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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

New Education Policy (NEP)- 2020

 30th July 2020

Highlights of National Education Policy 2020 (NEP, 2020)

School Education :

  • New Policy aims for universalization of educationfrom pre-school to secondary level with 100 % Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
  • NEP 2020 will bring 2 crore out of school children back into the main stream through open schooling system.
  • The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structurecorresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively. This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
  • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools ; Vocational Education to start  from Class 6 with Internships.
  • Teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/ regional language. No language will be imposed on any student.
  • Assessment reforms with 360 degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes
  • A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT.
  • By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree .

Higher Education

  • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50 % by 2035 ;  3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
  • 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.
  • UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  • Academic Bank of Credits to be established to facilitate  Transfer of Credits
  • Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to  be set up as models  of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.
  • The National Research Foundationwill be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  • Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have  four independent verticals  – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,  and National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.
  • Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.

Others

  • An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
  • NEP 2020 emphasizes setting up of Gender Inclusion Fund, Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
  • New Policy promotes Multilingualism in both schools and higher education. National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit , Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation to be set up.
  • The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDPat the earliest.

Important Highlights

School Education

Ensuring Universal Access at all levels of school education

NEP 2020 emphasizes on ensuring universal access to school education at all levels- pre school to secondaryInfrastructure support, innovative education centres to bring back dropouts into the mainstream, tracking of students and their learning levels, facilitating multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes, association of counselors or well-trained social workers with schools, open learning for classes3,5 and 8 through NIOS and State Open Schools, secondary education programs equivalent to Grades 10 and 12, vocational courses, adult literacy and life-enrichment programs are some of the proposed ways for achieving this. About 2 crore out of school children will be brought back into main stream under NEP 2020.

Early Childhood Care & Education with  new Curricular and Pedagogical Structure

With emphasis on Early Childhood Care and Education, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.  This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.

NCERT will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8 . ECCE will be delivered through a significantly expanded and strengthened system of institutions including Anganwadis and pre-schools that will have teachers and Anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum. The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.

Attaining Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

Recognizing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy as an urgent and necessary prerequisite to learning, NEP 2020 calls for setting up of a  National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by MHRD. States will prepare an implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools for all learners by grade 3 by 2025.A National Book Promotion Policy is to be formulated.

Reforms in school curricula and pedagogy

The school curricula and pedagogy will aim for holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st century skills, reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking and greater focus on experiential learning. Students will have increased flexibility and choice of subjects. There will be no rigid separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.

Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade, and will include internships.

A new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, NCFSE 2020-21, will be developed by the NCERT.

Multilingualism and the power of language

The policy has emphasized mother tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond. Sanskrit to be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students, including in the three-language formula. Other classical languages and literatures of India also to be available as options. No language will be imposed on any student. Students to participate in a fun project/activity on ‘The Languages of India’, sometime in Grades 6-8, such as, under the ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ initiative. Several foreign languages will also be offered at the secondary level. Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized across the country, and National and State curriculum materials developed, for use by students with hearing impairment.

Assessment Reforms

NEP 2020 envisages a shift from summative assessment to regular and formative assessment, which is more competency-based, promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity. All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority. Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the aim.  A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development),  will be set up as a standard-setting body.

Equitable and Inclusive Education

NEP 2020 aims to ensure that no child loses any opportunity to learn and excel because of the circumstances of birth or background. Special emphasis will be given on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups(SEDGs) which include gender, socio-cultural, and geographical identities and disabilities.  This includes setting up of   Gender Inclusion Fund and also Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups. Children with disabilities will be enabled to fully participate in the regular schooling process from the foundational stage to higher education, with support of educators with cross disability training, resource centres, accommodations, assistive devices, appropriate technology-based tools and other support mechanisms tailored to suit their needs. Every state/district will be encouraged to establish “Bal Bhavans” as a special daytime boarding school, to participate in art-related, career-related, and play-related activities. Free school infrastructure can be used as Samajik Chetna Kendras

Robust Teacher Recruitment and Career Path

Teachers will be recruited through robust, transparent processes. Promotions will be merit-based, with a mechanism for multi-source periodic performance appraisals and available progression paths to become educational administrators or teacher educators. A common National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022, in consultation with NCERT, SCERTs, teachers and expert organizations from across levels and regions.

School Governance

Schools can be organized into complexes or clusters which will be the basic unit of governance and ensure availability of all resources including infrastructure, academic libraries and a strong professional teacher community.

Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

NEP 2020 envisages clear, separate systems for policy making, regulation, operations and academic matters. States/UTs will set up independent State School Standards Authority (SSSA). Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the SSSA, will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through consultations with all stakeholders.

Higher Education

Increase GER to 50 % by 2035

NEP 2020 aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035. 3.5 Crore new seats will be added to Higher education institutions.

Holistic Multidisciplinary Education

The policy envisages broad based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate  education with flexible curriculacreative combinations of subjectsintegration of vocational education and  multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. For example,  Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years.

An Academic Bank of Credit is to be established for digitally storing academic credits earned from different  HEIs so that these can be transferred and counted towards final degree earned.

Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities (MERUs), at par with IITs, IIMs, to  be set up as models  of best multidisciplinary education of global standards in the country.

The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.

Regulation

Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body the for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. HECI to have  four independent verticals  – National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC ) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding,  and National Accreditation Council( NAC) for accreditation. HECI will  function through faceless intervention through technology, & will have powers to penalise HEIs not conforming to norms and standards. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of norms for regulation, accreditation and academic standards.

Rationalised Institutional Architecture

Higher education institutions will be transformed into large, well resourced, vibrant multidisciplinary institutions  providing  high quality teaching, research, and community engagement. The definition of university will allow a spectrum of institutions that range from Research-intensive Universities to Teaching-intensive Universities and Autonomous degree-granting Colleges. 

Affiliation of colleges is to be phased out in 15 years and a stage-wise mechanism is to be established for granting graded autonomy to colleges. Over a period of time, it is envisaged that every college would develop into either an Autonomous degree-granting College, or a constituent college of a university.

Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty

NEP makes recommendations for motivating, energizing, and building capacity of  faculty through  clearly defined, independent, transparent recruitment , freedom to design curricula/pedagogy, incentivising excellence, movement into institutional leadership. Faculty not delivering on basic norms will be held accountable

Teacher Education

A new and comprehensive National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, NCFTE 2021, will be formulated by the NCTE in consultation with NCERT. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree .Stringent action will be taken against substandard stand-alone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).

Mentoring Mission

A National Mission for Mentoring will be established, with a large pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty – including those with the ability to teach in Indian languages – who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.

Financial support for students

Efforts will be made to incentivize the merit of students belonging to SC, ST, OBC, and other SEDGs. The National Scholarship Portal will be expanded to support, foster, and track the progress of students receiving scholarships. Private HEIs will be encouraged to offer larger numbers of free ships and scholarships to their students.

Open and Distance Learning

This will be expanded to play a significant role in increasing GER. Measures such as online courses and digital repositories, funding for research, improved student services, credit-based recognition of MOOCs, etc., will be taken to ensure it is at par with the highest quality in-class programmes.

Online Education and Digital Education:

A comprehensive set of recommendations for promoting online education consequent to the recent rise in epidemics and pandemics in order to ensure preparedness with alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and in-person modes of education are not possible, has been covered. A dedicated unit for the purpose of orchestrating the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity building will be created in the MHRD to look after the e-education needs of both school and higher education.

Technology in education

An autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration. Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education will be done to improve classroom processes, support teacher professional development, enhance educational access for disadvantaged groups and streamline educational planning, administration and management.

Promotion of Indian languages

To ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages, NEP recommends setting an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI), National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit, strengthening of Sanskrit and all language departments in HEIs,  and use mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction in more HEI  programmes .

Internationalization of education will be facilitated through both institutional collaborations, and student and faculty mobility and allowing entry of top world ranked Universities to open campuses in our country.

Professional Education

All professional education will be an integral part of the higher education system. Stand-alone technical universities, health science universities, legal and agricultural universities etc will aim to become multi-disciplinary institutions.

Adult Education

Policy  aims to achieve 100% youth and adult literacy.

Financing Education

The Centre and the States will work together to increase the public investment in Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.

India’s Tiger Survey Report  2020

Why in news?

Recently, the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released an updated report on India’s Tiger Survey.

  • This is the first time that the survey has been updated accurately reserve-wise, completely based on camera traps.

Key Points: 

  • The country has 70% of the world’s tiger population and the latest results of 2018 had shown that India now has an estimated 2967 tigers.
  • India recorded a 33% increase in tiger numbers from 2014 to 2018
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase.

Steps taken by the government:

  • The Ministry worked on a programme to provide water and fodder to animals at the forest itself.
  • Lidar-based survey technology is being used for the first time to deal with the challenge of human-animal conflict that was causing the death of animals.
  • Lidar is a method of measuring distance by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority has authorised official training to deal with emergencies arising due to tigers straying into human-dominated landscapes, tiger depredation on livestock and to work towards active rehabilitation of tigers.
  • The major changes are made in the policy and management of tiger populations in order to fully implement provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 like
  • Tiger landscape conservation plans,
  • Designation and notification of inviolate critical core and buffer areas of tiger reserves,
  • Identification and declaration of new tiger reserves,
  • Recognition of tiger landscapes and the importance of the corridors and their physical delineation at the highest levels of governance, and
  • Integrating tiger conservation with developmental activities using the power of reliable information in a Geographic Information System database.

 About tiger census: 

  • Since 2006, the government of India has been conducting the census every four years led by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) with cooperation from various state forest departments and conservation NGOs.
  • The exercise aims at arriving at a nationwide assessment into the country’s population and habitat of tigers (Panthera tigris Tigris).
  • The data was collected using an Android-based application- M-STrIPES ( Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) which is developed by Wildlife Institute of India.

About Project Tiger Initiative:

  • Project Tiger initiative was launched in 1973.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • The aim of the project is to ensure that the population of Bengal tigers is well-maintained in their natural habitats, damages done to these habitats should be repaired so that the ecosystem is balanced and maintains a viable tiger population.
  • Under the project, the government has also set up a tiger protecting force that ensures there is no poaching of any kind or any human-tiger conflict. 

Other Initiatives:

Global Tiger Forum (GTF):

  • The Global Tiger Forum (GTF) is the only inter- governmental international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the Tiger.
  • The GTF is focused on saving the remaining 5 sub-species of Tigers distributed over 13 Tiger Range countries of the world
  • 13 Tiger Range countries-There are currently 13 tiger range countries; Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Viet Nam.

History:

  • The GTF was formed in 1993 on recommendations from an international symposium on Tiger Conservation at New Delhi, India.
  • The first meeting of the Tiger Range countries to setup the forum was held in 1994, in which India was elected to the Chair and was asked to form an interim secretariat.

Facts for prelims

Dare to Dream 2.0:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has launched an innovation contest ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ on the 5th death anniversary of former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Key Points

  • The ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ is an open challenge to promote the innovators and startupsof the country, for innovation in defence and aerospace technologies in the country after the call of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Award money,up to Rs.10 lakh for startup and Rs. 5 lakh to individual category, will be given to the winners.
  • APJ Abdul Kalam is known as the missile manas he was part of many successful projects for development of ballistic missiles and satellite launch vehicle technologies during his lifetime.
  • He was the 11thPresident of India (from 2002-2007)

 

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