On July 29th 2020, the Union Cabinet approved the much awaited New Education Policy (NEP) which aims to transform the education system of the country, in sync with the needs of the 21st century. The Cabinet has also renamed the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) as the Ministry of Education.

The introduction of the New Education Policy which was drafted by the Kasturirangan committee is all set to bring in several core reforms and fine changes which are focused at improving the education system of the country which was last tweaked 28 years ago. The policy sets ambitious goals, including its aim to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) to 50% by creating an additional of 35 million seats in colleges and providing a major increment in the education budget of the country from the current 4% to 6%.

The policy very rightly encourages for primary education in local languages, facilitation of entry to foreign universities in India, creation of a single higher-education regulator, among many other reforms. The policy also aims to make the Indian education system more contemporary and skill-oriented which is the need of the hour in the ever-changing dynamic modern world of the 21st century.

The NEP also aims to make all the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) multidisciplinary in nature by 2040, and also emphasizes on creation of Special Education Zones (SEZ) in backward districts.

There are several other initiatives that the policy takes on to overhaul and remould the country’s education system which pertain to all levels of education from the pre-school level to higher education as well as research.


The policy has emphasized on various reformative measures and changes in the school level. A major one being, that the mother tongue, local language or regional language should be used as medium of instruction in schools at least up till 5th Grade, but its use is encouraged even beyond. Emphasis has also been given to teaching of the ancient Indian language Sanskrit at all levels of school and higher education.

The policy makes it clear that mother tongue should be the preferable medium of instruction wherever possible. However there is not going to be an imposition of any language. It will be for the states to decide,” said a senior HRD Ministry official as reported by the Hindustan Times. Another fundamental change the policy is set to bring about it the replacement of the 10+2 structure of school with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure designated to the age groups 3-8, 8-11,11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.

The NEP also consists of conduct of examinations for students from grade 3rd on wards. All students will be required to take examinations in grades 3,5 and 8 which is to be conducted by an appropriate authority. The policy also focuses on recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, sensitizing the teachers and parents to promote each student’s holistic development. For this purpose, the board examinations for grades 10th and 12th (which are to be continued) will be redesigned with holistic development as the aim. The syllabus content will be modified accordingly so that it provides more focus on key concepts, ideation, problem solving, all emphasizing more on the testing and sharpening of a student’s thinking capabilities, rather than just their cognitive abilities, which was the case up till now. Subsequently, teaching and learning in schools will also be done through a more interactive approach.  

In an age of considerable amount of societal pressure and anxiety upon the students, the NEP can come as a saving grace as it has suggested the implementation of certain measures to make examinations stress-free. The policy elucidates that school boards can provide the choice to students between the tough and easy version of a subject’s examination.

Further, another proposed reform of the NEP which is all set to change the Indian education system is the proposed multi-stream system by which students will have the flexibility to choose subjects across different streams and hence study only subjects which they possess aptitude for, rather than being limited to three streams and their constituent subjects, which was one of the main problems in the school education system up till now.

Another very essential and innovative change that will be wrought by the NEP is the policy of “Bag-Less Days”, during which school students (grades 6-8) will get the chance to engage in an “Informal Internship” with local vocational experts like carpenters, gardners, potters, etc practicing a vocation of their choice. This is an imperative step which will expose students to practical situations rather than just theoretical to which majority of the school education was previously limited to. This will equip the youth with life skills since a very early age that will contribute to their all round development. Further, to ensure holistic education, every state and district will also be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans”, which will serve as daytime-boarding schools for students to participate in art, career and play related activities.

The Government’s commitment to inclusive policies is also highly appreciated as under the NEP, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) will also be developing high quality modules for Indian Sign Language so as to ensure that people who are differently-abled get equal opportunities to shine in the academic sphere! Differently-abled children will also be enabled to participate fully in the regular schooling system with the support of experienced educators, resource centers, devices, required technologies, etc.


In a bid to improve the Gross Enrollment Ratio, the NEP has aimed to add around 35 million seats to higher education institutions by 2040. The policy has also set in motion its objective of going GLOBAL, by incentivizing and encouraging popular Indian institutes to establish its campuses abroad and vice-versa. This is to be done through a different legislation in the near future, and will be tremendously beneficial as Indian students will possess the opportunity to get degrees from foreign universities while residing in India and not having to travel abroad which many can’t afford due to the high costs of living in foreign countries.

Another core reform that the policy aims to bring about is the breaking down of the subject and course barriers existing in our education system, by making all institutions including the renowned IITs, multi-disciplinary institutes which will provide greater pliability and fluidity to students who will be offered with a greater amount of subject options. The Four Year Graduation programmes make a comeback, but will have greater flexibility due to provision of multiple exit options and appropriate certification. Students will get the option to either complete their graduation in 3 years with a Bachelor’s Degree or complete it in 4 years which would provide them the option of Research along with the Bachelor’s Degree.

The NEP also aims at setting up Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERU) which will be at par with the well-known IITs. A single regulatory body- Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will cover the entire higher education sector except the medical and legal education sector. Apart from the NEP’s emphasis over multi-disciplinary education, another very riveting game changing proposal of the policy includes the proposed high-quality common aptitude test, as well as specialized common subject exams in different fields, which will be conducted twice a year by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for university admissions. If implemented, this will be very beneficial for the students, since they’ll be spared from the burden of giving multiple entrance exams for different universities rather only give one exam, like how students do in the United States and other nations.

The NEP 2020 advocates major reforms in higher education- holistic and multidisciplinary education, flexibility of subject choices and programme durations, etc. The concept of Multidisciplinary Education and Research University (MERU) will find resonance in our young campus. I am particularly appreciative of the forward looking common norm for public and private HEI’s,” said Rupamanjari Ghosh, Vice- Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida as reported by the Hindustan Times.

Provisions will also be made to encourage the merit of students coming from the socially disadvantaged SC, ST and OBC and categories among others. Private institutes will also be incentivized to provide greater amount of scholarships to students belonging to disadvantaged social backgrounds. Further, the NEP will also take care of the interests of those who come from economically weaker backgrounds by its proposal to impose caps on the fee charged by private institutions, which presently is very high due to which thousands of students are deprived of the opportunity to study in them.

The main motive behind the New Education Policy is to overhaul the education system to make India a knowledge super-power of the 21st century. It has largely received a positive reaction from all corners of the educational and political spectrum. If implemented properly strictly adhering to the timelines, the National Education Policy will surely lay a strong foundation for building a new India!

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