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75th Independence Day: NEP 2020 and other major education policies post-Independence

Check out all the major changes introduced in the education policies of India in the post-independence era.

India TV Education Desk Edited by: India TV Education Desk
New Delhi Updated on: August 17, 2021 17:12 IST
NEP 2020

List of education policies post-Independence 

75th Independence day: After Independence, India formed its own Constitution and government to run the country peacefully and to move towards steady growth. Education was a vital contributor to the growth of the country and hence, it has always been a primary focus for the Union and state governments since the beginning of the post-independence era in India. Maintaining an appropriate standard of education for the continuous growth of an individual and the country was a big challenge.

To attain steady growth in education, the government set up a planning commission in 1950, to prepare a blueprint for the development of education in India. Various plans were drawn after that, the main goals of these plans were --

  • To achieve universal elementary education
  • To eradicate illiteracy
  • To establish vocational and skill training programs

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  • To upgrade standards and modernize all stages of education, with special emphasis on technical education, science, and environmental education, on morality, and the relationship between school and work
  • To provide facilities for high-quality education in every district of the country.

The education policies of India saw various reforms in the post-independence era based on the need of the hour; have a look at the changing scenario of education policies in India post-independence.

National Policy of Education -- 1968

Congress MP Siddheshwar Prasad moved a resolution in Lok Sabha in 1964, which criticised the government’s lack of attention and a definite philosophy towards education. The then government agreed that there should be a national and coordinated policy towards education. A 17 member Education Commission under UGC chairperson DS Kothari (Kothari Commission) was set up.

The first female Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced the first National Policy on Education in 1968, based on the recommendations of the Kothari Commission (1964–1966). The aim behind bringing this policy was – equal distribution of educational opportunities to achieve national integration, greater culture, and economic development.

The policy envisaged a common educational structure {10+2+3} which was accepted across the country. The policy focused that all the children below the age group of 14 are imparted with compulsory education as instructed by the Constitution of India.

Keeping in mind the importance of teaching regional languages, and Hindi, the then government emphasized teaching regional languages to children. The then government tried to adopt the ‘three-language formula’ for secondary education.

The formula said that the students are taught the instruction of the English language, the official language of the state where the school was based, and Hindi. But the decision to adopt Hindi as the national language proved to be controversial.

National Policy of Education--1986

The next national policy on Education was introduced under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi in 1986. This policy talked about bringing equal educational opportunities for Indian women, Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Scheduled Caste (SC) communities. To attain such a goal, the government introduced more scholarships, adult education, recruiting more teachers belonging to the SC category, incentives for poor families to send their children to school regularly, development of new institutions, and providing housing and services.

The government to better the conditions of primary schools all over the country launched "Operation Blackboard". It also expanded the Open University system with the Indira Gandhi National Open University, in 1985. After the National Policy of Education 1986, many modifications were brought to NPE as per the need of the hour. See below the details of various such modifications: 

NPE 1986: Modifications

In 1992, PV Narasimha Rao made modifications to the NPE and turned the focus on being placed on higher education. A proposal for 20 new universities was forwarded while the modernisation of curriculums and research allowance for MPhil and PhD students got a raise.

Adding further modifications in 2005, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh adopted the 'Common Minimum Programme" which coined the idea of conducting one common entrance examination on all India bases for admission to professional and technical programmes in the country.

This led to the emergence of three exam schemes—Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) or All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) at the National Level and the State Level Engineering Entrance Examinations (SLEEE) for State Level Institutions – with an option to appear for AIEEE.

New Education Policy 2020: Emergence

A committee of nine-member submitted the draft of the New Education Policy (NEP) in 2019, which was approved by the Union cabinet in July 2020. It recommended greater autonomy for higher education institutions and an increase in the national annual outlay for education to 6 per cent of GDP.

New Policy was introduced because the results of a survey conducted by NCERT, supported by the Union ministry of education was done that showed, students across 12 states scored significantly below the national average in mathematics ability. NAS identifies learning as a big challenge facing Indian education.

The 10+2 structure of school curricula will be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi or pre-schooling.

A regulatory body called -- National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) has been set up to use technology for better learning outcomes. Other important changes introduced in NEP 2020 are--

  • All higher education institutions, except legal and medical colleges, will be governed by a single regulator.
  • Common norms have been placed for private and public higher education institutions.
  • MPhil courses have been discontinued
  • Board exams will be based on knowledge application
  • Home language, mother tongue or regional languages are going to be used as a medium of instruction up to class 5
  • Common entrance exams will be conducted for admission to universities and higher education institutions
  • School curriculum will be reduced to core concepts; integration of vocational education from class 6.

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