The Union cabinet approved the New National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on 29 July 2020, and with this, the human resource development (HRD) ministry will officially be renamed the Ministry of Education. The idea behind changing the name is to give a clearer definition to the ministry’s work. The new NEP will replace the existing policy which was first formulated in 1986 and last modified in 1992. The new policy is based on a draft prepared by a committee led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K. Kasturirangan. Deliberations over the NEP, which has gone through two committees, have been going on for the last six years. The Kasturirangan panel is the second to have worked on the policy. The draft policy was released last year when Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ took charge as the HRD minister.
Key changes under the NEP
  1. MPhil courses will be discontinued under the new policy and all the courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary
  2. All higher education institutions, except legal and medical colleges, will be governed by a single regulator
  3. Board exams in schools will be low stakes and test actual knowledge of students instead of "rote learning"
  4. Home language, mother tongue or regional language will be the medium of instruction up to Class 5
  5. School curriculum will also be reduced to core concepts and there will be integration of vocational education from Class 6
  6. Report cards will be a comprehensive report on skills and capabilities instead of just marks and statements
  7. Common norms will be in place for private and public higher education institutions
  8. It will also cap fees charged by educational institutions
  9. Common entrance exams will be held for admission to universities and higher education institutions
  10. Other features include graded academic, administrative and financial autonomy of institutions
  11. E-courses will be developed in regional languages; virtual labs will be developed and a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) is being created
  12. There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under graded autonomy, academic, administrative and financial autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation
  13. National mission will focus on basic literacy and basic numeracy
  14. Major changes have been announced in the pedagogical structure of curriculum with no rigid separation between streams; all separations between vocational and academic and curricular and extra-curricular will also be removed
  15. National Assessment Centre- 'PARAKH' has been created to assess the students
  16. NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035. At least 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions.