Changing Education System Towards New Normal amid the Pandemic

By Shreoshi Nath and Utsav Chatterjee

Union Cabinet of India has cleared the New Education Policy 2020 on 28th July 2020, paving way for changes in School as well as higher education, which is going to transform the existing system to meet the needs of 21st Century India. 

Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, when the shift of human communication is completely aiming Online Mode of Communication, Teaching Learning Process is no different in this era as well. The NPE 2020 has announced measures which are going to bring revolutionary changes in Indian Educational System.

We have spoken to known educationists of the country to understand, the education policy which was implemented in India after 25 years, the last one was introduced in 1986.

The main aim of the change introduced in the field of education system is to replace the old structure of 10+2 system based complete student evaluation to a ‘5+3+3+4 based holistic approach’ for the overall development and enrichment of every student mindset from very basic pre-primary to the higher secondary level of education. Here, students studying in Anganwadi or in Play Schools (Age group between 3-6 years) will also be enrolled according to a pre-set curriculum based educational cum play environment for mental growth. 

Welcoming the new education policy, Noted Educationist Mrs Malini Bhagat said, “The student access to numerology using a coding-mathematical approach teaching will be taken into effect in schools. Students will be also given access to vocational courses and even will be enrolled into Internship Programs wherein – every student can get hands-on practical experience about the outside world. Students will be also given choice of keeping subjects of interest like: Painting, Music, Dance, Subjects related to Arts or any other discipline regardless of their entry capacity in higher secondary education also is a welcoming move.”

She also added that the, “decision will be a relief and also a key to explore to their personal choices in a much wide way. Students are going to get huge possibilities in the coming days of getting educated – the only concern remains to the system of the institutes as to how far they can get their resources up to the mark according to the need of the promising hour.”

Shri Rupesh Mathur, State Organiser of Vivekananda Kendra and Joint Secretary of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas in Arunachal Pradesh speaking to News Sense said, “From Class 9 to 12, examinations are going to held as semester wise structure, this will add on proper evaluation and strategy of marking the students in a proper qualitative, – the students will get a report card of their marks along with an extended analysis done by faculties, peers and most importantly by the student him/herself, thus replacing the old school concept of memorise and write, there by developing the inner qualities and potential of the students.

Shri Mathur, who has been working for more than two decades in the interiors of Arunachal Pradesh promoting quality education also added, “In Arunachal Pradesh, most of students in the interior areas don’t have access to Gadgets and Internet Connection, here the state government has done a wonderful work telecasting lessons through Doordarshan. ‘Doordarshan’s Arun Prabha channel has become a popular medium of education for students right from Class 1-12 in Arunachal Pradesh.

It is important to note here, that Vivekananda Kendra runs more than 40 Schools in Arunachal Pradesh, with CBSE as its affiliation boards.

Noted Socialogist and Academician associated with St Xaviers College, Burdwan Aratrika Bhattacharyya speaking to News Sense said, “Due to this pandemic situation, a sharp Digital Divide took place as a result of the setup formed for education of the students. The digital divide between the ‘have(s) and the have-not(s)’. Education system online mode have created a pathway of constant evaluation, e-learning and hence for those students who have the proper reach to resources definitely get the upper hand in comparison to those students belonging from hostile economic family background for whom in this Lockdown Internet and Gadgets for Online Education Platform is no less than luxury”.

She also added “The alternative method only at this time is only and only Online Medium of Education to stop spreading COVID transmission in students. Else, the entire machinery will have to put on a complete halt. A great change brings suffering to people – yet for the development of an era by facing constant challenges is what the last resort is left for all to opt out”.    

In the New Education Policy, significant changes have been made in the higher education. The System of Increasing UG Course Span by a year making enhances the scope for the new students out of school to gain more knowledge and to be acquainted enough with the sudden increase of study pressure all of a sudden before applying for Masters Courses as specialisation – which have been reduced by a year making it for 1 year. Even the M.Phil is not mandatory before applying for the PhD courses. 

Students in colleges will be judged on their score from each semester like a Credit Score System of education. Here, in every semester with examination results getting published, students will be getting different kind of certificates in every advanced year of their studies like – Course application Certificate (1st Year) to Diploma (2nd Year) to Degree of the student (Final Year). Here, any student with pre-requisite applicability can opt for temporary leaving the course he/she is enrolled with for any personal reason(s) – and if within a particular mentioned time frame allotted for leave – the student manages to continue studies getting back to mainstream, due to the credit system of evaluation – the student will not have to repeat from the very 1st Semester of the course. Thus, time and efforts of the student will be maintained and saved as well, will no doubt save time, money and energy of a student in India.” Added Mrs Bhagat.

The new focus on the introduction and implementation of technology in education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to set a new trend for future education as the policy recommends expansion of digital offerings for both at school and university level.