Indian education, which has remained tedious for ages, is likely to reshape significantly under Modi’s new mandate. In this term, the incumbent government is planning to follow a liberal approach akin to that of ancient Indian universities like Nalanda and Takshashila with an aim to integrate the rich Indian culture, tradition and knowledge into modern learning, and re-ignite the traditional Indian values of Ahimsa, Seva, Satya, Swacchata, etc. into every learner.
To make this a reality, the government will restructure both higher and school education with a focus on delivering better education, nurturing students’ skills, and preparing them to deal with real-world problems.
Reshaping the age-old 10+2 format
The new education policy (NEP) primarily focuses on overhauling the existing 10+2 format. It will introduce a new 5+3+3+4 structure, which would include five years of foundational stage, comprising three years of pre-primary along with classes 1 and 2. This would be followed by three years of preparatory stage, three years of middle school and four years of the secondary stage.
This transition will make it compulsory for students to take ‘state census exams’ in grades 3, 5 and 8. The move is to analyze students in terms of IQ, high order skills and core concepts. For instance, in grade 3 census exam, students would undergo tests related to basic literacy, numeracy, among others.
Creating a stress-free learning environment
We have seen how both board and entrance exams agonize students and increase their stress levels, eventually affecting their health at an early age. To tackle this issue, the government is planning to introduce a new modular format, which will allow students to appear for the board exam in each subject at the end of a semester.
A total of at least 24-subject board exams or on average three exams per semester will be taken into consideration. The move will bring relief to students as they will be able to manage time and focus on their respective subjects, instead of staying focussed at scoring big in the final exams.
Taking language a notch higher
The NEP also emphasizes on language and plans to make Sanskrit the mode of instruction at least until class five. Sanskrit will be offered as one of the optional languages on par with all Schedule 8 languages, at all levels of school and higher education. While in classes 6-8, students will have to undertake at least two years of a classical language, which they can continue through secondary education and university.
Simplifying higher education
When speaking of higher education, the government is planning to bring in a single regulator – National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA). With this initiative, all higher educational institutions will become multi-disciplinary and will be able to facilitate high-quality teaching, research, and service to the learners. It will significantly simplify the Indian education sector, which currently comprises over 50,000 higher education institutions, including 907 universities.
Additionally, the government is keen to expand the duration of undergraduate courses from three to four years, and offer multiple exit options to students. For instance, a student can opt for an advanced diploma after completing two years of study or can go for a diploma after completion of 1 year. In Masters, more focus would now be given on research as currently in Indian universities the courses lack research-oriented curriculum.
Doing so will nurture the research skills of students and release them from pursuing M.Phil. In fact, students will also be able to opt for an integrated five-year bachelor’s/master’s program apart from the one-year master’s program. This will be beneficial for those who have already completed a four-year program.
In addition to the aforementioned proposals, the Indian government has started offering scholarships through its recently-launched Scholarship Program for Diaspora Children (SPDC) in the upcoming academic session (2019-20). There are over 800 scholarships awarded to Indian expats to pursue higher education in their native country. All the Indian-origin students will now have access to study at premier Indian institutions such as Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), Institutes of Technology (NITs), to name a few.
Through this scheme, the government will provide nearly 75 per cent financial assistance on the total cost of the academic course, which will come around $4000 worth of annual scholarship. The government, in order to promote India in foreign nations, has also raised the scholarship amount to INR 25,000 and INR 3,000 a month for boys and girls respectively, under the ‘Prime Minister Scholarship Scheme’.
These are some of the recent proposals and initiatives introduced by the government in its second term. Hopefully, this time, it has deployed better implementation strategies to effectively take these concrete moves towards ensuring better quality education across India in the coming days.