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Education System India Explained – New Edu Policy 2024

Feb 1, 2024 58.5K Reads

India is among the traditionally rich countries in terms of imparting knowledge and education with universities like Nalanda– the oldest university system of education in the world. The education system since then has evolved a lot in India. From Gurukuls, to modern schools, to online colleges, there have been some massive changes in the education system in India. 

In this blog, we will be discussing about education system in india this evolution, from history, to present and what lies in the future. We will also discuss the changes in the new National Education Policy (NEP) and how it plans to reform the current education system for a brighter future. 

Education in India- Facts & Statistics

Under the amendment made in 2020 in the India’s Right to Education Act (2020), free and compulsory education is to be ensured to each and every child in the age group of 3-18, which was earlier 6-14 before the amendment of 2020.

Following are some of the statistics (as of 2020) related to the education system in India 

    • 26% of the Indian population which is roughly around 1.39 billion is in the age group of 0-14 years that fall under the primary education sector. 
    • 18% of the Indian population which is approximately 500 million is in the age group of 15-24 years that fall under the secondary and higher education sector. 
    • The adult (15+ years) literacy rate in India is 69.3%, out of which adult male literacy is 78.8% and adult female literacy is 59.3%. 
    • Kerala is the Indian state with the highest rate of literacy.
  • University of Delhi is the most popular higher education institution in India followed by IIT Bombay. 
  • In the 2019 English Proficiency Index, India was ranked as 34th among 100 nations.   

Future Aims for Education System in India 

  • India has joined the United Nation’s E9 Initiative  in April 2021. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage digital learning, targeting the marginalised, especially girls.
  • In the Union Budget of 2021-22, the Govt. of India has allocated a budget of $7.56 billion for school education and $5.28 billion for higher education. 
  • It is estimated that by 2030 more than 20 Indian higher education universities will be among top 200 universities globally. It is also estimated that India will be among the world’s top 5 countries in the field of Research and Development (R & D) with an annual spend of $140 billion.

Brief History of Education System In India

Traditionally, education in the Indian subcontinent was mostly reserved for the upper-caste. However, the evolution of education has bridged this gap and now education is a right to all irrespective of the caste, social class or any other differentiating factors.   

The ‘Gurukula’ was the first education system in India dating back to 5000 BC. In this education system, a student (shishya) who wished to study would go to a teacher (Guru) and request for admission. If accepted, the student stays with the teacher in the teacher’s house. Apart from learning from the Guru, the student helps in all of the house chores as well which helps in developing an emotional bond between them.  

The Guru teaches important subjects like science and mathematics. However, they also put equal emphasis on subjects like Philosophy and Metaphysics. The mode of communication was Sanskrit. The education was practical and linked to nature and real life situations rather than just reading books and memorising information. The aim was for a holistic development of the students including their cognitive, mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. 

Another plus point of this education was that rather than focusing on memorising books, the focus was actually on developing human values of the students. Values like empathy, self-reliance, creativity, right behaviour, strong moral values, and ethical behaviours were encouraged so that the students could practically implement knowledge to find solutions to real-world problems. 

There were broadly six aims of education given at Gurukuls for the students and these are: 

  1. Understand Brahma (God) and acquire supreme knowledge 
  2. Character development 
  3. All-rounded holistic development 
  4. Social virtues like only speaking truth and refraining from deceit and falsehood
  5. Spiritual development 
  6. Cultural education 

The Gurukul system of education was replaced by the modern school system brought to India in 1830 by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay. This system introduced classroom learning where the link with nature as well as the close emotional bond between the teacher and student was broken. The primary focus of this system was on Science and Mathematics subjects like Philosophy, Ethics & Moral Values, Metaphysics, etc being deemed unnecessary. The medium of communication was also changed to English. 

This education system continued and evolved and is still prevalent in India. However, this 10+2 education system was recently replaced by the 5+3+3+4 system with various other modifications such as equal focus on practical and theoretical knowledge, multidisciplinary subject choices, use of technology and digital education.  

This blog from here on will be specifically about this evolved and new education system introduced by the new National Education Policy 2020

Key Highlights of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020

  • The school board examinations will encourage knowledge and application based learning. 
  • School curriculum will be focused more on core concepts and the pedagogy will introduce more practical learning. 
  • The 10+2 school system will be replaced by the 5+3+3+4 school system 
  • Introduction of vocational education from 6th grade. 
  • Except for the medical and law colleges, all the other higher education institutions will be governed by a single umbrella body and the same set of regulatory norms, academic standards, and accreditations will be set in place for both private and public higher education institutions. 
  • Higher education will be multidisciplinary with an aim of all universities to become multidisciplinary by 2040. 
  • There will be multiple exit options in the undergraduate degree which means that if a student exits the UG course after 1 year, they will get a certificate, if they exit after 2 years, they will get a diploma, and they will get the degree after completion of 3/4 years.  

What is the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 of India? 

Until July 2020, India was following the age old 10+2 schooling system according to which, you get a Secondary School Certificate (SSC) after completing 10th standard and the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) after completing 12th standard. 

This 10+2 system has been replaced with the 5+3+3+4 system in the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. These divisions have been made in accordance with the cognitive development stages of a child. Following is how these divisions are made according to the age criteria. 

  1. Foundation Stage (3-8 years)
  2. Preparatory Stage (8-11 years) 
  3. Middle Stage (11-14 years) 
  4. Secondary Stage (14-18 years) 

The government has also emphasised on bringing STEM education early on in schools as there is a huge gap in the supply and demand of skilled professionals in this field.  

Following are some of the important points included in the new policy for school education

  • All levels of school education will be singularly regulated 
  • There will be a new and revised curriculum for the early childhood care and education
  • The school curriculum and the pedagogy of teaching will be reformed towards being more progressive and focused on overall development of students. 
  • Apart from Hindi and English, the medium of instruction will be in regional/local languages up to class 5th or 8th to promote regional languages. 
  • The new assessment system will be more competency based rather than just theory based. 
  • There will be some changes in the recruitment process of teachers as it will become more transparent. The promotions will also be based on merit henceforth. 

New Changes In the Higher Education System In India

Following are some of the most important changes introduced in the higher education sector in India. 

  • NEP 2020 aims at increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) from 26.3% to 50% by 2035.
  • The policy has largely focused on introducing flexible, holistic, as well as multidisciplinary undergraduate courses with multiple exit options. 
  • There will be a single and comprehensive governing body called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) to coordinate all of higher education except for law and medical fields.   
  • Higher education will introduce all types of occupational education as a fundamental part to promote vocational education. 
  • Aim to promote public investment in the Indian education sector. 
  • Promoting open and distance learning which will in turn increase the GER. 
  • Emphasis on the promotion of digital and online education. 

Online Education System In India

The Government of India in the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has laid a lot of emphasis on online education as new circumstances require new and evolved initiatives. The recent pandemic and the rise in epidemics have made the necessity of online education very clear. 

The government has directed education institutions to leverage the benefits of technology but acknowledging the potential risks at the same as well. The government has asked the existing digital online platforms along with ICT-based educational initiatives to optimise and expand to meet the present and future challenges in offering quality education. 

The reason why even the government has been focusing on promoting online education is because of the many advantages that accompany. It is time that we move on from the age-old traditional education system brought by Macaulay. 

Online education sort of breaks stereotypes of the 6 hour long classroom education system. Online education focuses more on the practicality of the learnings received by the students. The emphasis is on acquiring skills rather than just memorising what is written in the books. 

Advantages of Online Learning

Following are the advantages of the online education system in India and how it is important and prevalent according to the current times 

  • Flexibility

Online education allows you to complete your entire higher education course (UG & PG) in the online mode which means you can complete the entire course from your home. 

Online colleges offer various flexible options like all the live lectures are recorded so that students can attend either the live lectures or watch the recordings later if by any chance they miss it. This type of flexibility is possible only in the online mode. 

Another flexible option that you get in online education is that you can take more time to complete your degree course. For instance if you are pursuing a 3 year online bachelor’s degree, many online colleges allow you to complete it in 4-5 years. So, the duration of the course in the online mode increases. 

  • Affordability 

The online courses are much more affordable as compared to the offline regular courses. This is because offline courses charge you many other fees apart from the tuition fee, including the infrastructure related facilities they offer. However, in an online course you do not have to pay such charges. You only have to pay the tuition, exam fee, and a one-time registration fee. 

Apart from the college fee, you save on other expenses also as you do not have to travel to the college everyday or move to a different city and stay at the hostel or some other accommodation, and hence you save on the living expenses as well. 

  • Diverse Options 

Online education not just offers the conventional courses, but also industry relevant courses, in-demand skill based courses, and job-oriented courses. 

For instance, cyber security is a branch of computer science that has great demand and amazing job opportunities. However, in India there is a huge scarcity of cyber security experts. This is because there are no dedicated courses for cyber security. There are courses only for Computer Science, Computer Applications, and Information Technology, which are broad subjects. 

However, in the online mode, there are various certificate, diploma, UG, and PG courses that are dedicated to such in-demand subjects. There are online courses exclusively for subjects like cyber security, data science, business analytics, artificial intelligence & machine learning, and many more. 

  • LMS 

LMS stands for Learning Management System. It is a software or an application that works as a virtual classroom and makes online learning possible in a much more efficient way. Now, the advantage of LMS is that it elevates your ease of learning. How? 

For instance, in offline classes, if you miss college one day, then you will not be able to access the lectures of that day in future. However, in online classes, the live lectures are recorded and saved in the LMS. The LMS allows you to view those recorded lectures at any time and as many times as the student pleases. 

  • Time Management 

Time is the greatest wealth anyone can have. In an online course, you save a lot of time as you do not have to go to college. You are at great advantage if you use this time judiciously. 

By using the time judiciously means that you can utilise the time that you saved in upskilling yourselves. You can take up another skill-based short-term course which is related to the online course that you are already pursuing. 

Another very good option is that you can start working, either an internship or a job (preferably relevant to the course you are pursuing). This way you will not just gain monetary benefits but also work experience which will be a great asset to your CV. 

Open Learning and Distance Education System In India

The government has emphasised on the importance of open and distance education as it is estimated to play a crucial role in increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). 

The government has set measures to improve the open and distance learning infrastructure such as blended online courses, digital repositories, funding of researches, improving student services, maintaining the standards of imparting quality education, and more such measures.    

Best Online Colleges in India 

Given below are some of the top online colleges in India currently operating and offering diverse online courses. 

Best Online Colleges in india

Best Online Colleges in India 
Amity University Online  Lovely Professional University (LPU) Online 
Jain Online University  Online Manipal University
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Online)  Manav Rachna Centre for Distance and Online Education 
UPES ODL  Chandigarh University Online

Best Open and Distance Colleges In India 

Open and distance colleges have been around in India for quite some time. However, as technology is evolving, so is education. Hence, recently many open and distance colleges have come up with better and evolved open and distance courses using technology by creating a blend of online and distance education. 

Given below are some of the top and most reputed open and distance colleges in India

Best Open and Distance Colleges in India 

Best Open and Distance Colleges in India
NMIMS Global  Chandigarh University (Distance)
Hindustan Centre for Open and Digital Education (CODE) Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL) 
IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute  Sikkim Manipal University 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

NEP stands for the National Education Policy. This policy is drafted by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Govt. of India. The policy mentions and describes all the norms, rules, regulations, and guidelines regarding education in India at all levels.

Some major changes according to the new education policy, the 10+2 school education system will be replaced by the 5+3+3+4 system. The policy also has emphasised on the promotion of online as well as open and distance education.

In higher education there will be an exit policy which will allow students to exit from a degree course at any point of time with a certificate if exit is after 1 year, a diploma after 2 years, and degree after 3/4 years. Read the above blog to know other main features.

With the recent pandemic and epidemics, the necessity of online education has come forth. Even the government of India in its new National Education Policy (NEP) has emphasised a lot on the importance of online education and how it is going to change the future of education in India. The policy has laid down various measures regarding the use of technology in education.

The government has been working towards encouraging online education as well as distance education. According to the new NEP, open and distance education will play a vital role in increasing the GER in higher education, while the government will work in the area of online education which will help give access to education to even the marginalised.

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