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Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

The key reforms under  India’s  new education policy

The new NEP has put in place a slew of reforms to guide the sector. It underlines a sweeping exam reform across the school and higher education segments. If implemented well, it will reduce focus on marks and rote learning. Mint explores


The new National Education Policy (NEP) has put in place a slew of reforms to guide the sector. It underlines a sweeping exam reform across the school and higher education segments. If implemented well, it will reduce focus on marks and rote learning. Mint explores

What does the NEP say about shift in exams?

The culture of school examination system will shift from one that is summative and primarily tests rote memorization skills to one that assesses competency, critical thinking and conceptual clarity. It will help teachers and students revise teaching-learning processes continuously to optimize learning development for all. Students will take examinations in grades 3, 5, and 8, which will test achievement of basic learning outcomes and application of knowledge in real-life situations. The progress cards will include self-assessment, and peer and teacher assessments. The new structure may gradually adopt a semester system to reduce stress.

What about reforms in board examinations?

The board examinations at Class 10 and 12 levels will continue but they will become ‘low stake’ exams. They may be conducted more than once a year and students may get to choose the best of two attempts. Boards may further develop viable models such as annual or semester, or modular exams. It may have a question pattern that includes both objective and prescriptive type questions. “Board exams will be made easier, as they will test core competencies rather than months of coaching/memorization," the new policy says. The NCERT along with its state counterpart and a specialized national assessment centre, will notify the guidelines.

Current education ecosystem
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Current education ecosystem

What role will the National Testing Agency play?

The National Testing Agency (NTA) will facilitate single entrance exam in each stream. It will offer a “high-quality common aptitude test" like the SAT examination, as well as specialized common subject examinations at least twice every year for university entrance exams. However, it won’t be compulsory for all the states.

How will unpacking the UG course help?

The multiple entry and exit system will help mobility from classroom to workroom and back. Learning and assessment credits will be kept in an academic credit bank which will allow professionals to come back and pursue a degree from where they left, let’s say five years ago. So, one can pursue graduation in three tranches and in between gain experience and get back to upskill later. The new policy says the higher educational institutes shall also move away from high-stakes exams towards more comprehensive evaluation.

Will universities get to devise curriculums?

The new policy says institutions and faculty will have the autonomy to innovate on the matters of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment within a framework of higher education qualifications. All assessment systems shall also be decided by the institutions, including those that lead to final certification. This means that the role of regulator in the exam system and proctoring will reduce. The universities can set learning goals and assess students based on their performance through a rolling process.

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