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Learning How to Learn- National Education Policy 2020

Education has been an integral part of Indian history since ancient times. Vedic, Rigveda, Nalanda and Takshila have been prominent pillars of the education system in India. For ages, the rich education system in India has always been a pioneer of inclusive and holistic education focusing on the development of mental, emotional, physical and social skills of the student.  Intrinsic to the core principle of a child’s overall development, the recent education initiative by the government of India- the National Education Policy 2020, (NEP) is a transitional development of India’s educational system welcomed enthusiastically by young learners, parents, educators and institutions. 

Older Policies vs National Education Policy 2020

Over the years, Indian education has undergone transformational and dynamic reformation which has resulted in significant advancement of learners, educators and institutions. Before the NEP 2020, the education system in India was centered on making “education accessible for all’ agenda. However, the NEP has been a wave of change as now it focuses on “learning how to learn”. 

The National Education Policy is a comprehensive integrated educational system that emphasizes developing creative skills, critical thinking and overall holistic development of students studying in primary classes till higher classes. 

The most distinctive feature of the NEP framework is that it is created to enhance a nation’s human capital by promoting an educational system, that integrates education with cultural and social impacts while ensuring that students get equipped with skill-based learning and achieve competency-based learning. 

Through this approach, the aim is to steer the education system of India towards driving sustainable enhancements across educational verticals that would result in cultivating a multi-knowledgeable and skilled India. 

Education and Child Development in India- NEP 2020 approach

There is no doubt that a child’s education plays a pivotal role in shaping their personality. What they read and learn becomes a source of inspiration and motivation. Through education, integral attributes are developed that make an individual as they are- 

Values and Ethics- Education instills moral values and ethical principles in children, teaching them to differentiate between right and wrong.

Social Skills- Through interactions with peers and teachers, education fosters the development of social skills such as communication, cooperation, and empathy, which are essential for healthy relationships.

Critical Thinking- Education encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills, empowering children to analyze situations, make informed decisions, and think creatively.

Self-confidence- Successes and failures in educational pursuits help build self-confidence and resilience in children, teaching them to persevere in the face of challenges.

Cultural Awareness-  Education exposes children to diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives, promoting cultural understanding and tolerance.

Personal Interests- Education provides opportunities for children to explore their interests and passions, helping them discover their strengths and talents.

Responsibility- Through assignments, projects, and classroom responsibilities, education teaches children accountability and the importance of fulfilling obligations.

Leadership Skills- Participation in extracurricular activities and group projects nurtures leadership qualities in children, preparing them for future roles as leaders and decision-makers.

Therefore keeping in mind that the development of behaviors and skills are all linked to education, it becomes even more important for us, as a community, to create an education system in India that promotes comprehensive and experiential learning. 

NEP Adoption for Young Learners

In this context, introducing and adopting the NEP 2020 becomes an important and necessary step for making young learners experience an education that liberates them rather than narrowing their vision. 

The NEP 2020 is as an integrated framework that highlights the importance of education in every aspect of our lives. Furthermore, education must be viewed through a multi-dimensional lens, i.e., how in today’s time learning must be interconnected with branches of knowledge and industries,  that shall help an individual to develop diversified skills and leverage a plethora of opportunities. 

How Smile Foundation view the NEP 2020? 

As one of the pioneers in working at the grassroots level of the country to make quality education accessible for children from marginalized sections, Smile Foundation views and believes that the National Education Policy is indeed a positive milestone in the educational history of India. 

As educators to young learners, our Mission Education program has aligned itself with NEP 2020, to ensure that our students across the nation leverage the best new interactive learning experience that NEP offers. 

The NEP has allowed students to showcase their competency by applying knowledge and has given them much-needed exposure to diverse and complex surroundings that help them develop their abilities in multiple domains making them ready for employability across sectors and industries.

As an evolving organization, Smile Foundation has realigned its programs such as Mission Education, STeP, and Project Manzil towards imparting “relevant education”, that empowers our students with sustainable learning that shall make them job-ready in the upcoming industries. 

We firmly believe that every child from low-income groups too deserves access to education along with opportunities to achieve equitable learning outcomes. To date, Smile Foundation has been able to positively impact over 1,20,000 children in 27 states. To enhance students overall well-being, we give them an inclusive education environment through- 

  • Focussing on FLN & Grade-specific learning outcomes
  • STEM Education 
  • Need-based teacher’s training
  • Parent & Community Engagement 

Inspired by the marvels of National Education Policy 2020, Smile Foundation is striving every day to push the boundaries and take quality education at every nook and corner of our country. We truly believe and encourage everyone to strongly support the core objective of making India’s education system a testament to the transition from an Education to an Employment system.


Jaadui Pitara: Foundational Stage Learning Opportunity in India

The Ministry of Education, Government of India,  launched the Learning – Teaching Material for Foundational Stage Jaadui Pitara for kids between the age group of 3-8 on February 20, 2023. With this, we can expect enhancement in learning-teaching of the early childhood grade children. The material will make learning more child-centric, lively, and joyful for the deemed ‘Amrit Generation’ of India.  

The play-based teaching learning material emphasises the development of children in five domains: physical, socio-emotional and ethical, cognitive, language, and literacy, and lastly aesthetic and cultural developments. 

While the learning material is already available in 13 Indian languages, the Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan urged the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to translate the materials in the Jaadui Pitara in all Indian languages. He endeavoured to expand its reach and make it available to all the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) as the benchmark for transforming early childhood care and education scenario in our country.

What is Jaadui Pitara?

The Jaadui Pitara or Magic Collection is an innovative child-centric play-based teaching and learning material developed under the curricular goals of the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage (NCF-FS) as recommended by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. It is an exemplar of content needed in any school for foundational stage learning.  There are expectations for Jaadui Pitara to bring NEP and NCF-FS to practice, in the hands of teachers and students. 

What does it Contain? 

The Jaadui  Pitara contains toys, games, puzzles, puppets, story/poem posters, flashcards, posters, story cards, playbooks, activity books, worksheets for children, and handbooks for teachers and trainers. These materials have been developed across the six developmental domains including the development of positive habits. Furthermore, the box is made up of recycled materials. In an attempt to promote local artistry and culture, most of the toys have been sourced from local artisans. 

Innovative Teaching and Learning Materials for the Foundational Stage

Jaadui Pitara is a giant leap towards enriching the learning-teaching environment making it more child-centric and joyful as envisioned in NEP 2020. It contains– 

  • Toys, Puzzles, and Puppets for children to play 
  • Stories and Poems for children to listen to and read 
  • Playbooks and Activity Sheets for children to use and explore 
  • Handbooks for teachers to do activities in the class
  • Guides for teachers to develop and use teaching and learning materials
  • Flashcards and sequence cards for teachers to make lessons more interesting and engaging in the classrooms

How to Access Jaadui Pitara?

The resources on Jaadui Pitara will be digitally available on DIKSHA platforms– portal and mobile app. Parents and students can access the content from the DIKSHA platforms anytime and anywhere they want. 

Defining Success in Holistic Terms 

The environment in which children learn largely determines their learning outcomes. There is nothing as unfortunate and worrisome for a civilised society as a student succumbing to undue pressure.

If a child considers education as a medium of empowerment then all their fears will go away. Any education system anywhere in the world should not burden our learning generations. Hence, it is important to remove that fear from the hearts of the learners with the help of Jaadui Pitara. It will be helpful to a great extent to remove the fear of education among children of 3-8 years as it has the magic of variety, flexibility, and inclusion. 

ECCE aims at the holistic development of a child in order to build a solid foundation for lifelong learning. The Jaadui Pitara initiative will add value in it to capitalise sufficient opportunities for children to explore, investigate and experiment for their future learning, health, and life success.

Smile Foundation for Child Education

With Shiksha Na Ruke, Smile Foundation is trying to bring every child back to school and continue their journey of education. The purpose is to promote and make education more accessible among underserved children in rural and urban India. This will be through the inclusion of Jaadui Pitara for aiding effective early childhood education.


NEP 2020 and India’s Big Dream: Knowledge Superpower

Following Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s death in July 2015, the country’s Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi paid tribute to India’s “Missile Man.” He called Dr Kalam a true Bharat Ratna and an inspiration for every dreamer in the country. This calls for a discussion about the education system in India!

In his heartfelt tribute, PM Modi also remembered the former Indian President’s vision for India: a knowledge superpower. “Bharat has lost a Ratna, but the light from this jewel will guide us towards APJ Abdul Kalam’s dream destination: India as a knowledge superpower, in the first rank of nations,” said PM Modi.

Seven years on, the government has made significant strides towards achieving Dr Kalam’s dream. The government has taken several steps to make India a knowledge powerhouse, but the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 could be the real game-changer.

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a Government of India initiative to transform the education system in India and make the country a knowledge hub. It was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020, replacing the previous National Policy on Education, which was last revised in 1992.

NEP 2020 provides a comprehensive roadmap outlining India’s approach to education in the coming decades. It aims to make India’s education system more holistic and learner-centric, focusing on developing students’ cognitive, socio-emotional, and practical skills.

It is based on the principles of accessibility, equity, quality, affordability, and accountability. The policy recognises the need for a more flexible and multidisciplinary approach to education, lacking in India’s existing system.

The policy will enable students to adapt to the changing needs of the economy and society.

How the NEP 2020 will Transform India

NEP 2020 was announced after several rounds of consultations and discussions with relevant stakeholders. It has been formulated with care and has certain key features that can truly transform the education system in India.

1. Focus on Childhood Education System in India

A strong foundation is central to achieving academic and professional success in life. With clear basics, individuals can learn advanced concepts in their fields more easily, helping them excel at their work.

Therefore, emphasis on early childhood education is one of the key features of the National Education Policy 2020. The policy advises the establishment of a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for children up to the age of 8.

The teaching method and the importance of play-based learning have been highlighted for the comprehensive development of students. With this feature, children will receive a strong foundation and enjoy learning.

2. Vocational Education is Key

Textbook learning is essential, but skills help you succeed in the real world. The world is rapidly changing, and students must adapt their skills to ensure continued progress.

NEP 2020 recognises this and has focused on providing vocational education and skill development. The policy stresses the importance of providing students with practical skills to help them succeed in the corporate world.

The policy has proposed the establishment of a National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), which will enable students to acquire vocational skills while they are still in college or university.

3. Education for All

India is a developing economy, so technology and progress aren’t linear everywhere in the country. Certain sections– like the rural remote areas and urban slums, are deprived of the same employment and learning opportunities as those residing in better and upward networked spaces.

The National Education Policy 2020 will change that as far as education is concerned. It aims to increase access to education for disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Children from such sections can prosper and help improve their communities with increased learning opportunities.

The policy proposes the establishment of a Gender Inclusion Fund and a National Scholarship Portal. They will help support girls and students from economically weaker sections. NEP 2020 also calls for establishing a Special Education Zone for disadvantaged regions, which will provide additional support and resources to students in these areas.

4. Overhaul the Assessment System

Exams often bring nightmares to students. As a result, they cannot perform at their best, but the scorecard still dictates their futures.

NEP 2020 hopes to change that by overhauling the examination and assessment system altogether. The policy recommends moving away from rote learning and memorisation-based assessments, which test nothing but students’ memorisation skills.

It aims to move towards more competency-based and formative assessments that provide a more comprehensive picture of students’ abilities. It will help to promote a more comprehensive understanding of concepts and encourage students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

5. Change the Higher Education System in India

The higher education system in India is far from ideal. It primarily focuses on grades rather than skills, promoting an unhealthy environment where students’ examination grades precede skills.

Regulators like the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) regularly make changes to the higher education system but have yet to be successful in their mission to change the mindset.

Therefore, the NEP 2020 suggests a single regulator for higher education. The new regulator, called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), will set standards, ensure quality, and promote innovation in higher education.

The NEP 2020 also proposes a major reform of the undergraduate education system. Students are on course to discover their passion in their early 20s and may find they’re in the wrong field during their bachelor’s.

Hence, the NEP 2020 recommends introducing a four-year bachelor’s degree program with multiple exit options. The possibility of lateral entry into higher education makes the new system more flexible and interdisciplinary. Students can choose their own paths of study and pivot more easily.

A Bright Education System in India

Educators and experts have welcomed the NEP 2020. The much-needed reform will transform the current education system in India and help students’ overall development.

Focus on higher education and skill development is also welcome, given the skill gap in the country. Smile Foundation is making concerted efforts towards skilling the youth from backgrounds that need special attention.

Our STeP or the Smile Twin e-Learning Programme is enthusiastically partnering with organisations sharing the same ethos of “skilling for respectable livelihood means”. The programme skills the youth in sectors like healthcare assistance, digital marketing, BFSI and e-logistics and has successfully placed 45000+ youth in global and national brands till now.

Implementing the NEP 2020 will require a mammoth effort from the government and other stakeholders. All parties need to work together to fully realise the goal of the NEP 2020 and we are completely ready to do our part towards realising India’s big dream to become a knowledge superpower.

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