and technology based programs have emerged as an alternative platform to regular classroom teaching during lockdown. Both the teacher and the student community are well acquainted with computers and smartphones.

EdTech start-ups are fast entering the online education market with the intention to create disruption in the education sector. Many of them are tapping all the right opportunities by providing free online courses to students amidst this crisis.

Exposure of vocational education in school and higher education system

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has given special emphasis on vocational education through integration and mainstreaming of vocational education with general education which will help students in acquiring various skills to meet the needs of the industries and to improve the quality of education.

  • The vocational type of education is designed to make students “work ready” upon graduation. It provides practical education, so students develop specific industry skills that allow them to jump right into your profession and get started.
  • Vocational education will be integrated into all school and higher education institutions in a phased manner over the next decade.
  • By 2025, at least 50% of learners through the school and higher education system shall have exposure to vocational education, for which a clear action plan with targets and timelines will be developed.
  • Higher education institutions will offer vocational education either on their own or in partnership with industry and NGOs.
  • The B.Voc. degrees introduced in 2013 will continue to exist, but vocational courses will also be available to students enrolled in all other Bachelor’s degree programes, including the 4-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programmes.
  • ‘Lok Vidya’, i.e., important vocational knowledge developed in India, will be made accessible to students through integration into vocational education courses.
  • The possibility of offering vocational courses through ODL mode will also be explored.
  • MHRD will constitute a National Committee for the Integration of Vocational Education (NCIVE), consisting of experts in vocational education and representatives from across ministries.

New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure

With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.

This will bring the uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.

The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.

The new system will cover four stages:

  • Foundational Stage (in two parts, that is, 3 years of Anganwadi/pre-school + 2 years in primary school in Grades 1-2; both together covering ages 3-8),
  • Preparatory Stage (Grades 3-5, covering ages 8-11),
  • Middle Stage (Grades 6-8, covering ages 11-14), and
  • Secondary Stage (Grades 9-12 in two phases, i.e., 9 and 10 in the first and 11 and 12 in the second, covering ages 14-18).

The curricula will aim for holistic development of learners, equipping them with the key 21st century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and greater focus on experiential learning.

10th Board removed in New Education Policy

The 10th board is removed from the New Education Policy. This is done to make the education system better. The board is a waste of time, and most importantly, the education system should be based on students’ interests and passions.

The government has introduced Honors and General courses so that the students can opt for their preferred courses. In the honors courses, the students are free to choose the subjects they are interested in. The government has also introduced vocational courses so that the students can learn a skill or a trade. These courses are important in today’s economy.