Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019: Aim on School Education–A compendium of trends, gaps and wishes

The draft NEP while being ambitious on fixing the chaos in school education order, may well lead to more sharpening of dividing lines

The massive 484-page document is result of a mammoth hard work of about five years that began in January 2015 with the announcement of formulation of a new national policy on education and moved with multilevel wider consultations admittedly from grassroots upward and culminated by authoring of this draft in December 2018. In a high drama, two high powered committees oversaw this work, the first being led by former cabinet secretary, TSR Subramanian, and the second and final one by former ISRO chief, Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan. TSR Subramanian committee submitted its report to ministry of HRD in June 2016 but somehow that episode caused more embarrassment to all sides than acceptance and paved way for a new committee to take over.

Nonetheless, now the work has been made public and forms solid base for the eventual New Policy, it is important to look at some radical recommendations that will shape India’s school education system in coming future. While we have added a few abridged portions from the document below for our readers to understand these major reforms, still briefly, these in order of importance are:

  • Extension of Right to Education from 3-18 years of age (the current law provides for free and compulsory education to 6-14 years children)
  • Formalization of preschooling with regulation, curriculum and integration with school system
  • Extension of Midday Meal Scheme to include preschooling years
  • Restructuring school curriculum and pedagogy in a new 5 + 3 +3+4 design corresponding to the age ranges of 3-8 (preschool + Grades 1, 2), 8-11(Grades 3, 4, 5), 11-14 (Grades 6, 7, 8), and 14-18 years (Grades 9, 10, 11, 12). Till now the scheme is 10+2
  • Census examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8. Board exams for class 10 & 12
  • All “para-teacher” (Shikshakarmi, Shikshamitra, etc.) systems across the country will be stopped by 2022
  • Periodic (annual or higher frequency) performance appraisal of teachers
  • Neighborhood schools within five to 10 Km radius to be bundled into a ‘school complex’ that will be an administrative for purpose of resource sharing.
  • Survey course on vocational skills and crafts in Grades 6, 7, or 8 and inclusion at secondary level
  • A single independent regulator for the school education sector: An independent SSRA will be established to handle all aspects of school regulation including the oversight of the school system and implementation of Accreditation. At the same time Education Departments continue to be the apex administration body

The central Idea

“The NPE 1986/92 was formulated just before the Internet revolution and, while recognising the potential of technology, could not foresee the radical changes of the past few decades. Since then we have been almost fatally slow in the adoption of technology to improve the quality of education, as well as in using it to improve governance and planning and management of education. Young learners today belong to a generation that is born and raised in technology-rich environments.

More explicitly, the outcomes here include, among other things, increased critical thinking abilities, higher order thinking and deeper learning, mastery of content, problem solving, team work and communication skills besides general engagement and enjoyment of learning.”

Some excerpts  from Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019

ECCE

Every child in the age range of 3-6 years has access to free, safe, high quality, developmentally appropriate care and education by 2025

It is important that children of ages 3-8 have access to a flexible, multifaceted, multilevel, play-based, activity-based, and discovery-based education. It also becomes natural then to view this period, from up to three years of pre-school (ages 3-6) to the end of Grade 2 (age 8), as a single pedagogical unit called the “Foundational Stage”. It is necessary, therefore, to develop and establish such an integrated foundational curricular and pedagogical framework, and corresponding teacher preparation, for this critical Foundational Stage of a child’s development.

A detailed plan outlining the operational and financial implications of the integration of early childhood education with the school education system will be developed in consultation with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW). This plan will be finalised by the end of 2019 by a special task force jointly constituted by the MWCD, MHFW, and MHRD.

An effective quality regulation or accreditation system for ECCE will be instituted as recommended in the National ECCE Policy (2013). This regulatory system will cover all pre-school education – private, public, and philanthropic – in order to ensure compliance with essential quality standards.

The mandate of the NCERT will be expanded to include the development of a Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Education, in accordance with the above principles and guidelines…

The first part will be a framework of guidelines for 0-3 year olds – intended for parents as well as Anganwadi teachers/workers – for appropriate cognitive stimulation of infants and young children in this age range.

b. The second part will be an educational framework for 3-8 year olds (Foundational Stage) – intended for parents as well as for Anganwadis, pre-primary schools, and Grades 1 and 2 – consisting of a flexible, multilevel, play-based, activity-based, and discovery-based system of learning that aims to teach young children alphabets, numbers, basic communication in the local language/mother tongue and other languages, colours, shapes, sounds, movement, games, elements of drawing, painting, music, and the local arts, as well as various socio-emotional skills such as curiosity, patience, teamwork, cooperation, interaction, and empathy required for school-preparedness.

Increased focus in school on foundational literacy and numeracy: The school and classroom curriculum and schedules for Grades 1-5 will be re-designed to focus on foundational literacy and numeracy, and to build a love for reading and mathematics among students. Illustratively, initiatives in this direction would include:

a. Dedicated mathematics and reading hours every day for Grades 1, 2 and 3, and an additional writing hour for Grades 4 and 5. The hours between breakfast and lunch may be the most effective time periods for these subjects.

b. Designated “language weeks” and “mathematics weeks” during the school year, where children will participate in a variety of activities and projects around languages and mathematics.

c. Regular “language melas” and “mathematics melas”, where children can participate and demonstrate their abilities in both of these subjects; this could become a community event involving parents, teachers, community members, and neighbouring schools.

d. Weekly language and mathematics-focused school assemblies; celebrations of writers’ and mathematicians’ anniversaries through language- and mathematics-related activities.

e. Weekly activities around the library, such as story-telling, theatre, group reading, writing, and display of original writings and other art by children.

f. Weekly fun puzzle-solving sessions that naturally inculcate logical and mathematical thinking.

g. Regular activities that explore connections between “classroom mathematics” and “real-life mathematics.”

Change in 10+2 Scheme

Restructuring school curriculum and pedagogy in a new 5+3+3+4 design:

5 years of the Foundational Stage: 3 years of pre-primary school and Grades 1, 2.

  • 3 years of the Preparatory (or Latter Primary) Stage: Grades 3, 4, 5.
  • 3 years of the Middle (or Upper Primary) Stage: Grades 6, 7, 8.
  • 4 years of the High (or Secondary) Stage: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12.

a. The Foundational Stage will comprise five years of flexible, multilevel, play-based, activity-based, and discovery-based learning, continuously incorporating the latest research in ECCE as well as the various time-tested Indian traditions for cognitive and emotional stimulation of children.

b. The Preparatory Stage will comprise three years of education, building on the play-, discovery-, and activity-based pedagogical and curricular style of the Foundational Stage, but also gradually beginning to incorporate textbooks as well as aspects of more formal classroom learning. There would mostly be generalist teachers during this stage, with the possible exception of some specialist language and art teachers (who may be shared across the school or school complex). The aim of this stage will be to lay the general groundwork across subjects, including reading, writing, speaking, physical education, art, languages, science, and mathematics, so that students are prepared to delve deeper into learning areas through specialised subjects and subject teachers in the stages that follow.

c. The Middle Stage will comprise three years of education, building on the more formal pedagogical and curricular style of the Elementary Stage, but will see the introduction of subject teachers for learning/discussion of the more abstract concepts in each subject that students will be ready for at this stage across the sciences, mathematics, arts, social sciences, and humanities. Experiential learning within each subject, and explorations of relations among different subjects, will be encouraged and emphasised despite the introduction of more specialised subjects and subject teachers.

d. The Secondary Stage will comprise four years of multidisciplinary study, and will build on the subject-oriented pedagogical and curricular style of the Middle stage, but with greater depth, greater critical thinking, greater attention to life aspirations, and greater flexibility and student choice. Each year of the Secondary Stage will be divided into 2 semesters, for a total of 8 semesters. Each student would take 5 to 6 subjects each semester. There will be some essential common subjects for all, while simultaneously there will be a great flexibility in selecting elective courses (including in the arts, vocational subjects, and physical education)

Remedial education push

National Tutors Programme:

 A National Tutors Programme (NTP) will be instituted, where the best performers in each school will be drawn in the programme for up to five hours a week as tutors during the school for fellow (generally younger) students who need help. Selecting tutors from URGs whenever possible will be particularly encouraged. Being selected as a peer tutor will be considered a prestigious position, earning a certificate from the State each year that indicates the hours of service.

Remedial Instructional Aides Programme:

A Remedial Instructional Aides Programme (RIAP) will be instituted initially as a temporary 10-year project to draw instructors – especially women – from local communities to formally help students who have fallen behind and bring them back into the fold. These instructional aides would hold special remediation classes during school hours, after school hours, and during the summer for those children who have fallen so behind that they cannot catch up without an intervention; when possible, these children would be grouped by level and pace.

Encouragement of large-scale community and volunteer involvement:

Qualified volunteers (such as retired teachers and army officers, excellent students from neighboring schools, and passionate socially-conscious college graduates from across the country) will also be drawn on a large scale to join the NTP and the RIAP on an unpaid basis, during the academic year as well as in the summer, as a service to their communities and to the country. Thus the NTP and RIAP programmes will each have two modes: Conventional (consisting of peer tutors, and paid IAs from the local community) and Volunteer; both modes will be highly encouraged for the benefit of these programmes. Volunteers will also be awarded certificates from the State government or Government of India (GOI), honoring their invaluable contribution to the State and to the nation, and indicating the hours served as a tutor or IA

RTE Extension

Achieve access and participation in free and compulsory quality school education for all children in the age group of 3-18 years by 2030.

Second-chance education programmes for long-term out-of-school adolescents: In cases of children or adolescents who have been out of school for multiple years, sustained programmatic initiatives will be undertaken to provide them meaningful education and training opportunities. Access to second-chance education programmes will be enhanced by establishing equivalency and bridging programmes, recognised and accredited by the school education system, wherever remedial programmes such NTP and RIAP are insufficient.

Allowing multiple models for schools, and loosening the input restrictions of the RTE Act: To make it easier for both governments as well as non-governmental philanthropic organisations to build schools, to encourage local variations on account of culture, geography, and demographics, and to allow alternative models of education such as gurukulas, paathshaalas, madrasas, and home schooling, the RTE Act requirements for schools will be made substantially less restrictive. The focus will be to have less emphasis on input and greater emphasis on output potential with respect to desired learning outcomes. Regulations on inputs will be limited to ensuring safety of children (both physical and psychological), access and inclusion, the non-profit nature of schools, and minimum standards for learning outcomes. Enabling the construction of quality schools by all parties with greater flexibility will create greater educational choices for students and healthy competition among schools, leading to enhanced access to more and higher-quality schools (including higher-quality government schools). Other models for schools will also be piloted, such as philanthropic-public partnerships.

Extension of the RTE Act to include secondary education: The availability of free and compulsory quality secondary education (Grades 9-12; typically ages 14-18) will be included as an integral part of the RTE Act to ensure that, by 2030; all students enrol and participate in quality school education through Grade 12

School Complex: The new administrative school zone

Schools are grouped into school complexes to facilitate the sharing of resources and render school governance more local, effective, and efficient.

The suggestion to create a larger group structure called the school complex, consisting of one secondary school together with all other schools offering lower grades in its neighbourhood, a radius of five to ten miles, was first made by the Education Commission (1964–66) but was left unimplemented. Here we adopt and extend the ideas for the utility of school complexes.

The aim is to provide peer support to principals and teachers of individual schools and thereby end their isolation. By additionally devolving various administrative, organisational, governance-related, and management-related responsibilities to the school complex, it will therefore become possible to:

  • Build vibrant communities of teachers, school leaders, and other supporting staff;
  • Better integrate education
  • Public school complexes: Multiple public schools will be brought together in an organisational and administrative unit called the school complex. This will not require physical relocation of schools. Each individual school that is viable in size will continue to function even as it is integrated administratively into a school complex.
  • The school complex will become the basic unit of educational administration of the public school system, and will be developed accordingly.
  • a. The school complex will be used to break the severe isolation in which teachers at small schools function today. It will create a community of teachers and principals who can meet face-to-face and work together to support each other – academically and administratively.
  • b. School complexes will also enable administrators at all levels of the State government to function more effectively, since each complex will be treated as a single unit, with substantial autonomy and independence, thus reducing the span of direct management.
  • c. While each individual school will be adequately resourced, the introduction of complexes will enable substantially better resourcing across all schools in the complex due to the ability to share resources e.g. teachers for all subjects and grades, more books for libraries, better equipped laboratories and sports facilities. Students will be able to get all the facilities they need until Grade 12, within their own school complex.

Composition of the school complex: Each school complex will be a semi-autonomous unit that will offer education from the Foundational stage (age 3-8 years) till Grade 12 (age 18). The complex will consist of one secondary school (covering Grades 9-12) and all the public schools in its neighbourhood that offer education from pre-primary till Grade 8. All the schools that are part of a complex will be chosen due to their proximity to each other, forming a logical geographical group. If for any reason a school complex does not have a secondary school where Grades 9-12 are being taught, then these grades must be introduced in one of the schools. The school complexes will also have pre-school centres/Anganwadis, vocational education facilities, an Adult Education Centre (AEC) etc., associated with them.

School infrastructure: While each individual school will be resourced adequately for their basic functioning, school complexes can house shared facilities and equipment at the secondary school that cannot be provided separately to each individual school. For audio-video systems with a portable generator can be taken around from school to school. Similarly, the secondary school may have a good laboratory, musical instruments, and playgrounds with sports equipment that students from the pre-primary, primary, and upper primary schools in the complex may be given access to on a regular basis. The secondary school can maintain a large circulating library from which books can be sent out to schools in the neighbourhood. All shared resources will be in the charge of the principal of the secondary school who will ensure their optimal use.

Teachers: Teachers can also be shared among the schools in the complex. Areas/subjects, which by the nature of the curriculum, do not require a teacher for every school (accounting for the number of students), may have teachers appointed to the overall school complex thus making it possible for resourcing to happen optimally. For instance, language teachers, sports teachers, art and music teachers, yoga teachers, school nurses, and counsellors can all be appointed to the staff of the secondary school and be shared across the schools in the complex.

It is generally difficult to provide leave substitutes for teachers in primary schools, because of the small sizes of the schools. The problem becomes acute in single teacher schools where, if the teacher is on leave, no education can happen. With the school complex concept, it will become possible to attach one or two leave reserve teachers to the secondary school so that they can be sent to schools within the complex as and when the need arises. School complexes shall have adequate numbers of teachers for all areas/subjects in the curriculum on behalf of all schools within the complex.

Social workers: Adequate numbers of social workers will be appointed

Transport will be provided within the school complex for students as well as teachers to ensure safe access (bicycles, buses and other means as needed).

Assessment & Examination

A new paradigm of assessment for learning and development: Guidelines will be prepared by NCERT, and teachers prepared, for a transformation in the assessment system by 2022, to align with the NCF 2020. The focus will be on formative assessment, i.e., assessment for learning.

Census examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8: To track students’ progress throughout their school experience, and not just at the end in Grade 10 and 12 – for the benefit of students, parents, teachers, principals, and school management committees in planning improvements to schools and teaching-learning processes – all students will take State census examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 in addition to the Board Examinations in Grades 10 and

Restructuring of Board Examinations: Board Examinations will be significantly restructured to test only core concepts, skills, and higher order capacities in a range of required subjects and a range of elective subjects of the student’s choice. The goal will be to be flexible, like the curriculum, and to design the Board Examinations so that any student attending classes in their chosen subjects and making basic efforts in these classes will be able to comfortably pass their Board Examinations – without any necessity for coaching, cramming, or other major outside-of-usual-schoolwork efforts. Board Examinations will thus be used.

Skill education boost

No hard separation of “vocational” and “academic” streams: The curricula for elementary and secondary education will ensure that there will be no hard separation of “vocational” and “academic” streams as all students will have the opportunity of developing both kinds of capacities. With the rapidly changing economic scenarios, fundamental capacities have become even more important than specific skills. Pre-vocational orientation – exposure to different vocations – will begin during the elementary stage, and will be available to every child. Learning will primarily be experiential and will aim at fostering respect for a variety of professions. All students will take vocational courses which will be an integral part of the formal curriculum, and will give learners in-depth exposure to areas such as agriculture, electronics, local trades and crafts, etc. The areas of emphasis will be identified by careful planning at the district level, and schools will be provided adequate infrastructure and resources to deliver rigorous vocational education in these areas.

Survey course on vocational skills and crafts in Grades 6, 7, or 8: Every student will take a fun year-long course, during Grades 6-8, that gives a survey and hands-on experience of a sampling of important vocational crafts such as carpentry, electric work, metal work, gardening, pottery making, etc., as decided by States and local communities and as mapped by local skilling needs.

Include ample vocational course options for all in secondary school curriculum: Vocational courses in addition to more traditional academic courses will be offered in Grades 9-12 in secondary school and all children will have access to all courses on offer. Students will have plenty of choice regarding the curriculum, being allowed to mix and match academics with skills education, with sports and arts, and with soft skills training.

Department of Education is boss, but independent regulator is on the way

Apex body for policy and overall coordination: The Department of Education of the State will be the apex policy making body and shall also be responsible for policy and the overall coordination and monitoring of the system

A single independent regulator for the school education sector: An independent SSRA will be established to handle all aspects of school regulation including the oversight of the school system and implementation of Accreditation. SSRA will be a body similar to NHERA.

The newly constituted SSRA will be the sole regulator for the school sector in the State. SSRA shall be governed by an independent board, consisting of 10-15 members with expertise in education and other relevant areas, with high integrity and an unimpeachable track record. The SSRA will report to the RjSA, in the absence of which it will report to the Chief Minister of the State.

a. The RjSA (or CM) shall appoint the chairperson and the board members, each of who will not have more than two consecutive terms of 3 years.

Less Stress, flexibility and integration paradigm

Increased flexibility in choice of subjects: Students will be given an increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study, particularly in secondary school – including subjects in physical education, the arts, and vocational crafts – so that they may be free to design their own paths of study and life plans. Continuing holistic development and a wide choice of subjects and courses year to year will be the new distinguishing feature of secondary school education.

No hard separation of content in terms of curricular, extra-curricular, or co-curricular areas: All school subjects will be considered curricular rather than extra-curricular or co-curricular, including sports, yoga, dance, music, drawing, painting, sculpting, pottery making, woodworking, gardening, and electric work. NCERT will prepare syllabi and textbooks as per the National Curriculum Framework, to incorporate these subjects into the national curriculum, which the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) in States may edit, supplement, and rewrite as per States’ needs. Subjects such as physical education, the arts, and vocational crafts will be seriously incorporated throughout the school curriculum, with a consideration for what is interesting and safe at each age.

No hard separation of arts and sciences: All students will have the opportunity to engage deeply in the arts and humanities as well as in the study of the sciences and social sciences. Such a separation will be discouraged in higher education as well

Reduce curriculum load in each subject to its essential core content. The mandated contents in the curriculum will be reduced, in each subject area, to its core, focussing on key concepts and essential ideas. This will thereby yield more space for discussion and nuanced understanding, analysis, and application of key concepts. Teaching and learning will strive to be conducted in a more interactive manner; questions will be encouraged, and classroom sessions will regularly contain more fun, creative, collaborative, and exploratory activities for students for deeper and more experiential learning.

Teachers are important

Periodic (annual or higher frequency) performance appraisal of teachers: The SPST will form the basis for the performance appraisal of teachers. Such an appraisal will be carried out by the head teacher and the head of the school complex, and similarly for the head teacher by the head of the school complex and the Block Education Officer (BEO). All heads of school complexes will be appraised by the BEO and District Education Officer (DEO). All appraisals will be based on carefully recorded multiple sources of evidence, comprising minimally of school visits, school records and classroom observations, peer review, and feedback on progress of students. The appraisal must be endorsed by the SMC. The details of this process will delineated by the SCERTs by 2022 for each State.

Every B.Ed. programme will be affiliated with 10-15 local schools where student-teacher internships would take place. Each student in a B.Ed. programme will go through a period of student teaching at one of these schools where she/he would be placed with a mentoring teacher – first observing the mentor’s class, then teaching students in the mentor’s classroom with feedback from the mentor, and also carrying out remedial work or other teaching-related tasks under the mentor’s guidance.

Reinvigoration of CRCs, BRCs and DIETs: The CRCs, BRCs, and DIETs will provide educational support to teachers and schools in their geographies, for all stages of school education including early childhood education, and for vocational education. This will include support to CPD of teachers and school leaders, support in development and access to effective teaching-learning material, support in development of the SDP and SCDP and its execution on the academic matters, etc.

Extras

Sanskrit language promotion

Sanskrit will be offered at all levels of school and higher education as one of the optional languages on par with all Schedule 8 languages. Sanskrit textbooks at the Foundational and Middle school level may be rewritten in Simple Standard Sanskrit (SSS) in order to teach Sanskrit through Sanskrit (STS) and make its study truly enjoyable.

Home language/mother tongue as medium of instruction: When possible, the medium of instruction – at least until Grade 5 but preferably till at least Grade 8 – will be the home language/mother tongue/local language.

Learning science bilingually: Students whose medium of instruction is the local/home language will begin to learn science bilingually in Grade 8 or earlier, so that by the end of Grade 10 they can speak about science both in their home language and English.

Incorporation of Indian knowledge systems into the curriculum: Indian contributions to knowledge – and the historical contexts that led to them – will be incorporated in an accurate and engaging manner, wherever relevant, into the existing school curriculum and textbooks. Topics will include Indian contributions to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, psychology, yoga, architecture, medicine, as well as governance, polity, society, and conservation.

Inclusion of local and tribal knowledge systems in the curriculum and textbooks: Local and tribal knowledge systems will also be included in more detail in regions where such knowledge systems may hold a greater relevance with respect to local needs and customs.

Course on Indian knowledge systems: A course on Indian knowledge systems (one such has already previously been designed by NCERT) will be available as an elective to students in secondary school who may wish to delve deeper into the subject.

Establish topic-centered and project-based clubs at the school, school complex, block, and district levels: A system of Topic-centered and Project-based Clubs and Circles in Mathematics, Science, Music, Chess, Poetry, Language, Literature, Debate, Sports, etc. will be set up and funded in accordance with student needs in various localities, in order to foster singular interests and talents of students across the country. Teachers along with students would be encouraged to apply for such clubs where sufficient interest is present; further funding would be based on attend

Yoga promotion

Incorporating physical education, mind-and-body wellness, and sports into the curriculum starting at the Foundational stage: All students at all levels of school will have regular periods and opportunities to participate in physical activity and exercise, including sports, games, yoga, martial arts, dance, gardening, and more, in accordance with local availability of teachers and facilities. Playgrounds and sports fields will be available – if not on the school grounds, then within the school complex region, with suitable transport provided if needed – so that all students have the opportunity to participate and excel in sports. Joint sports activities and competitions between schools within the school complex and across school complexes will be fostered and encouraged.

Integration of digital literacy: The new curriculum will also integrate digital literacy for all learners at the basic level, with hands-on assessments and worksheets keeping in mind the available digital infrastructure on the ground.

At a more advanced level, curricula will be developed for:

a. Computational thinking (the thought processes involved in formulating problems and solutions in ways that computers can effectively execute), a fundamental skill in the digital age;

b. Programming and other computer-based activities.

Appropriate learning outcomes will be formulated as part of the National Curricular Framework in these subjects, and they will be extensively offered as courses in upper primary and secondary schools with adequate computing and teacher resources.

and throughout their school years.

Keeping up General Knowledge

Course on critical issues facing the community, the country, and the world for all students in Grades 7-8: All students in Grades 7 and 8 will take a course (one period per week, for one session) on Critical Issues facing humans in their communities and around the world. In this class, students would learn about current issues that they will likely need to face and hopefully address in their futures as adults, including those surrounding climate change, sanitation, water, Swacch Bharat, gender equality, social justice, science and its interaction with society, universal education, and, e.g. problems with this national education policy. The focus would be on content that is slightly dynamic but still introductory in nature in order to get students acquainted with the issues, and their potential solutions, that require awareness and attention from society. This course would also encourage communication, and serve as a discussion group where students would speak a few sentences to the class about their viewpoints, concerns, experiences, and aspirations relating to the topics in question

Strengthening madrasas, maktabs, and other traditional or religious schools, and modernising their curriculum: Existing traditional or religious schools, such as madrasas, maktabs, gurukuls, pathshalas, and religious schools from the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and other traditions may be encouraged to preserve their traditions and pedagogical styles, but at the same time must be supported to also integrate the subject and learning areas prescribed by the National Curricular Framework into their curricula in order to reduce and eventually eliminate the underrepresentation of children from these schools in higher education. The programmes being implemented to encourage traditional or religious institutions to modernise their curriculum will be expanded and strengthened:

a. Financial assistance will be provided to introduce science, mathematics, social studies, Hindi, English, or other relevant languages in their curriculum in order to enable children studying in traditional cultural or religious schools to attain the learning outcomes defined for Grades 1-12.

b. Students in madrasas, maktabs, and other traditional or religious institutions such as schools in Buddhist monasteries, etc. will be allowed and indeed encouraged to appear for State Board Examinations

Inclusion of children with special needs in regular schools: One of the priority areas of action in regard to education programmes for CWSN will continue to be mainstreaming them in neighborhood schools and supporting their participation in the schooling process from the Foundational stage through Grade 12.

Role of social workers and counsellors: Social workers and counsellors will be hired to school complexes to work with students – and their parents, teachers, tutors, IAs, and community members – to help ensure the retention in school and the mental health of all children.

Mobilisation of the local community and of volunteers: Teachers, parents, students, community members, and the public must and will be made aware of this urgent national mission to end the learning crisis, and of the resulting opportunities available for community and volunteer involvement. Large-scale public service announcements, media campaigns, and direct communications between schools and their communities in this direction will be prioritised to maximise involvement of passionate citizens across the country; this will also help recruit community members and volunteers for the NTP and RIAP.

(please note the order of items is not as per original document. Readers are encouraged to read original document for details. )