New Education Policy: Commonly asked questions answered

Nagpur: Students busy writing answers during class 12 board exams conducted by MSBSHSE  (Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education) in Nagpur on Feb 21, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
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Will states be free to make changes to the new education policy depending on the circumstances they face?

Given that the new education policy is a common guideline for the entire country, states will not have the freedom to completely deviate from it depending on their circumstances. However, states and various school boards will feel the need to make some changes.

Will the proposal to teach in the mother tongue up to the fifth standard affect the existing English medium schools?

The policy says teaching must be in the mother tongue or local language wherever possible. Apparently, English medium schools will not be affected by it. However, English medium schools will also have to make changes to implement the Centre's policies like those on teaching in the mother tongue and trilingual curriculum.

How will an internship with vocational education be implemented from class 6?

The government is considering vocations that will be prevalent locally. Internships will be provided with carpenters, handicrafts persons, pottery-makers and traders, etc.

Will the existing primary, high school and higher secondary school structures have to be reorganised when the 5+3+3+4 system is implemented? Will teachers have to be redeployed?

While announcing the new curriculum, it was made clear that there will be no need to change existing buildings or basic infrastructure at schools. At the same time, preschools and anganwadis will have to be upgraded to school standards. The new policy also suggests that the quality of teachers and the student-teacher ratio in a classroom should change.

Will the current two year B.Ed be discontinued when the four-year integrated B.Ed is introduced?

The two-year B.Ed courses will continue. However, by 2030, the four-year integrated B.Ed course will be the minimum qualification required for teaching. Other B.Ed courses will become irrelevant after 2030.

How will the role of universities change when colleges become autonomous?

As colleges attain autonomy gradually in phases, universities will become their mentoring institutions. Also, universities will become a single campus for high-quality courses and research. There will no more complex nomenclatures such as affiliated universities, Deemed-to-be universities, etc.  

What is the proposal for multidisciplinary education and research universities?

The aim is to create model universities with IIT, IIM standards and make them world-class institutions. These universities will offer study and research in all subjects. They will be modelled on the Ivy League universities in the US. The policy also states that the Ivy League universities will help India create such institutions.

When the 4-year degree courses come into effect, will the three-year degree courses be discontinued?

The three-year courses will continue. The four-year courses will be graduate programmes that offer research opportunities along with graduation and also the opportunity to exit courses any time and return later to complete them. Students will get a certificate for the part of the course completed and they can also keep the credit earned till then. Based on this certificate and credit, they will be able to rejoin the course anytime and complete it. 

How will the changes at the undergraduate level affect postgraduate courses?

Higher education institutions will be given the freedom to start PG courses. Those who complete three-year graduation can pursue the two-year PG in the current form with full-time research in the final year. Those completing a four-year graduation can pursue a one-year PG. There will also be a 5-year integrated UG and PG programme.

What will be the basic qualifications for a PhD?

It can be a postgraduate degree or a four-year degree. MPhil will be completely done away with.

What will be the regulatory system, including for higher education?

The existing Central Advisory Council will be strengthened. The Higher Education Commission will control the higher education sector. There will be the National Higher Education Council under this. The General Education Council will look into standardisation of education and the National Accreditation Council will be responsible for accreditation.

How will the education policy be implemented?

It is not a policy that can be implemented immediately and in one go. The policy is a blueprint for what the government plans to do and the changes it envisages in the field of education in the coming years. Many of these changes will require legal reforms for implementation.

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