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National Education Policy

Published: 7th Jun, 2019

  • The draft of New National Education Policy has been recently submitted by the Committee led by Dr. Kasturirangan on education policy.
  • The draft has been shared by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) for public comment.



  • The draft of New National Education Policy has been recently submitted by the Committee led by Dr. Kasturirangan on education policy.
  • The draft has been shared by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) for public comment.
  • There were protests in many parts of the country mainly from Tamil Nadu regarding a clause in the draft recommending mandatory Hindi teaching in all schools as one of the three-language formula introduced from class 1. Consequently the committee has removed this clause from the draft.


  • The National Policy on Education (NPE) is a policy formulated by the Government of India to promote education amongst India's people. The policy covers elementary education to colleges in both rural and urban India.
  • The first NPE was promulgated in 1968 by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and the second by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.
  • Most recently the government of India has appointed a new committee under K. Kasturirangan to prepare a Draft for the new National Education Policy in 2017 for the next two decades.


  • National Policy on Education, 1968:
    • This first policy on education was based on the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1964-1966).
    • The policy aimed at compulsory education for all children upto the age of 14 years and better training and qualification of teachers.
    • The policy called for focus on learning of regional languages, outlining the "three language formula" to be implemented in secondary education - the instruction of the English language, the official language of the state where the school was based, and Hindi.
    • The policy also encouraged the teaching of the ancient Sanskrit language, which was considered an essential part of India's culture and heritage.
  • National Policy on Education, 1986:
    • This policy aimed at special emphasis on the removal of disparities and to equalise educational opportunity, especially for Indian women, Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Scheduled Caste (SC) communities.
    • It launched "Operation Blackboard" to improve primary schools nationwide.
    • The policy expanded the Open University system with the Indira Gandhi National Open University, which had been created in 1985.
    • The policy called for the creation of the "rural university" model, based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote economic and social development at the grassroots level in rural India.
  • Modification of 1986 National Policy on Education in 1992:
    • It aimed to conduct a common entrance examination on all India basis for admission to professional and technical programmes in the country.
    • For admission to Engineering and Architecture programmes, the government laid down a Three – Exam Scheme (JEE and AIEEE at the National Level and the State Level Engineering Entrance Examinations (SLEEE) for State Level Institutions).
    • This was done to take care of varying admission standards in these programmes and to maintain professional standards.
    • It also solved the problems of overlaps and reduced physical, mental and financial burden on students and their parents due to multiplicity of entrance examinations.


Key provisions of the draft of 2017:

  • Early childhood care and education: High-quality early childhood care and education will be provided for all children between the ages of 3 and 6 by 2025. This will be done within institutions such as schools and anganwadis, which would have a mandate to take care of the overall well-being of the child—nutritional, health, and education.
  • Ensuring foundational literacy and numeracy: Every student will start achieving age-appropriate foundational literacy and numeracy by 2025. A slew of programmes and measures have been articulated for this purpose.
  • Transformed curricular and pedagogical structure: The curriculum and pedagogical structures will be designed anew, based on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. The curriculum will be integrated and flexible with equal emphasis on all subjects and fields.
  • Universal access and retention in schools: All children between ages 3 and 18 will be in school by 2030. The Right to Education Act will be extended from pre-school to class XII. Currently this is from 6-14 years of age.
  • Teachers at the centre: The profession of teaching, and so teachers, will be at the centre of the education system, focused on the student and educational aims. All schools will be fully resourced with teachers—with working conditions for an energetic work culture.
  • New institutional architecture for higher education: India’s current 800 universities and over 40,000 colleges will be consolidated into about 10,000-15,000 institutions of excellence to drive improvement in quality and expansion of capacity. This architecture will have only large multi-disciplinary institutions, with significant investment.
  • Three types of higher education institutions will be there: Type 1 universities focused on research but also teaching all programmes, undergrad to doctoral; Type 2 universities focused on teaching all programmes while also conducting research and; Type 3 colleges focused on teaching undergrad programmes. All types will grant their own degrees. There will be no system of university affiliations.
  • High-quality liberal education: All undergraduate education will be broad-based liberal education that integrates the rigorous study of sciences, arts, humanities, mathematics and vocational and professional fields with choices offered to students. Multiple exit and entry points will be offered, with appropriate certification after one, two, three and four years of study. There will be a four-year undergraduate programme available in addition to three-year programmes.
  • There will be a substantial increase in public investment to expand and vitalize public education at all levels.

Reasons behind introduction of these new provisions:

  • A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Hence for a child to learn something the first and foremost requirement is good health. He should be provided with complete nutrition. The institutions of school and anganwadi will provide this support to families for children younger than three years of age—within their homes.
  • The basic issue facing our education system today is that students are not being able to read, write and do elementary math. Hence special emphasis was needed to be given for foundational literacy and basic numeracy.
  • Until now the studies and the co-curricular activities (like – playing sports, dancing, painting, etc.) were treated differently and lesser emphasis was given to the co-curricular. But in this new draft, there will be no separation of curricular, co-curricular or extra-curricular areas in schools. Examination systems will be radically changed to assess real learning, make them stress-free, and aim for improvement instead of the passing of judgements.
  • Earlier there were provisions of “temporary” teachers. This was causing a lesser dedication from the teachers towards teaching as they were fearful of their employment. Under this new draft no temporary teachers will be allowed.
  • All positions of teachers will be filled with competent and qualified teachers. A development-oriented performance management system will be put in place. The teacher education system will be transformed, with rigorous teacher preparation through a four-year integrated stage and subject-specific programmes offered only in multi-disciplinary institutions.
  • Provision of liberal education at higher levels with imaginative and flexible curricula will help to develop critical thinking, creative abilities and other fundamental capacities in the students.

Way forward:

  • It is recommended of doubling of public funding to 6% of the GDP and increasing overall public expenditure on education to 20% from the current 10%. This is desirable but does not appear to be feasible in the near future given that most of the additional funding has to come from the States. There should be involvement of private sector in implementing the schemes.
  • Expanding coverage under the RTE Act to include pre-school children is extremely important, but should perhaps be introduced gradually, keeping in mind the quality of infrastructure and teacher vacancies.
  • Language issues have to be handled sensitively in view of their emotional overtones, as witnessed recently. Further imposing a particular language should not be followed instead the mother language and regional ones should be promoted.

Learning Aid

Practice Question:

How does the new National Education Policy draft would address the inefficiencies prevalent in our education system and what else needs to be done?

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