10 Key Differences Between India's New Education Policy and the Old Education Policy

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a significant departure from the old education policy of India, which was last revised in 1986. Here are some of the key differences between the two policies:

Holistic education: The new education policy places a strong emphasis on the holistic growth of a child by focusing on the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of students. Whereas, the old education system was mainly focused on just passing exams and getting a certificate, which at the time was good enough to increase the basic literacy rate in the population but falls short for the new generation of Indians.

Multidisciplinary approach: Every child must have gone through the headache of choosing between the science and commerce stream. The pigeonholing of the kid in the old education policy by subscribing to a particular branch has been eliminated in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. The new education policy promotes a multidisciplinary approach to education, allowing students to choose subjects across streams and encouraging cross-disciplinary learning.

Early childhood education: The NEP 2020 recognizes the importance of early childhood education and aims to provide universal access to quality early childhood care and education for all children up to the age of 8 years. The old policy did not give much attention to early childhood education.

Vocational education: The National Education Policy emphasizes the integration of vocational education into mainstream education, promoting skill development and entrepreneurship. The old education system was churning out a population with degrees but no skills. The new education policy has changed its emphasis from solely promoting literacy to developing the skills and capabilities of the workforce.

Use of technology: The huge quantum jump in communication technology in past decades has enabled remote learning in a big way. The NEP 2020 plans to harness this advancement in technology by including online learning and the creation of a digital infrastructure for education. The old policy did not consider the use of technology in education as there were none in 1986.

Experiential learning: The National Education Policy promotes experiential learning, encouraging hands-on training, and real-world applications of knowledge. The old policy relied mainly on rote learning and memorization.

Assessment: The National Education Policy proposes changes in the assessment system, including a shift towards continuous and comprehensive evaluation, and the introduction of a new National Assessment Centre to assess learning outcomes. The old policy focused primarily on final exams as a measure of student achievement.

Medium of instruction: India developed a huge language divide because of the stepmotherly treatment received by the regional languages in comparison to the English language. UNESCO has declared 197 Indian languages as ‘endangered ’, this shows the negligence with which the previous education system treated the Indian languages. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 plans to eliminate this mindset by emphasizing the use of the mother tongue or regional language as a medium of instruction, particularly in the early years of education.

Indian Education: Everyone who has gone through the Indian education system knows it has been designed from an outsider's perspective. Textbooks find little to no mention of Indian culture, history, and the Indian knowledge system. National Education Policy 2020 has recognized the need for making the whole system Bharatiya in its essence.

School Structure: The National education policy 2020 proposes a change in the school education structure. The old 10+2 system will be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 system where the first five years of education focus on the foundational stage, followed by three years of preparatory education and another three years of middle education. Finally, there are four years of secondary education, with an emphasis on vocational training and multidisciplinary education.

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