IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd February, 2023 Social Issues

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Context: The Union Education Ministry repeated its direction that children must be admitted to Class 1 at the age of “six-plus” instead of the earlier “five-plus”.


  • The Union Education Ministry released guidelines to the States and the Union Territories that children must be admitted to Class 1 at the age of “six-plus”.
  • The guidelines are in line with the government’s priority on improving foundational learning by bringing early childhood care and education under formal schooling and moving it from the aegis of the Women and Child Development Ministry to the Education Ministry under the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.
  • The Education Ministry mentioned that the Department of School Education and Literacy of the Education Ministry has reiterated directions to all the State governments and U.T. administrations to “align their age to admission with the policy and provide admission to Grade-I at the age of 6+ years”.
  • The Minister highlighted that under the NEP, the foundational stage consists of 5 years of learning for all children (between 3 and 8 years) which includes 3 years of preschool education and 2 years of early primary: Class 1 and 2.

Highlights of New Education Policy 2020

  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was released in July 2020.
  • NEP 2020 will replace the National Policy on Education, 1986.
  • It aims at ensuring Universal Access at All Levels of schooling from pre-primary school to Grade 12.
  • It Ensures quality early childhood care and education for all children between 3-6 years.
  • It introduced a New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure (5+3+3+4).
    • 5 years of foundational stage (for ages 3 to 8).
    • 3 years of preparatory stage (for ages 8 to 11 or classes 3 to 5).
    • 3 years of middle stage (for ages 11 to 14 or classes 6 to 8).
    • 4 years of secondary stage (for ages 14 to 18 or classes 9 to 12).
  • No strict separations between arts and sciences, between curricular and extracurricular activities, and between vocational and academic streams.
  • To establish a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Promoting multilingualism and Indian languages.
  • Reform in Assessment of Board Exams. Setting up a new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
  • Special priority is given to socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups.
  • A separate Gender Inclusion fund and Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups;
  • A transparent process for recruitment of teachers and merit-based performance assessment.
  • Ensuring availability of all resources through school complexes and clusters.
  • Setting up of the State School Standards Authority.
  • Promoting Vocational education in school and higher education systems.
  • Increasing Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50%.
  • Multidisciplinary Education with multiple entry/exit options.
  • Establishment of Academic Bank of Credit
  • Setting up of Multidisciplinary Education and Research Universities.
  • Setting up of the National Research Foundation.
  • Expansion of open and distance learning to increase GER.
  • Teacher Education - 4-year integrated stage-specific, subject-specific Bachelor of Education
  • All higher education institutions (HEIs) will be restructured into 3 categories:
    • Research universities focus equally on research and teaching.
    • Teaching universities focus primarily on teaching.
    • Degree-granting colleges primarily focused on undergraduate teaching.
  • Multiple mechanisms with checks and balances will combat and stop the commercialization of higher education.
  • All education institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as ‘not-for-profit entities.
  • The Centre and the States will work together to increase public investment in the Education sector to reach 6% of GDP at the earliest.
  • Strengthening of the Central Advisory Board of Education to ensure coordination to bring overall focus on quality education.