Release of DISE publications by Mr. Arjun Singh, Union HRM

Introduction

After long wait, the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) was released by the Prime Minister of India in July 2020. For the same purpose, another committee headed by T.S. R Subramanian was constituted by the Ministry of HRD/Education but the same couldn’t find takers in the Government because of controversies between the then Human Resource Minister and the Chairman of the Committee. The Highlights of NEP 2020 was released by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Mumbai (29 JUL 2020) details of which is presented below:

The new policy aims to pave way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems in the country.  This policy will replace the 34 your old National Policy on Education (NPE),1986.

More about NPE 2020: Holistic Approach to School Education in India, National Education policy (NPE)

Tables 50% Increase in Higher Education Enrolment by 2035 Arun C Mehta

Fifty Percent Increase in Higher Education Enrolment by 2035 Possible

Introduction
After long wait, the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) was released by the Prime Minister of India in July 2020. For the same purpose, another committee headed by T.S. R Subramanian was constituted by the Ministry of HRD/Education but the same couldn’t find takers in the Government because of controversies between the then Human Resource Minister and the Chairman of the Committee. The Highlights of NEP 2020 was released by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), Mumbai (29 JUL 2020) details of which is presented below:

The new policy aims to pave way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems in the country. This policy will replace the 34 your old National Policy on Education (NPE),1986.

More about NPE 2020: Holistic Approach to School Education in India, National Education policy (NPE)

  • New Policy aims for universalization of education from pre-school to secondary level with 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
  • NEP 2020 will bring 2 crore out of school children back into the main stream through open schooling system.
  • The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
  • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools ; Vocational Education to start  from Class 6 with Internships
  • Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/ regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
  • Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes
  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.   By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree .

Higher Education

  • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50 % by 2035 ;  3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
  • The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate  education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and  multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  • Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate  Transfer of Credits
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to  be set up as models  of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
  • The National Research Foundationwill be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have  four independent verticals  – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,  and National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
  • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.

Others

  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
  • NEP 2020 emphasizes setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups
  • New Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit , Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up
  • The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.

 Unprecedented Consultations

Meaning of Universalisation in the Light of the National Policy on Education 2020 by Prof. Arun C Mehta, Formally Professor & Head of the EMIS Department, NIEPA, New Delhi (India)


The National Educational Policy (2020) adopted a number of suggestions for school education which, if adopted has got far reaching implications one of which is restructuring the composition of school education. At present in India Primary education level consists of Grade I to V (corresponding age-group 6+ to 10+ years), Upper Primary level consists of Grades VI to VIII (age-group 11+ to 13+ years), Secondary (Grades IX & X/14+ to 15+ years) and Higher Secondary Level of education (XI & XII/16+ to 17+ years). Universalisation in India means universal access (school facilities to all), universal participation (all relevant age group children enrolled), universal retention (meaning all those who enter in to the system retain and transit from one level of education to another) and universal quality of education (satisfying criteria of minimum levels of learning).

Instead of present levels, the NPE (2020) proposed (i) Foundational Stage of School Education (3 years of Pre-primary education including Grades 1 and 2 with corresponding age-group 3 to 8 years) (ii) Preparatory phase consisting of 3 years i.e. Grades 3, 4 and 5 (iii) Middle School Education of 3 years (Grades 6, 7 and 8) and (iv) Secondary Education phase of 4 years consisting Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. The corresponding clientele age-groups of these phases would be: Phase I (3+ to 7+ years), Phase II (8+ to 10+years), Phase III (11+ to 13+ years) and Phase IV (14+ to 17+ years).

New phases, if adopted, would change the meaning of universal primary education.  A new set of indicators would be required to be developed and adopted. At present universalisation in India at an educational level is viewed through a set of indicators such as, Gross and Net Enrolment Ratio, Age-specific & Adjusted Net Enrolment Ratio, Grade-to-Grade drop out, promotion and repetition rate, average annual dropout rate, retention & transition rates and a set of quality of education related indicators to view learners ability to read and write.

In case if the proposed structure is adopted, meaning of the most of the indicators and its implication for planning universalisation will change. Instead of present 6+ to 18+ years age group, the new system would have 3+ to 18+ as its clientele; thus meaning school education would have 17 years instead of present 14 years.

New indicators for Foundation and Preparatory Phase would need to be developed on the line of existing set of indicators. However, there would not be any implication for third phase i.e. Middle School education which consists of Grades 6, 7 and 8 which is similar to the existing Upper Primary level of Education and Phase 4th which is combination of the existing Secondary and Higher Secondary levels of education. For Universal foundational Stage, one would be required to compute Gross, Net and other enrolment based indicators for the corresponding 3 to 8 years clientele population. To attain universalisation at this phase of education means enrolling all children of age-group 3 to 8 years in the corresponding classes i.e. Pre-primary to Grade 1 and 2 will be the sufficient condition but that itself will not serve the purpose unless all those who enter into the system through first year of 3 years of Pre-primary education retain in the system, move from one grade to another and finally reach and complete Grade 2. To achieve goal of universalisation, the basic condition would be to enroll all children of age 3 for which entry rate would be required to be computed. A 100 percent entry rate (net) will be required to achieve the goal of universal foundation.

Grade-to-grade dropout, promotion and repetition, if any will be required to compute between each of 5 years of foundation stage. In addition, transition rate from Foundational stage to Preparatory phase, Preparatory to Middle school education phase and from Middle school education phase to Secondary education phase as well as retention rate at all these phases will be required to be computed. Retention rate presents information about the retaining capacity of the system which is unless brought to 100; the dream of universalisation may not be cherished.

Similarly, enrolment ratios at Preparatory phase consisting Grades 3, 4 & 5 with the corresponding clientele age group 8+to 10+ years would be required to be worked out. Universalisation at this phase mean all children of age group 8 to 10 years are enrolled in corresponding grades i.e. Grades 3, 4 & 5 but that would depends upon how many phase one graduates (those who successfully reach Grade 2) system will be producing and transit to the first grade i.e. Grade 3 of next phase i.e. Phase 2, Preparatory phase. It may also be of interest to know that to compute enrolment based indicators enrolment in absolute form and relevant age-specific child population is required.

Though enrolment in the latest year is available from the U-DISE but the age-specific population is available only from the Census of India which is latest available for 2011. Until 2001 Census, the Office of the Registrar General of India used to provide projected population annually but the same based up to the 2011 Census population was never provided in the absence of which enrolment ratio at different levels of education may be termed as indicative (GER at Primary 95.12 percent & Upper Primary level, 90.73 percent) as the child population used in computing GER & NER is estimated based on the projected population based on up to the 2001 Census. All through 2012 to current year, enrolment ratios at all levels of education are based on provisional set of child population. Once the actual child population is available, the enrolment ratio may dramatically change. At disaggregated levels such as, district and block levels, official population projections are rarely available in the absence of which it is not an easy task to compute enrolment based indicators at these levels.

School Education Department of the MHRD must approach the Office of the Registrar General of India to ensure timely availability of 2021 Census child population both at the all-India and State and district levels and in subsequent years in the absence of which it is not possible to reliably compute enrolment ratio indicators which has got serious implications for planning universalisation.

The policy document also envisage increasing GER at Higher Education level from present 25 percent to 50 percent by 2035 meaning doubling enrolment during the period 2017 to 2035 which may not be realized unless the efficiently of school education system is improved to significant effect as enrolment in higher education level is not only a function of 18 to 22 population but would largely depends upon number of higher secondary graduates the system will be producing.

Needless to mention that of the total 123.8 million enrolment in Primary classes, about 6 percent children dropped out form the system before completion of Primary level thus influencing enrolment in subsequent levels of education i.e. upper primary and secondary and higher secondary levels of education all which will eventually affect number of secondary graduates that would be available for higher education.

In view of this, the National Policy 2020 emphasized the need to achieve access and participation in free and compulsory quality school education for all children in the age group of 3 to 18 years by 2030 for which it envisaged all out of school, never enrolled and dropped out children back to school as early as possible and to further prevent all them from dropping out. To achieve this, the policy suggested (i) sufficient infrastructure at all levels from pre-primary school through Grade 12; and (ii) to achieve universal participation in schools by carefully tracking students to ensure that they are enrolled in and attending schools.

The Policy (2019) also advocates that the Free and Compulsory aspects of Right to Education (RTE) Act must be enforced and extended through Grade 12 to all children up to the age of 18 is termed welcome and timely suggestion but the moot question one may ask is whether RTE Act enacted in 2009 has been truly implemented in its spirits?. U-DISE data suggest that only 12 percent of the 1.5 million schools imparting school education in the Country have all the 10 facilities as was envisaged in the Right to Free and Compulsory Education 2009 Act majority of schools without such facilities are the Government run schools. In addition, though declined but still a good number of unrecognized schools are functioning across the country which is evident from the U-DISE data.

As per the RTE Act, all un-enrolled, never enrolled and dropped out children are to be identified by the local authorities annually and train them (3 months to 2 years) to make them to sit in the age appropriate grade in view of which in the recent years there are no target date/year to achieve the goal of Universal Primary/School education. The Student Database Management in-sync with U-DISE launched in 2016-17 could have helped, as proposed in the policy, in moving towards developing a Child-Tracking System but unfortunately for unknown reasons, the same despite successfully collecting individual student records of more than 210 million students discontinued abruptly in the following years.

Once the modifications as suggested in the NPE 2020 is adopted,  Officers those who are engaged in data analysis and district plans will be required to understand meaning of universalisation in the changed scenario for which adequate modifications will be required in the planning strategies, if any under the Government of India’s flagship programme i.e. Samagra Shiksha!!