Unpacking the National Education Policy 2020: A Shift from Marks to Holistic Development

For decades, people have questioned how relevant India’s education system is in the current times. Why is the focus on marks and moving on to the next grade instead of building future-ready skills in children? The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) aims to free the children from this rat-race of marks and lay emphasis on their holistic development.

It aims to bring creativity and innovativeness to learning to prepare children for life outside the classroom and focus on building important skills such as collaboration, creative thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning, which have been neglected till now. NEP notes,

“Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and, of course, enjoyable.”

Here’s a quick look at how the NEP plans to change the world of learning:

Creativity — the cornerstone of learning

According to the new NEP,

“Education Policy lays particular emphasis on the development of the creative potential of each individual.

It is based on the principle that education must develop not only cognitive capacities — both the ‘foundational capacities ’of literacy and numeracy and ‘higher-order’ cognitive capacities, such as critical thinking and problem-solving — but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions.”

Unfortunately, creativity has been misunderstood until now and has not been given its due value in schools. The new policy will do away with conventional teaching methods, and encourage teachers to stimulate children’s imagination.

One of the fundamental principles guiding the policy states the focus to be on “recognizing, identifying, and fostering the unique capabilities of each student, by sensitizing teachers as well as parents to promote each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic spheres.”

A multidisciplinary approach is in, rigidness is out

Students will now be much freer to choose the subjects they want to study and the rigid separation between arts, science or humanities will fade away.

This flexibility will give children the ability to choose their learning trajectories and programs, and thereby choose their own paths in life according to their unique talents and interests. They’ll be able to take up varied subjects such as Biology with Economics, Physics with Political Science, etc to explore what interests them.

This “unity and integrity of all knowledge” will also eliminate harmful hierarchies and silos between different areas of learning.

Focus on experiential learning

Nobody explains it better than Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Just as you cannot master cooking by watching cooking videos alone, similarly children cannot absorb new concepts just by reading about them. Trying new things first-hand help children develop a better understanding of concepts. It gives them the room to explore, to make mistakes, and reflect on those experiences. It encourages them to ask questions like “why did this happen?”, “how can I do it better?”, “what if I didn’t do X and did Y?” and gives them a fresh perspective on learning.

Focus on building future ready-skills

Another revolutionary step taken by the NEP is to expose children to vocational education, so they can build job-ready skills. It is planning to introduce vocational training for crafts such as carpentry, electric work, metalwork, gardening, pottery making, etc for more than 50% of students of classes 6 to 12 by 2025.

Currently, the success criterion in school is good marks and grades; there is no effort to help children discover their passion and provide exposure to real-world demands. Vocational training will introduce children to real-world jobs, help them build job-specific skills, and foster the right attitude to appreciate the job role.

Assessments to focus on higher-order skills

Children will no longer only be evaluated by the teachers but also by themselves and their peers. Assessment will shift to a formative style, which encourages higher-order thinking skills, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity instead of rote-learning.

Progress cards will reflect the unique progress of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains, instead of marks.

School exams will now be held only for 3 levels — Classes 3, 5, and 8. Board Exams will continue but will have fewer stakes in the overall assessment. They are also set to turn easier with a focus on holistic development and students will be given an opportunity to take them twice instead of once.

The Uable Way is the New Way of Learning

At Uable, creativity is the cornerstone of what we do. Multidisciplinary, experiential, role-play based & peer-learning approach is in our DNA. We believe each child has unique capabilities that can be nurtured through activity-driven learning, role-play, and discovery.

We truly believe that children need more learning playgrounds and fewer rigid classroomsOnce we free children from the antiquated ways of learning, they transform from mere consumers to creators and from mindless followers to leaders.

We couldn’t be happier to see that with the NEP 2020, the Uable way is the new way of learning.

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