Register For UPSC IAS New Batch

National education policy: some plans, some key gains

For Latest Updates, Current Affairs & Knowledgeable Content.

National education policy: some plans, some key gains

Context- From a new policy that outlines the education roadmap for the next 20 years to sweeping changes in school textbooks and the opening up of the Indian higher education space to foreign players, the Modi government’s second term has proven to be more eventful in terms of education compared to the first.


NEP and Reforms

Seven years in the making, the NEP 2020 is a policy document outlining a series of reforms to be pursued in education till 20240. A new education policy comes along every few decades, and India has had three to date.

  • The NEP 2020 proposes vital shifts — from creating a system in which “children not only learn but more importantly learn how to learn” to one in which “pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, inquiry-driven, flexible” and in which there is “no hard separation between arts and sciences”
  • After its launch in July 2020, the implementation got off to a sluggish start due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19. But there has been some progress in the past year.
  • It includes the introduction of a common entrance test for central universities, granting more autonomy to universities for collaborating with foreign institutions, engineering colleges offering BTech programs in regional languages, establishment of a national assessment centre to align curriculum and assessment standards across school boards, the launch of a digital storehouse for student credits, and the NIPUN Bharat scheme. The NIPUN Bharat scheme aims to strengthen foundational literacy for children aged 3 to 9 years.

  • However, there are concerns that some of the grand announcements on NEP execution are cosmetic in nature. One example is the renaming of the mid-day meal scheme as PM POSHAN without any additional funding allocation. Despite the NEP’s recommendation to include breakfast as part of the mid-day meal, the Finance Ministry rejected the Education Ministry’s proposal.
  • Furthermore, the relaunch of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan Scheme, supposedly realigned with NEP suggestions, has been allocated funds significantly below the proposals made by the Education Ministry.

National Curriculum Framework:

  • Besides the NEP 2020, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), a crucial policy document for revising textbooks and classroom pedagogy, is nearly complete. On April 6 this year, the ministry released the NCF pre-draft for public feedback.
  • Among its key recommendations are conducting board examinations twice a year, creating a semester system for Class 12 students, and providing students with the freedom to pursue a combination of science and humanities, aiming to reduce the rigid boundaries between arts, commerce, and science in classes 11 and 12 across all school boards

School Textbooks:

  • The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), the apex body advising the Centre on school education, has undertaken three rounds of revisions in school textbooks.
  • The first two rounds, in 2017 and 2019, and third round in last year.

Foreign Universities:

  • In its first term, the government set up committees to explore feasibility, but considerable progress was achieved only when the proposal found an endorsement in NEP 2020.
  • Presently, the UGC is giving final touches to a regulation that would allow foreign universities to establish campuses in India that have their own admission process, the freedom to determine fee structures and recruit faculty and staff from here and abroad.

New Institutions, Enhanced Capacity:

  • In addition to the new centrally-run educational institutions (including 7 IITs, 7 IIMs, 16 IIITs, 15 AIIMS of which 12 are partially or fully functional) set up in the last nine years, there was a significant capacity enhancement of existing institutions by way of the EWS quota.
  • To accommodate the 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS), all centrally -funded educational institutions, including IITs, NITs, IIMs, central universities, IISERs, and IIITs, were asked to increase their overall student strength by 25% within two years.

Female representation:

  • The last nine years have witnessed initiatives aimed at increasing female representation in traditionally male-dominated educational institutions. For instance, the supernumerary seats were introduced for women at IITs and NITs in 2018, resulted in a rise in female representation from 9% in 2017 to 20% in 2022 at IITs over five years.
  • Additionally, in 2021, all 33 Sainik Schools transitioned from being all-male to admitting girl cadets, following a successful pilot in 2018.

Other significant changes and initiatives in education include:

  • The no-detention policy under the Right to Education Act 2009, which guaranteed promotion through Class 1 to 8, was scrapped in 2019. After this, several states framed rules to start holding back children in classes 5 and 8.
  • A single agency to conduct all entrance tests to higher education, the National Testing Agency, was set up in 2017.
  • In a bid to end “inspector raj” and dismantle lobbies, the country’s apex medical education body, the Medical Commission of India, was dissolved in September 2020 and replaced with a new body – National Medical Commission.
  • Higher Education Financing Agency or HEFA was set up in 2017 to leverage funds from the market to finance infrastructure development in educational institutions through long-term loans.



  • HEIs with a NAAC score of 3.51 or ranking among the top 500 in reputable world rankings were placed in ‘Category I’, allowing them to start new courses, establish off-campus centres, offer skill development courses, hire foreign faculty, and run open distance learning programs.
  • To date, only 48 universities (out of almost 1,000 in the country) have been placed in ‘CategoryI’ as part of the graded autonomy scheme of UGC.

Vacant Faculty and Leadership Positions:

  • Shortage of teachers and vacant leadership positions have been a constant for CEIs in the last nine years. Teacher recruitment efforts have only been prioritised and accelerated in a “mission mode” since September 2021.
  • According to parliamentary records, only 1,471 teachers have been hired across all central universities since the start of this recruitment drive, and approximately 6,000 positions (almost 30% of the sanctioned posts) remain unfilled.

Conclusion- National Education Policy aims to raise public spending on Education to 6 %  of GDP . However, this remains unfulfilled . Funding along with effective implementation of policy is the way forward.

Syllabus- GS-2; Education

Source- Indian Express

Any Doubts ? Connect With Us.

Join Our Channels

For Latest Updates & Daily Current Affairs

Related Links

Connect With US Socially

Request Callback

Fill out the form, and we will be in touch shortly.

Call Now Button