Session IV: Critical insights into NEP 2020 and its implications for School education 

Speaker Profile

Ms. Anita Sharma

Principal, S.D. Public School,

PitamPura, Delhi

Ms. Anita Sharma Ma’am is principal of a reputed senior secondary school (S.D. Public School) in New Delhi since 2002. She is a recipient of Presidential Grant from Ministry of Science and Technology to conceptualize, plan and execute the programme “Mathematics Movement” to celebrate the legacy of eminent mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan on his 125th anniversary. She is Regional Coordinator to conduct CBSE Group Mathematics Olympiad, and she is also member of curriculum committee, Mathematics for CBSE and CBSE-i (International Curriculum launched by CBSE). She has done tremendous work in the field of Mathematics Education. She also represented India in the UNESCO Global Meet for Sustainable Development held in South Korea in 2015. Ma’am recently got Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya Award, Life time achievement award “Aryabhatta Award” by All India Ramanujan Mathematics Club, Acharya Utkrishta Shikshak Samman from Education Minister Govt. of NCT, Delhi, Sh. Manish Sisodiya and many more.

Session Summary

10th September 2020, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

In session IV Ms. Anita Sharma explains lots of challenges in NEP 2020 from the perspective of school. 

Education Policy is written with two perspectives: 

1) Indian Education Thought/ Indian Philosophy: It says that the alternate goal of the human life is to attain knowledge, wisdom and truth 

2) Education can be a tool to achieve global and economic targets for economic development of the country. 


When framing policy four things are taken into consideration: 

1) Knowledge landscape of India 

2) People landscape of India 

3) Employment landscape of India 

4) Presenting India’s traditional knowledge system, culture and values

People landscape of India or diversity landscape of India: All kinds of diversity given place in policy so that local culture can be preserved at the same time modernization can also be adopted. 

Employment landscape means the education which the child grasping in the school shall prepare him not only to sustain his own life, it should also be able to prepare the child to address the world problems and to be a useful member of the society. It is possible only  when the child is self sustainable. If he is not able to find this means of resource of living he will not be able to help the society. 

Now it has been addressed in the schools earlier. The people that used to think about the career opportunities about the skill development/ skill enhancement after the school level. Now from class IX, these kinds of issues are being addressed in the policy. 

India’s traditional knowledge system, culture and values are preserved so that India can regain its reputation although India is rising every year. You must be observing this that we are attaining new heights. But, India can become a superpower in the field of knowledge and economy both. It can be done by taking into consideration its own knowledge system. 

The very beautiful part of this policy is that earlier policies talked about , Universalization of Education. So accessibility and equity are the main which were talked about. This talked about accessibility that we are not able to attain so far because till date in the age group of 6-17 years 3.22 crore children are there outside the school. This time policy is talking about accessibility but along with it also talks about the high quality. The policy is properly not on universal education it is talking about Universal High Quality Holistic Education. 

This indicates the clear intention of the government to attain/ improve the quality of teaching learning in schools or in high level institutes at all levels. So, this is a very very important part and according to Ms. Anita Sharma this is one thought which is the base of the policy. Very vast and drastic changes are expected after the implementation of this policy in the schools. 

This policy emphasises on the development of creative potential of each individual/ children by developing 

1) Cognitive capacity of literacy and numeracy 

2) Higher order cognitive capacities/ develop critical thinking & problem solving capacities 

3) Social, ethical, emotional capacities of the child 

Vision of the policy

Education system rooted in Indian ethos that contributes directly to transforming India, that is Bharat, sustainably into an equitable & vibrant knowledge society, by providing high quality education to all, and making India a global knowledge superpower.  Education policy is talking about The Brand India approach. It means that our education system must reflect upon Indian Languages, Indian Culture, Indian Values. It is also talking about sustainability where everybody is getting equal opportunities. Global knowledge superpower is very much possible with the kind of international projects we have. BYJU is considered in the first 10 global companies. You will also find that the majority of CEOs are from India. So India always has the potential to become a global knowledge superpower.

Main Features

  • Universal- Holistic- High Quality Education 

  •  Curricular integration of essential subjects, skills and capacities 

  •  Mathematics and mathematical thinking 

  •  Language Policy 

  •  Ethical decision making 

  •  Digitization 

  •  Inclusion 

  •  Vocational Education 

  •  Teacher training 

  •  Assessment 

  •  Public Philanthropic Partnership 

  •  Brand India 

Universal Holistic Quality Education:

Accessibility: As per household survey by NSSO in 2017- 2018 Number of out of school children in the age 6-17 years is 3.22 crore What to do when we bring all of them back to school or if not back to school at least bring them back to mainstream education. 

Target: By 2030, 100% GER in pre-school to secondary level 

Initiative to bring back dropped out children and to prevent dropping out For this:

  • Effective, sufficient and safe infrastructure 

  • To enhance the credibility of the government. Schools, upgrading and enlarging existing schools 

  • More government Schools 

  • Conveyance facility 

  • Alternative & innovative education centre in cooperation with civil society

  •  Careful tracking of students for attendance and for learning levels


Quality :

  • Counsellors or well-trained social workers to keep interaction for any help

  •  Deployment of teachers with knowledge of local language in high drop out areas

  •  Multiple pathways of learning (formal as well as informal) 

  •  In addition to existing courses by NIOS, A, B, C level programmes equivalent to grades 3, 5, 8 

  •  SIOS to offer programmes in local language 

  •  Database of literate volunteers, retired scientists/ govt employees/ alumni/ educators for providing one to one tutoring & mentoring 

  •  Promote alternative models of education, requirements for schools will be made les restrictive 

  •  Encouraging public philanthropic partnership India has 60 evaluation boards like CBSE, ICSE, State boards. Only two boards run by central government 

         1) CBSE 

         2) National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

What is the new education system 5+3+3+4?

  Earlier the education system was 4+3+3+2+2 

  ❏ 2 years of pre schooling 

  ❏ 5 years of primary schooling 

  ❏ 3 years of middle schooling 

  ❏ 2 years of secondary schooling 

  ❏ 2 years of senior secondary schooling

Now it is 5+3+3+4

  ❏ 3 years of anganwadis 

  ❏ 2 years of primary school 

These both are called the foundational stage. 

In this stage 3 to 8 year children will be taken. The government is taking into consideration the education of the child right from zero years i.e.  Parents will also be trained how to take care of a child. 










Focus: A particular kind of training which pertains to the health and hygiene, food and nutrition, proper growth of the child, what kind of conversation shall be made in front of the child, how the resources available at home can be used to teach the child will be taken into account. So, all kinds of training will be given to the child. 

Once attaining the stage of 3 years the child will be leading to the anganwadis in rural areas, ashramshala in tribal areas, and play schools in urban areas. This is the basic sector which is not structured till date. For the first time this is structured to regularize all the sectors. All difficult kinds of concepts will be merged with the main school. The main schools are given the responsibility of mentoring pre-schools to train workers, teachers there and to see how the smooth transition from the ashramshala/ anganwadis/ pre-schools can be done.

Pedagogy: Non Formal, playway, story telling, around nature exploration

  ❏ 3 years of preparatory stage 

This time it can be observed that primary school is referred to as grade 1 and grade 2. Earlier it was from garage 1 to grade 5. Grades 3,4, 5 are referred to as the preparatory stage because actual terminal schooling will start from grade 3. 

Focus: reading, writing, speaking, physical education, art, language, science, mathematics and mathematical thinking 

Pedagogy: formal, interactive, activity based playway, discovery method

  ❏ 3 years of middle stage 

In this the grades 6, 7 and 8 are referred. 

Focus: Abstract concepts of science, mathematics, mathematical thinking, social science, arts, humanities 

Pedagogy: discussion method, experiential learning, exploration of relation among different subjects 

  ❏ 4 years of secondary school 

Grade 9 to grade 12 are referred to as secondary schooling. These four years are structured in such a way that there is tranquility in learning and lots of vocational experiences and short

duration courses which can enhance the skills and which can also prepare them for higher education. 

Focus: multidisciplinary study, no choice of schools, lots of flexibility, no boundaries of arts, science, and mathematics 

Pedagogy: Above + critical thinking

Language Policy

  •  Home language/ mother tongue/ local language as medium of instruction by both private and public schools. Bilingual approach of teaching- learning

  •  Exposure to multiple language between age of 2-8 years in enjoyable and interactive style

  •  Writing in mother tongue at early ages. Writing in other languages from grade 3 onwards

  •  Three language formula as per constitutional provision

  •  Large number of language teachers will be appointed, for all language mentioned in English Schedule of the constitution of India

  •  Choice of states/ students

  •  Two Indian languages mandatory

  •  Change of language is allowed in class 6 or 7 if the child is able to

  •  Demonstrate basic proficiency in three languages

  •  High quality bilingual; science and mathematics books in regional language/ local language

  •  Soft power of India to be used to spread Indian languages and to demonstrate their richness

  •  Exchange of language teachers between states

  •  Sanskrit is compulsory language to be offered at all all levels of schools and higher level

  •  Other classical language like Pali, Prakrit, Persian, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia also encouraged

  •  Online learning language for each language. Two years of classical language in school compulsory

  •  Indian sign language will be standardized

  •  Foreign languages- Korean, Japanese, Thai, French, German, Spanish, Portguese, Russian at Secondary level (Grade 9 to 12)

  •  Language to be used as a tool for cultural enrichment and national integration

  •  “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” Programme to enhance culture of learning language

Equitable and Inclusive Education

Education is tool for achieving social justice and equality
Policy aims to bridge the social category gaps

  •  Between gender (female and transgender)

  •  Socio-economically disadvantaged groups (migrant labourers, low income groups,

  • children in vulnerable conditions, victims of trafficking, orphanage, beggars)

  •  Socio-cultural identities (SC, ST, OBC, Tribal, Minorities)

  •  Disabilities (physically, mentally, LD...) in access

  •  Participation and learning outcomes

  •  No child loses any opportunity to learn and excel

Mathematical Thinking

On the curricular side, there will be increased focus on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy and generally, on reading, writing, speaking, counting, arithmetic and Mathematical thinking throughout the preparatory and middle school Curriculum (grades 3-5 and 6-8) Mathematical thinking is more than attempting problems given in textbooks. Earlier in NCF, it is there that the child should be able to mathematize every problem seen in any context. The child should be induced to this type of competency that he is able to think mathematically, that means his capacity should be enhanced in such a manner that he will be able to see the problem holistically. Mathematical thinking will make one a good problem solver not only the problems in textbooks but also general, global and social issues.


Discussions of abstract concepts in each subject including Mathematics using

  •  Discovery based learning

  •  Activity based teaching

  •  Interactive classroom learning

  •  Experiential learning

  •  Exploration of relations among different subjects

Overall thrust of the curriculum and pedagogy will be to move the education system from
rote learning towards understanding and learning how to learn

Curriculum will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials to make space for
Critical thinking
More holistic
Inquiry based
Discovery based
Discussion based
Analysis based learning

  • Mathematics and mathematical thinking will be important for India’s future and India’s leadership role in the upcoming professions involving AI, Machine learning, Data Science etc.

  •  Mathematics and computational thinking will be given increased emphasis throughout the school years starting with the foundational stage, through a variety of innovative methods, including the regular use of puzzles and games that make mathematical thinking more enjoyable and engaging.

  • Activities involving coding at middle stage


Support for gifted students/ students with special talents

Innate talents of students must be discovered, nurtured, fostered and developed. The students expressing their talents in the form of varying interests, dispositions, capacities shall be encouraged to pursue the realm beyond general curriculum Supplementary enrichment material, guidance and encouragement through topic centered
and project based clubs and circles at all levels like Maths circle, science circles, poetry circles....


Olympiad and competitions
IIT and NIT would be encouraged to use merit based results from National- International olympiads

Curricular Integration of essential subjects, skills and capacities



  •  Flexibility in choosing subjects 

  •  Proficiency in languages 

  •  Introduction of contemporary subjects- AI, Design Thinking, holistic health, organic living, environmental education, Global citizenship education (GCED) 

Action Plan 

  •  Age and grade appropriate curriculum on Artificial Intelligence, coding, design thinking, environmental education, cyber laws, consumer laws, constitution, civic code 

  •  Techno literacy 

  •  Legal literacy 

  •  Financial Literacy 


  •  Scientific temper, evidence based thinking 

  •  Creativity, Innovativeness 

  •  Art appreciation 

  •  Oral and written communication 

  •  Health and nutrition, Physical Education fitness, wellness, sports

  •  Collaboration and teamwork 

  •  Problem solving, logical reasoning 

  •  Digital literacy, coding and computational thinking 

  •  Ethical decision making 

  •  Ethical and moral reasoning 

  •  Constitutional values 

  •  Gender sensitivity 

  •  Fundamental duties 

  •  Citizenship skills and values 

  •  Environmental awareness- water and resource conservation, sanitation and hygiene

  •  Knowledge of local, state, country and global problem 


Details of key points from the Q and A session:

  • What does "Easy board exams" mean? As we know nowadays kids who get less than 95% feel like they've failed or something. Why shouldn't we Remove board exams if the objective is to remove stress from school life.

    • Response: Well lately there are some changes in board exams, like 10th class mathematics is divided into two separate subjects basic maths basic and advanced maths. Students who plan to opt for commerce & arts can choose basic maths exam and students who wish to study advanced maths can choose it accordingly. This is a step to ensure students who don't want to learn mathematics at a later level dont have to study maths rigorously at school level. This type of example may give a glimpse of “Easy Board Exams” . We hear in the news students scoring 100 % in exams, it gives a perception that exams are scoring. It’s not true if we look at the larger picture. Average students score between 40%-70% and most of the students lie in this bracket. So easy board exams is a perception that is conveyed by the media that glorifies students who score above 95%, making the students who score less than that seem like a failure. Students think if they are not scoring above 95% which is an easy target as the media shows many students achieving that they are good for nothing and these things mental stress, give rise to depression and other problems in students and trick them for giving exams just for the purpose of marks. This undermines the purpose of education. New guidelines are being made to tackle these problems, new guidelines are meant to shift the schooling system from one that primarily tests rote learning skills to one that is more formative, is competency based, promotes learning and development for students, and tests higher-order skills such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity. Making board examination easy or removing is not going to improve the quality of education Boards are school leaving exams; they should be taken more seriously. An exam should be challenging, not easy or tough... It should be able to reflect the way learning has happened. What needs to be done is overhauling the entire system to make sure that merit is not only about pass percentages.

  • NEP 2020 has a major list of challenges and involvement in the school system and parent involvement is one of them. In my opinion, we have already a great parent involvement in public school. So, according to NEP 2020, what would be the major changes to increasing this involvement in the school system?

    • Response: According to Ms. Anita Sharma the first major challenge will be using itself rather than something from the part of the policy. The parents know that now this is the part of the policy that they have to play an active role, that they are ready to listen to the school. And the schools have to provide the platform to the parents to share their knowledge and to share their concerns also. The school has to be very open to taking their suggestions. The school has to be able to give them talking platforms where they are able to talk about their problems and how the challenge will stop. The major challenge is not working on the challenge except that we are saying the whole education process till class III shall be in the mother tongue or in the local language only. Now the parents or whose children are studying the public schools have the mindset that this is one language which is going to help the child and his place in the world. Because this is one language which is going to make him get the right kind of employment. So, challenging that mindset will be a difficult thing and then to make the content available in that language will be another major challenge. So, we all have to work together. Schools should be able to make use of resources which is there among the parents. Because there also to get plenty of things can head the schools in preparing this kind of content.

  • NEP 2020 proposes a roll back of existing mechanisms of enforcement of private schools making parents “de-facto regulators” of private schools. Parents, and particularly poor and neo-literate parents, cannot hold the onus of ensuring that much more powerful and resourced schools comply with quality, safety and equity norms. What are your views about that?

    • Response: The existing schools infrastructure which are good in the state need not to be changed in their infrastructure. The changes that policy is talking about are at a pedagogical level. There is no need for school infrastructure changes. Schools already have library facilities and good math facilities. There are strong all those facilities to be used in a more creative, more innovative and in better manner. As per as economic depression and GDP is concerned, certain things need to be concerned. If only coaching centres are contributing and they are closed or banned then what will happen? 4.10% is contributed by the coaching  centres. It is a profession from which many families and people's employment is linked. Kota for IIT preparation is an example of it. Kota has polished so much because of this coaching culture. Whoever initiated this coaching, the economic structure of Kota changed because of this. People started getting work and so many people used to go there. So, every kind of person is getting work whether he has to give his high content or he has to prepare food for somebody or he has to make some other arrangements (transport arrangements, commodity arrangements). The whole firm changed because of this. The coaching culture has to be closed because it is very much hidden. But when we are saying that alternative education systems they should come into existence. So, how can these coaching centres be converted into the effective education systems? Lots of these kinds of questions are there. Without harming anybody how we can help everybody to survive, to grow.

This session was moderated by Mukund Kumar Jha and Ghanshyam Yadav  while Monika and Sharad Chaudhary were the rapporteurs.

Total attendees: 40.