Common entrance test, entry-exit option in graduation among NEP plans to be launched by May
The schemes, which are at different stages of approval, will become a part of the education system from the 2021-22 session.
The ministry's agenda includes introducing a common entrance exam for undergraduate colleges in non-technical courses and reforming the schooling system.
The Ministry of Education is all set to officially launch 10 schemes that were announced under the new National Education Policy (NEP) by May this year, ThePrint has learned.
The schemes are currently at different stages of approval within the government.
Highly-placed sources in the ministry told ThePrint that the policies it plans to launch include a common entrance test for admission in colleges, multiple entry-exit options during graduation, the establishment of an academic bank of credit by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), among others.
Once these schemes are launched officially, they will come into effect from the academic session 2021-22.
“We are working on launching some important schemes that were announced in the NEP 2020 by May this year. They are at various stages of approval within the government and will be ready for launch by the month of May. Once launched by the ministry, the policies will become a part of the education system from the academic session 2021-22,” a ministry official told ThePrint.
ThePrint reached the ministry spokesperson through email for a comment, but there was no response till the time of publishing the report.
Among the schemes that are going to be launched is the common entrance test for admission to colleges and universities.
The entrance tests, which are mentioned in the NEP, are meant to simplify the admission process to undergraduate colleges in non-technical courses.
ThePrint had reported details of the common entrance test. There will be different tests for different courses, which will be conducted by the National Testing Agency, the body that currently conducts NEET and JEE Mains.
The other scheme, which will be officially launched, is the Academic Credit Bank for which the UGC has already prepared draft regulations, which are in the process of getting approved by the government.
The draft lays out rules that will enable students to save and transfer academic credits that they have earned during a particular course. The regulations will help students design their own course, with a mix and match of different disciplines.
Another scheme is the multiple entries and exit option, giving students the freedom to be able to leave a course anytime during their three- or four-year graduation.
Under this scheme, if a student leaves college after one year, he or she will get a certificate. If a student leaves college after two years, he/she will get a diploma, if he/she leaves after three years, then a degree. It will be a degree with research if the student chooses to pursue four years of graduation.
This will be facilitated based on academic credits that a student accumulates during his/her course.
The NRF, a body purely dedicated to research, was announced in the 2019 Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In the 2021 Budget, the finance minister allocated Rs 50,000 crore to NRF over five years.
The NRF will assimilate the research grants being given by various ministries independent of each other. It will competitively fund research in all disciplines across the academic landscape — in subjects such as medicine, physics, agriculture, artificial intelligence, nanoscience, education, sociology, archaeology, art history, and literature.
The Ministry of Education has drawn up a 60-point agenda for the implementation of the new National Education Policy (NEP), which includes reforming the schooling system from the year 2022, ThePrint has learned.
The Union Cabinet had cleared the NEP in July this year and the document charts out key educational reforms that will be undertaken over the coming years.
Agencies like the National Testing Agency (NTA), the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) have been tasked with different duties to kick-start the ministry’s plan from 2022-23, according to officials familiar with the development.
ThePrint reached the education ministry for a comment via email but no response was received till the time of publishing this report.
The common entrance exam for universities
To begin with, the government plans to streamline the admission process to undergraduate colleges for non-technical courses.
The NTA, which conducts the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for engineering and the National Eligibility and Education Test (NEET) for medical courses, has been asked to work on the modalities of a single entrance exam for all universities.
As reported by ThePrint, the plan is likely to be rolled out next year and will be more streamlined by 2022.
According to sources in the ministry, it will not be mandatory for institutions to adopt the single entrance test for admission.
Currently, different universities have their own admission process. Some like the Delhi University admit students based on the marks obtained in the Class 12 board exams while others hold entrance tests.
The single entrance test is expected to reduce the burden of high cut-offs, especially in DU. This year, Lady Shri Ram College had pegged the cut-off of three courses at a record 100 percent in the general category.
Changes to the schooling system
Additionally, the CBSE and NIOS have been tasked with changing the assessment system in schools.
CBSE is preparing the format for two types of exams — objective and subjective — which is likely to be rolled out by 2022-23, sources in the ministry told ThePrint.
Meanwhile, NCERT has been asked to work on a new curriculum, focusing on learning outcomes, from pre-primary to Class 12.
In lieu of the new policy that focuses on early childhood education, the council has been asked to prepare a three-month study module for students in Class 1 to make them school-ready.
Modules on numerical literacy, with a special focus on younger children, will also be prepared by the council and are expected to be rolled out soon.
The NEP aims to change the current school education system, which is a 10+2 system, where formal schooling starts at the age of 6 years, to 5+3+3+4 system.
This will include five years of foundational learning (three years of preschool or Anganwadi education and two years of classes 1 and 2); three years of preparatory learning (classes 3 to 5); three years of middle school (classes 6 to 8) and four years of secondary school (classes 9 to 12).