“Education is the most powerful tool which one can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

After 34 Years, with the New National Education Policy, the Indian Education System finally changes its shape and structure!

The New National Education Policy (NEP) envisions a new structure for the Education Sector in the country, from School Education to Higher Education. The new National Education Policy 2020 was finally approved by the Cabinet. It will be presented at a cabinet meeting by Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, who has played a key role in policy development. While the actual system would not change, in terms of the years a child spends within the formal education system in the country at the school level, the new structure brings into the fold the already existing playschools within the ambit of ‘formal education’.

The medium of instruction till Grade 5 would be a mother tongue or local language, Class 6 onwards vocational courses available, and Class 8 onwards subject choices available. Below are the Key Highlights of the New National Education Policy for School Education and Higher Education:

National Education Policy
National Education Policy


The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 proposes to replace the existing 10 + 2 system with a 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 system in 2020.

1. Foundational Stage (5): From Play School to Class 2, for ages 3 to 8 years. The multi-level play activity-based learning would include 3 years at Anganwadi’s, pre-school, or as commonly called playschools and the kindergarten classes.


2. Preparatory Stage (3): From Class 3 to 5, this is for ages 8 to 11 years. In the Preparatory Stage, the focus would be on discovery, activity-based, and interactive classroom learning focusing mainly on the development of language and numeracy skills, in accordance with the cognitive development of a child. The medium of instruction till Grade 5 would be home language or mother tongue or local language. Three languages would be taught to all students – and states would decide which ones.



3. Middle Stage (3): From Class 6 to 8 for ages 11 to 14 years. The Middle Stage aims at transforming the pedagogy from the existing system to a more experiential learning in the various subjects, such as sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences and humanities. Focus would be on critical learning objectives and not on rote learning.


4. Secondary Stage (4): From Class 9 to 12 or the secondary and the higher secondary as we know them today for the ages 14 to 18 years. The changes suggested at the Secondary stage include a multidisciplinary study where students would be able to pick and choose any set of subjects from the available structure. The focus would be on greater critical thinking and flexibility, allowing the child to pick subjects as per their interests – even technical and arts. All subjects to be offered at two levels of proficiency.


There is one new and innovative addition also, which is named as “BAG-LESS DAYS”. The New Education Policy proposes for 10 days to be bag-less days in a year during which students are exposed to vocational studies, i.e., informal internship.


The New National Education Policy or NEP 2020 proposes that Sanskrit should be offered as a rich option for students at all levels of school and for higher education, including an option in three language formula. Beside this, now Coding will start from the sixth grade and will also include Music, Art and Sports on the same level. The subject studied by the students will be extended making it flexible to choose from variety of Subjects, especially in secondary school, which includes physical education, arts, crafts and vocational skills.


In addition, the Syllabus and Curriculum of each subject will be reduced to its core imperatives such as core concepts, ideas, applications, and problem solving to provide Emanuel for a more comprehensive study of critical thinking, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based and analysis-based learning.


The three-language learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of the students, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India.


Apart from this, there is also some changes in the Assessments process, such as:

1. Key stage assessments (at Grades 3, 5 and 8) would be conducted to track the development of the child.

2. As for the secondary stage, the board examinations would be reformed. Now Board Exams will be done to test only core competencies and will be offered twice a year.


In addition, attention should be paid to Indian knowledge systems, languages, culture and values. Furthermore, the technology will be widely and extensively used as per the New Education Policy, NEP 2020. The e-content will be developed not only in Hindi and English but also in local languages and Schools now need to be established digitally. National Educational Technology Forum, NTF will be formed.


The NEP 2020 majorly emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education or ECCE for ages 3 to 6 where provisions would be made to ensure universal access to high qualify ECCE across the country in a phased manner and with the adoption of 5+3+3+4 education system at School level and all the reforms suggested after 34 years in the School Education System, it will be surely said that now every child will come out of school adapting at least one Skill.



That’s all about the reforms that will take place in the School Education System. Now, it’s time to brief on the reforms in the Higher Education System suggested in the New National Education Policy, NEP 2020.


National Education Policy
National Education Policy


The new National Education Policy or NEP 2020 proposes significant changes in the structure of higher education in the country. The focus of the National Education Policy 2020 for Higher Education has far-reaching effects on higher education in the country and addresses the importance of research and a multi-disciplinary approach. A wide range of holistic and multi-disciplinary education with major and minor combo of subjects will also be there in Higher Education now from which Students can choose any set of subjects, take a sabbatical, and other options. It is also suggested in the NEP 2020 to conduct a common College Entrance Exam, by a National Testing Agency, twice a year.


Now, the regulatory system of Higher Education would be more specific to regulation, accreditation, finance and educational standards – put under the aegis of the Higher Education Commission (HECI). To form a National Higher Education Qualification Framework, there will be further four Verticals of HECI, namely,

1. National Higher Education Regulatory Council or HNERC,

2. National Accreditation Council (NAC),

3. Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) and

4. General Education Council (GEC)

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Students would have an option to exit at different stages and also re-enter the higher education system. The Bachelor’s degree from now will be of either 3 or 4-year duration, with multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certifications, e.g., a certificate after completing 1 year of the course, a diploma after 2 years of study, and a Bachelor’s degree for 3-year course and 4-year course. However, a 4-year undergraduate program with multidisciplinary education will be the preferred option, as it offers the opportunity to experience the full range of holistic and multi-disciplinary education with a focus on the chosen major and minors as per the choice of the student.’


When it comes to the Master’s degree programme, there will be an option of a 1-year master’s degree for those students who have completed 4 years of bachelors’ programme with research. In addition to this, the 5 years integrated bachelor’s and masters’ degree programme would continue. Apart from this, now onwards M.Phil will be discontinued, paving the new way for students with masters’ degrees to get a Ph.D. degree.


Overall, we can say that the National Education Policy 2020 provides a more feasible and effective learning pathway that allows students to pick and choose their educational journey rather than meeting certain criteria, standards and norms. With multiple entry and exit options and a 4-year degree option, students are now able to move on to more research-based teaching, ultimately and hopefully equivalent with the higher education structure of aboard.


The New Education Policy also focuses heavily on filling vacancies for teachers and also pays attention to an often neglected aspect – the pupil-teacher ratio. Teachers will be now trained, encouraged, and supported – with continuous professional development – to impart foundational literacy and numeracy according to the suggested New National Education Policy, NEP 2020.






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August 5, 2020

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