New Delhi: The first major announcement of the Modi government in its second term was the draft of the new education policy (NEP).
The draft, in its original form submitted by the Dr K Kasturirangan committee, was a voluminous 484 pages document. The new education policy announced by the government, however, was reduced to just 64 pages.
Some of the key recommendations in the original draft, like the proposal for a Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog, were omitted from the NEP in the final stages of its preparation.
The version of the policy that was shared by official circles proves that there has been a lot of confusion within the government about the recommendations that should be included and removed.
Here are some of the main suggestions that were either removed or added in the final stage:
The controlling agency
The NEP has suggested a Higher Education Commission as a single regulatory authority to replace the multiple bodies like UGC and the accreditation agency that exist today.
The plan initially was to have a national regulatory setup. Although the idea has been retained in the form of a regulatory council, it will function under the education commission.
The policy also proposes independent bodies such as the National Accreditation Council for accreditation, the Grants Council for funding, and the General Education Council for academic standards, but all of them will be under the purview of the Higher Education Commission.
Idea of education service dropped
The concept of an Indian Education Service (IES), modelled on the civil service, was considered till the final stage. The recommendation was to appoint IES officers for various posts, including that of university registrars. But it was omitted in the final policy.
Focus on COVID-19
Amid the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the NEP has laid emphasis on the role of higher educational institutions in the fight against various kinds of viruses, even though there was no such recommendation in the Kasturirangan Committee report.
It is recommended that research in the fields of virology, diagnostics, and vaccinology should be promoted in higher educational institutions.
Consensus on language
One of the key recommendations that were added in the final stage was on implementing the three-language formula. There will be no more rigorous implementation of the plan at the national level. The respective states, regions and students will get more freedom in selecting the languages. It also makes it clear that a student must be well-versed in the linguistics of at least one of three languages.
Exams in future will be online
In the future, exams and assessments can be done completely online. The National Assessment Centre, school boards and the National Testing Agency should join hands to facilitate this, the NEP suggests.
The COVID pandemic disrupted the schedule of many schools and entrance exams. In fact, the CBSE Class 12 exams could not be completed. The move to online testing is likely to be expedited in view of this disruption.