It is a welcome development that the Assam State Cabinet has approved restructuring the long over-due new school education on the lines of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 announced by the Modi government last year. The decision to this effect was taken during the State Cabinet Meeting held on November 24 at Bongaigaon under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma. Notably, based on the National Education Policy, the new academic year in the State will be launched from 1st April, 2023.
That there was an imperative need for sweeping transformation in the existing school education goes without saying because the earlier education system in the country at the level of school-college in particular, which was about 34 years old, was unable to adapt to the changing society and economic system. But as the Chief Minister Dr Sarma said, the NEP has been prepared in keeping pace with the times by subsuming scientific thinking of the 21st century. This policy is also synchronized with the basic tenets of India’s civilization based on the foundation of knowledge and wisdom. The Assam Government will implement the NEP in the State from 2023. It will implement 75 per cent of the NEP and will achieve 100 per cent by 2023. The process of preparing new text books will continue throughout 2022.
The Assam Cabinet has decided to restructure the State Education Policy, making the state education a 15-year affair. So, the would-be-changed policy will constitute four categories – foundation, preparatory, elementary and senior secondary—absolutely in conformity with the NEP. That means the foundation category will have 5 years (pre-School) till class 2 while the next three years will be preparatory. The next stage – elementary category – will comprises classes 6, 7 and 8 and the classes between 9 and 12 will be senior secondary. These classes 6, 7 and 8 and Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 will be under Directorate of Education. This changed pattern of school education system will come into effect from 2023, as stated by the Chief Minister Dr Sarma. Therefore, under the 5+3+3+4 structure will be the new education policy replacing the old system of 10+2. After 15 years of receiving education, one will have to appear in the higher secondary examination. But under the new system, there will reportedly be no importance on matric. If it really gets less importance, the students of class 10 in the government-run schools, especially those belonging to the lowest strata of the society may not be serious enough in studies. Therefore, it will be worth the State Authority’s to consider this aspect of the problem while finalizing a roadmap for implementation of the NEP.
The NEP 2020 puts forward many policy changes when it comes to teachers and teacher education. To become a teacher, a 4-year Bachelor of Education will be the minimum requirement needed by 2030. The teacher recruitment process will also be strengthened and made transparent. The National Council for Teacher Education will frame a National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education by 2021 and National Professional Standards for Teachers by 2022. The policy aims to ensure that all students at all levels of school education are taught by passionate, motivated, highly qualified, professionally trained, and well equipped teachers.
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