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NEP National Education Policy 2020 India

Chapter 8. Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

8.1. The goal of the school education regulatory system must be to continually improve educational outcomes; it must not overly restrict schools, prevent innovation, or demoralize teachers, principals, and students. All in all, regulation must aim to empower schools and teachers with trust, enabling them to strive for excellence and perform at their very best, while ensuring the integrity of the system through the enforcement of complete transparency and full public disclosure of all finances, procedures, and educational outcomes.

8.2. At present, all main functions of governance and regulation of the school education system - namely, the provision of public education, the regulation of education institutions, and policymaking - are handled by a single body, i.e., the Department of School Education or its arms. This leads to conflict of interests and excessive centralized concentration of power; it also leads to ineffective management of the school system, as efforts towards quality educational provision are often diluted by the focus on the other roles, particularly regulation, that the Departments of School Education also perform.

8.3. The current regulatory regime also has not been able to curb the commercialization and economic exploitation of parents by many for-profit private schools, yet at the same time it has all too often inadvertently discouraged public-spirited private/philanthropic schools. There has been far too much asymmetry between the regulatory approaches to public and private schools, even though the goals of both types of schools should be the same: to provide quality education.

8.4. The public education system is the foundation of a vibrant democratic society, and the way it is run must be transformed and invigorated in order to achieve the highest levels of educational outcomes for the nation. At the same time, the private/philanthropic school sector must also be encouraged and enabled to play a significant and beneficial role.

8.5. The key principles and recommendations of this Policy regarding the State school education system, the independent responsibilities within that system, and the approach to its regulation are as follows:
(a) The Department of School Education, which is the apex state-level body in school education, will be responsible for overall monitoring and policymaking for continual improvement of the public education system; it will not be involved with the provision and operation of schools or with the regulation of schools, in order to ensure due focus on the improvement of public schools and to eliminate conflict of interests.
(b) The educational operations and service provision for the public schooling system of the whole State will be handled by the Directorate of School Education (including the offices of the DEO and BEO, etc.); it will work independently to implement policies regarding educational operations and provision.
(c) An effective quality self-regulation or accreditation system will be instituted for all stages of education including pre-school education - private, public, and philanthropic - to ensure compliance with essential quality standards. To ensure that all schools follow certain minimal professional and quality standards, States/UTs will set up an independent, State-wide, body called the State School Standards Authority (SSSA). The SSSA will establish a minimal set of standards based on basic parameters (namely, safety, security, basic infrastructure, number of teachers across subjects and grades, financial probity, and sound processes of governance), which shall be followed by all schools. The framework for these parameters will be created by the SCERT in consultation with various stakeholders, especially teachers and schools. Transparent public self-disclosure of all the basic regulatory information, as laid down by the SSSA, will be used extensively for public oversight and accountability. The dimensions on which information has to be self-disclosed, and the format of disclosure will be decided by the SSSA in accordance with global best practices for standard-setting for schools. This information will have to be made available and kept updated and accurate by all schools, on the aforementioned public website maintained by the SSSA and on the schools’ websites. Any complaints or grievances from stakeholders or others arising out of the information placed in the public domain shall be adjudicated by the SSSA. Feedback from randomly selected students will be solicited online to ensure valuable input at regular intervals. Technology will be employed suitably to ensure efficiency and transparency in all work of the SSSA. This will bring down significantly the heavy load of regulatory mandates currently borne by schools.
(d) Academic matters, including academic standards and curricula in the State will be led by the SCERT (with close consultation and collaboration with the NCERT), which will be reinvigorated as an institution. The SCERT will develop a School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Framework (SQAAF) through wide consultations with all stakeholders. The SCERT will also lead a “change management process” for the reinvigoration of CRCs, BRCs, and DIETs which must change the capacity and work culture of these institutions in 3 years, developing them into vibrant institutions of excellence. Meanwhile, certification of competencies of students at the school-leaving stage will be handled by the Boards of Assessment/Examination in each State.

8.6. The culture, structures, and systems that empower and provide adequate resources to schools, institutions, teachers, officials, communities, and other stakeholders, will also build concomitant accountability. Each stakeholder and participant of the education system will be accountable to perform their role with the highest level of integrity, full commitment, and exemplary work ethic. Each role of the system will have explicitly articulated role expectations and rigorous assessment of their performance vis-à-vis these expectations. The assessment system will be objective and developmentally oriented, while ensuring accountability. It will have multiple sources of feedback and assessment, to ensure a full view of the performance (and will not just be linked simplistically, e.g., to ‘marks’ of students). The assessment will recognize that outcomes such as educational attainment of students have multiple intervening variables and extraneous influences. It will also recognize that education requires teamwork, particularly at the level of the school. Promotion, recognition, and accountability of all individuals will be based on such performance assessment. All functionaries will be responsible to ensure that this development, performance, and accountability system is run with high integrity, and systematically, within their span of control.

8.7. Public and private schools (except the schools that are managed/aided/controlled by the Central government) will be assessed and accredited on the same criteria, benchmarks, and processes, emphasizing online and offline public disclosure and transparency, so as to ensure that public-spirited private schools are encouraged and not stifled in any way. Private philanthropic efforts for quality education will be encouraged - thereby affirming the public-good nature of education - while protecting parents and communities from arbitrary increases in tuition fees. Public disclosure on the school website and on the SSSA website - for both public and private schools - would include (at the very least) information on the numbers of classrooms, students, and teachers, subjects taught, any fees, and overall student outcomes on standardized evaluations such as the NAS and SAS. For schools controlled/managed/aided by the Central government, the CBSE in consultation with the MHRD shall prepare a framework. All the education institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as a 'not-for-profit' entity. Surpluses, if any, will be reinvested in the educational sector.

8.8. The standard-setting/regulatory framework and the facilitating systems for school regulation, accreditation, and governance shall be reviewed to enable improvements on the basis of the learnings and experiences gained in the last decade. This review will aim to ensure that all students, particularly students from underprivileged and disadvantaged sections, shall have universal, free and compulsory access to high-quality and equitable schooling from early childhood care and education (age 3 onwards) through higher secondary education (i.e., until Grade 12). The overemphasis on inputs, and the mechanistic nature of their specifications – physical and infrastructural – will be changed and requirements made more responsive to realities on the ground, e.g., regarding land areas and room sizes, practicalities of playgrounds in urban areas, etc. These mandates will be adjusted and loosened, leaving suitable flexibility for each school to make its own decisions based on local needs and constraints, while ensuring safety, security, and a pleasant and productive learning space. Educational outcomes and the transparent disclosure of all financial, academic, and operational matters will be given due importance and will be incorporated suitably in the assessment of schools. This will further improve India's progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) of ensuring free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education for all children.

8.9. The aim of the public-school education system will be to impart the highest quality education so that it becomes the most attractive option for parents from all walks of life for educating their children.

8.10. For a periodic ‘health check-up’ of the overall system, a sample-based National Achievement Survey (NAS) of student learning levels will be carried out by the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH with suitable cooperation with other governmental bodies- such as the NCERT– that may assist in assessment procedures as well as data analysis. The assessment will cover students across government as well as private schools. States will also be encouraged to conduct their own census-based State Assessment Survey (SAS), the results of which will be used only for developmental purposes, public disclosure by schools of their overall and anonymized student outcomes, and for continuous improvement of the school education system. Until the establishment of the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH, NCERT may continue to carry out NAS.

8.11. Finally, the children and adolescents enrolled in schools must not be forgotten in this whole process; after all, the school system is designed for them. Careful attention must be paid to their safety and rights- particularly girl children - and the various difficult issues faced by adolescents, such as substance or drug abuse and forms of discrimination and harassment including violence, with clear, safe, and efficient mechanisms for reporting and for due process on any infractions against children’s/adolescents’ rights or safety. The development of such mechanisms that are effective, timely, and well-known to all students will be accorded high priority.

( Source : PDF of National Education Policy 2020 at Ministry of Education, India website.)

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NEP 2020 Introduction

Part I. SCHOOL EDUCATION

1. ECCE Early Childhood Care and Education : The Foundation of Learning
2. Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: An Urgent & Necessary Prerequisite to Learning
3. Curtailing Dropout Rates and Ensuring Universal Access to Education at All Levels
4. Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools: Learning Should be Holistic, Integrated, Enjoyable, and Engaging
5. Teachers
6. Equitable and Inclusive Education: Learning for All
7. Efficient Resourcing and Effective Governance through School Complexes/Clusters
8. Standard-setting and Accreditation for School Education

Part II. HIGHER EDUCATION

9. Quality Universities and Colleges: A New and Forward-looking Vision for India’s Higher Education System
10. Institutional Restructuring and Consolidation
11. Towards a More Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education
12. Optimal Learning Environments and Support for Students
13. Motivated, Energized, and Capable Faculty
14. Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education
15. Teacher Education
16. Reimagining Vocational Education
17. Catalysing Quality Academic Research in All Fields through a new National Research Foundation
18. Transforming the Regulatory System of Higher Education
19. Effective Governance and Leadership for Higher Education Institutions

Part III. OTHER KEY AREAS OF FOCUS

20. Professional Education
21. Adult Education and Lifelong Learning
22. Promotion of Indian Languages, Arts and Culture
23. Technology Use and Integration
24. Online and Digital Education: Ensuring Equitable Use of Technology

Part IV. MAKING IT HAPPEN

25. Strengthening the Central Advisory Board of Education
26. Financing: Affordable and Quality Education for All
27. Implementation
Abbreviations used in NEP 2020
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