New Education Policy 2020 - Transforming the Indian Education System

Last Modified: 18 Jul 2024

The Union Cabinet has approved the New Education Policy (NEP) on Wednesday, 29th July 2020. Another major change introduced is renaming the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry as Education Ministry. The draft for the New Education Policy was made public in June 2019. The government had asked the stakeholders and the public to offer their suggestions until 31st July 2019. The draft faced some oppositions on four-year B.Ed. programme, three-language formula, board examination for class V to VIII, etc. The Ministry has introduced the final NEP with some changes. The National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and was modified in 1992. Here in the article, we will cover all the details of the New Education Policy 2020.

Check out the Major Highlights for New Education Policy 2020

Key Principles of New Education Policy

  • Respect for Diversity & Local Context in all curriculum, pedagogy, and policy.
  • Emphasize on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning.
  • Equity and inclusion.
  • Recognizing unique capabilities in each student.
  • Encouraging critical thinking and creativity.
  • Encouraging philanthropic, private, and community participation.
  • Use of Technology and removing language barriers in educational planning and management.
  • Timely Review based on experts’ assessment.

Universal Access to Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE)

The implementation of ECCE will be done jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Health and Family Welfare (HFW), Tribal Affairs, and Wommen and Child Development (WCD). ECCE will include:

Universal Access

Access to free, safe, and high-quality ECCE at Balvatika/ Anganwadis/ Pre-School for all children of 3 to 6 years of age.

Foundational Learning Curriculum

Foundation learning curriculum for age group 3 to 6 in ECCE and age group 6 to 8 in class I and II in primary school.


Activity-based, play-based, multi-level, and flexible learning system.

Preparatory Class

Before class 1 (prior to the age of 5), every child will be moved to ‘Preparatory Class’ or ‘Balvatika’.

Expected Outcomes of the New Education Policy

  • Ensure equity and inclusion
  • Universalisation of Access from ECCE to Secondary
  • Attain SDG goals of retaining all children in schools until completion of secondary education
  • Bring back 2 crores out-of-school children
  • Focus on 21st-century skills in learning, teaching, and assessment
  • Effective Governance
  • Resource sharing
  • Overcoming the language barrier in learning
  • Common standards for private and public school education

New Academic Structure

The existing academic structure (10+2) is to be replaced by the new structure (5+3+3+4). The detailed structure is as follows:

Foundation Stage (5 years)

3 years in Anganwadi/ Balvatika/ Pre-School from age group 3 to 6 years. 2 years in class 1st and 2nd from age group 6 to 8 years. The foundation stage comprises of multilevel, play/ activity-based learning.

Preparatory Stage (3 years)

The preparatory stage comprises of 3 years from classes 3 to 5 (age group - 8 to 11 years). Discovery, play, and activity-based interactive classroom learning.

Middle Stage (3 years)

The middle level will be from classes 6th to 8th (age group - 11 to 14 years). It will comprise of experimental learning in the mathematics, sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

Secondary Stage (4 years)

The secondary stage will comprise of classes 9th to 12th (age group - 14 to 18 years). It will include multidisciplinary study, flexibility, greater critical thinking, and student choice of subjects.

Reduction in Curriculum

Reduction in the curriculum was long-term due. The changes are:

  • The curriculum in all subjects to be reduced to core essentials.
  • Interactive classes with reduced dependency on textbook learning. Students will be encouraged to ask questions.
  • The focus will be on critical thinking, discovery, inquiry, discussion, and analysis-based teaching and learning methods of holistic education.
  • Experimental learning will be encouraged through creative, fun, collaborative, and exploratory activities in the classroom for deeper student learning.

Curriculum and pedagogy to be transformed by 2022.

Mental and Physical Well-Being

It will be mandatory for students to acquire skills in sports, physical education, health and nutrition, wellness, and fitness. Following things will be included in the NEP 2020:

  • Annual health check-ups for all students.
  • State governments to hire an adequate number of counsellors and teachers.
  • Suitable infrastructure development and differentiated interventions at schools for children with disability.
  • Reduction in weights of school bags and textbooks.
  • Mandatory skills to be acquired by all students - nutrition, health, fitness, physical education, sports, wellness. The curriculum will include basic training in mental health, preventive health care, first aid, personal and public hygiene.
  • Developing a caring and inclusive culture at schools.

Improving Teacher Education

  • Educationally-sound, integrated, and multi-disciplinary teacher education programmes.
  • NTA testing for B.Ed. admissions.
  • Merit-based scholarships for 4-year B.Ed. integrated course.
  • New National Curriculum Framework for Teacher education by 2021.
  • Stringent actions against substandard Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
  • Teacher Eligibility Tests (TETs) at all stages.
  • National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) to function as a single point regulator for teaching education.

Setting up of PARAKH

NEP 2020 focus on setting up of National Center for Performance Assessment, Reviewed and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic development (PARAKH). It includes shifting towards competency-based assessments and promoting critical and creative thinking aligned to the 21st century in classrooms. Here are the objectives of PARAKH:

  • Conducting the National Achievement Survey (NAS)
  • Guiding the State Achievement Survey (SAS)
  • Setting Norms, Standards, and Guidelines for evaluation and assessment.
  • Monitoring learning outcomes

Online and Digital Education

  • Emphasis on effective models of blended learning
  • Digital platforms and ongoing ICT-based educational initiatives to be expanded and optimised
  • Expansion of existing e-learning platforms viz. SWAYAM, DIKSHA, etc.
  • Educational access to disadvantaged groups of students.
  • Technology integration in teaching, learning, and assessment

The New Education Policy (NEP) will pave the way for transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhariyal ‘Nishank’ has said that the NEP was drawn up after the largest consultation and discussion process of its kind in the country. He added that 2.25 lakh suggestions were received after the draft was placed in the public domain. He further said that with the implementation of this policy, India will emerge as a great knowledge center and education destination in the world.