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Among the various changes that have been proposed by the draft New Education Policy committee (NEP committee), school examinations may be removed by, as decided by the MHRD. The step has been taking in a bid to modernise the evaluation process in schools. As per the recommended evaluation process, the focus will be on class-based assessments, while also following the ‘5-3-3-4’ structure, as per an official from MHRD.
Will School Examinations be Done Away With Under the New Education Policy?
No, while it may seem that the school examinations may be done away with the new education structure, school examinations will still be a part of a school student's lifestyle. The New Education Policy brings about a change in the education structure and the curricula which will be followed in the future. Students will have the flexibility of choosing the subjects that they wish to pursue, board examinations may become easier with only the "core capacities" of the student being tested and similar changes across the board.
What does it mean for Board Exams under the New Education Policy?
With the approval of the New Education Policy, the school board examinations are expected to become easier on the students. With the major objective of testing the core competencies of the student, the burden of preparing for infamous year-end or school-end examinations is expected to be reduced. Moreover, further changes with regards to the models of board exams such as whether it should be conducted as an annual, semester or a modular-based exam, may also be implemented.
Along with this, Anita Karwal, the School Education Secretary stated that the NEP may also enforce a modular board exam system, where it will be conducted more than once in a year. Assessment of the students appearing for the board exam will also be done on the basis of a multi-dimensional report. The progress report will include the teacher's assessment of the students, self-assessment and peer-assessment as well.
Who Will Overlook the School & Board Examination under NEP 2020?
With the implementation of the NEP, a National Assessment Centre under the alias of PARAKH (Performance Assessment Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be established. The centre will be responsible for suggesting guidelines for the student assessments and evaluations, which will be implemented in all school boards including State Education Boards.
Various steps are being taken by the Government of India in finalizing the New Education Policy by October of 2020 so that the Policy can be implemented by 2021. As per an official, the Boards will be notified of the changes that have been proposed in the New Education Policy, wherein they will be allowed to provide their recommendations on the new structure of examinations. The Official added that after the recommendations have been received, the Ministry will take the necessary steps and possibly get rid of the current 10+2 format. He added that the Ministry expects to go ahead with the proposals by 2021.
What is ‘5-3-3-4’ design?
The 5-3-3-4 design, as recommended by the NEP Committee in 2019, comprises of the first five years of “foundation stage”, i.e. 3 years of the pre-primary school along with Class 1 and Class 2, followed by 3 years of ‘Preparatory Stage’, i.e. classes 3-5, then 3 years of the ‘Middle Stage’, i.e. classes 6-8, concluded by four final years of ‘Secondary Stage’, i.e. Classes 9-12.
The new evaluation methodology has been designed on the lines of an evaluation process of an international school. As per the model, the students are assessed based on their performance in different classes. As per the committee, the current evaluation method, i.e. board examinations, forced the students to focus on certain subjects, further restricting their scope of formative learning. This results in high-stress levels among the students.
As per the new proposals, the Draft NEP committee has suggested that State Census Examinations be conducted in classes 3, 5, and 8, which will facilitate in evaluating the progress of the students throughout their school education. Additionally, the committee has also proposed that revamping the board examinations in order to test only the core concepts, higher-order capacities and skills.
Further, the board examinations will be conducted for a variety of subjects, which will be chosen by the students, based on their interests. Students will also be allowed to choose the semester during which they wish to attempt the board examinations. The Committee has also recommended replacing the final school examinations with board examinations.
Under the Right to Education Act, the MHRD has also been planning to extend the age limit to attaining free education under the Right to Education Act (RTE) from 14 years to 18 years. An MHRD official stated that the Ministry has been working towards including early childhood as well as secondary school education within the boundaries of the RTE Act.
At the same time, the state government of Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal have reinstated the pass-fail systems in their schools.
While the Higher Education System is in the process of being modernised, the MHRD has also proposed the establishment of a National Higher Education Regulatory Authority (NHERA). As per the statements from MHRD officials, the establishment of the independent regulatory authority will help in the reduction of numerous regulatory authorities and allowing the colleges and universities to undertake autonomous activities. NHERA will facilitate in limiting the functions of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Bar Council of India (BCI).
Another proposal from the committee adds that the higher education institutions must be established through a Higher Education Institution Charter under NHERA, thus reducing the role of the parliament and the state legislature. The higher education institutions that have been set up recently must receive accreditation within the first five years of being set up, as per the NHERA regulations.