New Education Policy: MPhil courses to be discontinued; board exams will become easier

Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy during its meeting on Wednesday. The significant changes to the policy, which has been overhauled after 34 years, includes discontinuing Master of Philosophy (MPhil) courses, making board examinations for Class 10 and 12 students easier, establish a single regulator for higher education, flexible undergraduate courses with multiple exit options and appropriate certification, and intiatives to bring back 2 crore out-of-school children, among others. The new education policy also envisions increasing public investment in education sector to 6 per cent of the GDP.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday unveiled a new National Education Policy (NEP) for schools and higher education institutions in the country. The policy comes after almost three decades. The NEP aims create an education system that contributes directly to transforming the country, providing high-quality education to all, and making India a global knowledge superpower. The central government has made some significant changes in the new policy.

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1) Mother tongue to be a medium of instruction till fifth grade. Sanskrit to be offered at all school levels and higher education as option, including in three-language formula.

2) School curriculum to be reduced to core concepts. The vocational education will be integrated from class 6.

3) Students will be given increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts and crafts, and vocational skills.

4) Report cards will be a comprehensive report on skills and capabilities instead of just marks and statements. Board exams to be based on knowledge application, said Amit Khare, higher education secretary.

5) There will be a common entrance exams conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission to universities and higher education institutions.

6) “The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of 

vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. Under Graduate education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period,” he said.

7) MPhil courses to be discontinued under the new policy.

8) All higher education institutions, except legal and medical colleges, will be governed by single regulator.

9) There will be common regulations for both the private and public higher education institutions in the country.

“As on date, we have different norms for deemed universities, central universities, for different individual standalone institutions. New Education Policy says that for reasons of quality, norms will be same for all & not as per ownership”, said Amit Khare, higher education secretary.

10) Public investment in education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest

11) More online courses will be developed in regional languages. Virtual labs will be developed and a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) is being created under the new education

12)The new policy seeks to expand access to higher education for 50% of high school students by 2035. At least 3.5 crore new seats will be added to higher education institutions.

13) The Union Cabinet also approved changing the name of the ministry of human resource and development to education ministry.

14) “We will be setting up a Gender-Inclusion Fund to provide equitable & inclusive education for all.” said education minister Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. “The fund will be available to States to support and scale effective community-based interventions that address barriers to female & transgender children’s access to education,” he tweeted.

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