National Education Policy 2020

The Indian government has formulated and finalized the National Education Policy 2020 which is replacing the National Policy on Education 1986. It will be implemented soon across India which over time aspires to change the whole landscape of Indian education sector from elementary level to higher education as well as vocational education. It aims to bring in qualitative changes in the whole education system making it competitive and at par with international standards! In the new policy there are many changes which will have a long term impact on the whole education system in India in due course. However, there are four important areas relating to higher education which need focus; accreditation of higher education institutions (HEI), funding of HEIs, the choice of language and the scope of online education in the overall education system.


In NEP 2020, there is provision for a very strong accreditation body with overreaching power with the risk of power over-lapse. However creation of an autonomous umbrella body may help in aligning the goals and policy formulation to avoid over lapses to some extent as the umbrella body would be overburdened and have far-reaching power and would result in disputes among the verticals as well as slowing down the whole system. In such cases, a very clear job specification of each vertical along with an independent dispute resolution mechanism and creation of a resolution body represented by all the four verticals and HEIs representatives may help to avoid conflicts and over lapses. However there is another aspect to the overreaching power being given to the accreditation body. It may result in a form of interference in the day to day functioning of the HEIs to some extent. Day-to-day inferences of such bodies will result in conflict and over lapse of role and authorities. Accreditation bodies should be limited to accreditation and should be evaluated the HEIs performances in its pro-forma where accreditation body would have discretion to decide the process and criteria of evaluation with purpose to improve the higher education landscape of India. The whole process must undergo proper scrutiny by all the stakeholders.


Funding has always been an important issue in the higher education. There has always been disproportionate allocation of funds to different HEIs. However, often the governments have been talking about the same yardsticks of performance evaluations. Funding on the basis of performance in theory may look very promising and seem to be aligning the goals and improve the quality of education in the country. But in fact the funding on the basis of the accreditation ranks and scores may be useful to the resourceful organizations but the organizations which struggling to provide even the minimum facilities to students and teachers as well as in rural areas would not be able to compete and survive against the resourceful HEIs. It is expected that it will negatively hurt the marginalized sections of society as the proposed funding basis increase the cost of higher education forcing them to not aspire for higher education. Most probably it may end up making the whole higher education is inaccessible to most of the people of the country. If it happens, this will do away all the gains that India has been able to achieve in decades. If things are made so unilateral and one tiered, it is itself a question on the whole reservation process and concept of affirmation discrimination. Before implementing NEP, all the institutions should be provided with the entire basic necessary infrastructure, facilities and staffing to level the game equal for all the HEIs. Also it must be ensured that the interests of the students belonging to marginalized sections are protected in all cases.


The NEP 2020 promotes the local languages in the teaching-learning process. This is a long due change which India needed to implement decades ago. The promotion of local languages shall in fact improve the whole teaching-learning process by making it more accommodative in terms of language as mother tongue is the best and most effective medium of learning process. However the governments must have to ensure that higher education is disseminated in the mother tongues as in the case of Hindi till now it has been just on paper since many decades. It is quite possible that the same happens with other languages too. However there are many who question the promotion of local languages in education in the context of globalization. Promotion of local languages can never be a hindrance. Rather it will increase the competitiveness of our labour as skill acquisition will be easier for those who cannot be fluent in foreign languages like English. There are many empirical evidences that find mother tongue to be more effective teaching-learning process..

Online Education

Online education has always been presented as a revolutionary change in the education landscape. It does have some edge and benefits for the others but the coronavirus pandemic period has exposed its limitations. It can be useful to augment the existing knowledge but for the new learners; online education is in fact a limiting factor rather than empowering. In the last one and half years, the whole concept of online education and learning is now being questioned. So it would be better that the government through NEP 2020 must not focus on online courses to replace the classroom teaching-learning process. Rather online education mediums should be used to augment the whole education system. It must be understood that there is no local empirical evidence that supports that online education (MOOCs) can be helpful in improving the overall education system. Also a country like India is still facing the problem of internet connectivity; however connectivity cannot be a reason for stopping the transformation to a better system.

There are high possibilities that there might be many other issues that need to be addressed before the NEP 2020 is implemented across the country. Also it must be understood that any state has a responsibility to ensure that the basic rights like education are easily and at minimal cost accessible to every citizen. The NEP 2020 has the noble goal of making education inclusive and more useful for the industry by skilling the youth as per demands of the industry but it must have to be ensured that in this process, the unprivileged sections of society are not left in lurch for any reason.

Rajeev Upadhyay

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