The Draft National Educational Policy 2019, has put forward a number of recommendations for strengthening the school education system in India.
2. It has recommended to expand the ambit of the Right to Education Act to include early childhood education and secondary education i.e. from the age 3 to 18 years. Currently, the RTE Act provides for free and compulsory education to all children from the age of 6 to 14 years.
3. The draft policy has recommended reconfiguration of curriculum and pedagogy in a “5+3+3+4” design, which recognises different stages of development of cognitive abilities in children. This corresponds to the age groups 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 (preparatory stage), 11-14 (middle stage), and 14-18 (secondary stage).
4. For pre-primary education, it has recommended a) increased investment in existing anganwadi centres, b) locating anganwadi centres in primary schools, c) encouraging primary schools to add pre-school, and d) building high-quality standalone pre-schools in areas where existing anganwadis and primary schools are substandard.
5. It has recommended continuance of the three-language formula and proposed flexibility in the choice of languages, as long as students can show proficiency in any three languages.
6. It has further mooted for a revision in the National Curriculum Framework 2005 by the end of 2020. It has advocated reduction in curriculum load and reorientation of curriculum to promote ethical reasoning, digital literacy, scientific temper, social responsibility etc.
7. The policy has advocated revamping the board exam structure. It has suggested that students should be allowed to sit for the examination twice in any given school year. Further, a modular approach should be adopted in which a student is able to sit for the Board exam in a range of subjects across eight semesters.
8. At present, the Department of School Education (DSE) in a state is in charge of operation, regulation and policy-making. However, the draft policy has recommended decentralisation, with each of these functions carried out by separate bodies- a) ‘Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog’ (Education Commission at national level, headed by the PM) for policy making, b) Operations to be carried out by DSE and c) State School Regulatory Authority should oversee regulation aspects.