Challenges In Implementing the National Education Policy 2020
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The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is aimed at transforming India's education system into a modern, progressive and equitable one. The new policy focuses on improving poor literacy and numeracy outcomes associated with primary schools, reducing dropout levels in middle and secondary schools and introducing the multi-disciplinary approach in the higher education system.
Besides, the policy also lays emphasis on early childhood education, restructuring curriculum and pedagogy, reforming the examination process and investing in teacher training.
Although the NEP 2020 aims to bring a holistic change in the education system of India, there are substantial challenges, both quantitative and qualitative, in implementing the reforms.
Let’s elucidate some of the major challenges in the implementation of NEP 2020.
Curriculum and Content
The NEP seeks to introduce a shift from 10+2 structure to 5+3+3+4 structure, where early childhood education will be a part of formal education. In addition, the NEP 2020 focuses on reducing the curriculum content to make space for critical thinking and in turn, develop individuals with 21st-century skills instilled in them. Hence, all aspects of the curriculum and pedagogy need to be restructured to attain these goals.
The challenges in successfully implementing these changes include modifying the curriculum in accordance with the National Curriculum Framework. Also, educators need to rethink the learning content rubric and modify the textbooks accordingly.
Teacher Availability and Training
The policy envisages the redesign of the school curriculum. However, in order to deliver the curriculum effectively, schools and concerned authorities need to train teachers and understand the pedagogical needs to make a smooth transition to the new education system. Furthermore, they need to shift the focus from teacher-centred learning to student-centred learning to foster collaborative skills, critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making abilities in the youth.
A study suggests that over 250 million students are estimated to enrol in K-12 schools in India by 2030. This means that we need nearly 7 million more teachers to handle this burgeoning student population.
Since teaching is one of the low-paid professions in India, experiential learning and concept-oriented teaching will be a challenging task. Until the teacher remuneration is revised, the implementation of the NEP 2020 will be quite challenging.
The NEP 2020 lays emphasis on leveraging the advantage of technology in making the youth future-ready. But, developing digital infrastructure such as digital classrooms, remote expertise-driven teaching models, AR/VR tools to bridge gaps in physical teaching and laboratory infrastructure is a great challenge because the majority of the schools don’t have a proper set-up to support these tools. Also, the cost associated with building digital infrastructure might not be affordable for all schools across the country.
Moreover, in rural areas of the country where the Internet connectivity is nearly absent, deploying digital learning tools is out of the question. Hence, the government should work on improving the basic infrastructure that will support the digital infrastructure in all areas.
The NEP focuses on formative assessment for learning rather than summative assessment. The primary purpose of changing the assessment system is to promote continuous tracking of learning outcomes. However, continuous assessment requires schools and teachers to use innovative evaluation approaches and assignments. These approaches demand technological intervention and active involvement of teachers and students.
According to a study, out of the 1.5 million schools in India, 75 per cent are run by the government. Of the remaining 400,000 private schools, nearly 80 per cent schools are ‘budget private schools’. Hence, deploying a continuous assessment framework is a challenging task in these schools.
Thus, the government needs to have a systematic phased approach to successfully implement the NEP 2020 and provide quality education to all students, irrespective of their place of residence.
Thus, the NEP 2020 lays emphasis on making the education system holistic, flexible and aligned to the needs of 21st-century education. However, in order to accomplish all these goals, we must overcome all the execution challenges in a sustained manner for years to come.