New Delhi: The Union Government on Wednesday approved a historic amendment by announcing the National Education Policy 2020 which aims to “reform” the education system from rote learning to retaining the “core essentials”. Also Read - National Education Policy 2020: This is How Ed-Tech Firms in India Aim to Grab The Digital Space

Along with the introduction of the new education policy, the HRD Ministry, that looks into the country’s education system, will also be renamed as the Ministry of Education. Also Read - 'Saddened': Tamil Nadu CM Rejects Centre's 3-Language Policy Under NEP 2020, Won't Implement in State

Not only does the new structure plan to reduce board exams to “low stakes” and test “experiential learning and critical thinking” instead of rote learning, but it has also completely altered the existing 10+2 structure in schools by introducing the 5+3+3+4 pedagogical structure. Also Read - National Education Policy 2020 Will Convert Job Seekers Into Job Creators: PM Modi at Smart India Hackathon 2020

How is the pedagogical structure different from the existing one?

The new structure for the school education system does not change the number of years. However, in terms of the stages – playschool, kindergarten, primary, secondary and high secondary classes – there is a significant revision.

This is how the pedagogical structure works:

Children aged between 3-8 years will now have a Foundational Stage of 5 years – this includes playschool/Anganwadi and kindergarten years (3), as well as, Class 1 and 2 of primary education.

Students aged from 8-11 years have been classified under the Preparatory Stage (3 years) – this includes Class 3 to 5, and will be activity-based interactive learning for cognitive development of the child.

Students aged from 11-14 years have been classified under the Middle Stage (3 years) – this includes Class 6 to 8, and will be based on experiential learning in core subjects like science, mathematics, arts, social sciences, languages and humanities.

Students aged from 14-18 years have been classified under the Secondary Stage (4 years) – this includes Class 9 to 12, where they will be introduced to multidisciplinary study, critical thinking, flexibility, and choice of subjects.

Criticism

While the NEP 2020 has been hailed by most as a progressive shift in the government’s approach to school education, certain changes regarding the three-language formula has been criticised as the new policy states the regional mother tongue to be the medium of instruction till 5th grade.

The document also emphasises on mathematics and computational thinking, besides mainstreaming Sanskrit to increase “knowledge on ancient India and its contributions to modern India”.

According to reports, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had suggested many more key demands that were tightroped in the final document prepared by the Union Cabinet.