National Education Policy introduced: Key features explained

Updated: Jul 30, 2020, 16:29 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

The new pedagogical structure was introduced in the education policy to shift from the existing 10+2 structure and move towards an inclusive transition from the foundational stage to the secondary stage

This picture has ben used for representational purposes
This picture has ben used for representational purposes

In a key development, the Narendra-Modi led government approved the new National Education Policy on Wednesday. The decision to approve the National Education Policy (NEP)after 34 years was taken in a cabinet meeting with an aim to enhance the quality of education in the country. 

The policy has broken down the existing 10+2 structure and has introduced the 5+3+3+4 structure for school education. The new pedagogical structure was introduced to shift from the existing 10+2 structure and move towards an inclusive transition from the foundational stage to the secondary stage.

Even as the new pedagogical structure of the formal school education has changed, the number of years a child spends in school will still remain the same.  

Difference between 10+2 and 5+3+3+4 structures

According to the existing pedagogical structure, a child would spend three years in pre-school or anganwadi after which from the age of six years to 16 years, he/she would spend in a structure that summed up the primary and secondary education. As per the new structure in the NEP, the formal school education will follow the 5+3+3+4 pattern and it will be divided in four structures; Foundational stage, Preparatory stage, middle stage and secondary stage.

 Foundational stage

In the existing pedagogical structure, a child would spend three years in pre-school or Anganwadi, from ages three to six after which he/she would graduate to Class 1, thus marking the beginning of their formal education at the age of six. Now, as per the new structure, the three years of kindergarten has been clubbed with Classes 1 and 2, thus extending the stage to eight years of age. The first two stages of the foundational courses in the existing pedagogical structure were clubbed with kindergarten to focused on the development of language skills. In this stage, children will be taught by play-based or activity-based curriculum.

Preparatory stage

This stage involves children on classes 3 to 5,i.e, ages eight to 11. The focus in this stage to teach children by curriculum based on play, activity and discovery and learning through classroom-based interaction. The curriculum in this stage emphasizes on developing language, numerical skills as per the cognitive development of the child. The medium of instruction for this stage in schools would be in the home language, local language or mother tongue till class 5. Moreover, three languages will be taught to children in this stage and the policy has given the freedom of choosing them to the states.

Middle Stage

The middle stage, also known as middle school involves classes 6 to 8, i.e., children of ages 11 to 13. This stage focusses on more experimental learning with subjects such as science, mathematics, social sciences and humanities. The focus of the curriculum of this stage shifts from rote learning to critical learning objectives. Vocational courses will be introduced in this stage.

 Secondary stage

The secondary stage, also known as secondary and higher secondary school, involves classes 9 to 12 i.e., children of ages 14 to 17. As per the policy, the curriculum of this level would include a multi-disciplinary study. Students will be given the freedom to choose the subjects of their interest from the available structure, including technical subjects and arts.  The focus of the curriculum would be to emphasise upon greater critical thinking and flexibility.

The policy also suggested degree courses be extended up to four years, instead of the existing three years.  The Ministry of Human Resource and Development, that was renamed as the Ministry of Education on Wednesday also said that NEP has also proposed a change in the examination structure.  The key stage-wise assessments for classes 3, 5 and 8 would be based on tracking the development of the child. The policy also has reforms planned for the board examination for classes in the secondary stage, in which students would be tested on their core capabilities.

With inputs from ANI

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