In a revolutionary move, the Narendra Modi-led central government replaced a 34-year-old National Policy on Education, framed in 1986, with the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020, on July 29. 

Ever since, it has been the talk of the town with parents and students trying to comprehend the impact of the new policy. Bringing a sea of change, most educators suggest that the NEP is ambitious and futuristic. 

Approved by the union cabinet, the policy makes sweeping reforms in school and higher education including teaching and curriculum. 

As discussed in our previous blogs, curriculum establishes the foundation for your child’s future. Thus, it’s more than important for you to understand how every change in the National Education Policy 2020 impacts your child’s education. 

Let’s start with the history and initiation of the policy. 

What is the National Education Policy? 

National Education Policy is a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in the country. Till date, there have been 3 NEPs: 

  •  The first came in 1968 and the second in 1986 under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi governments respectively. 
  • The NEP of 1986 was revised in 1992 when P V Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister. 
  • The third is the NEP released on Wednesday.

A panel headed by ISRO chief K Kasturirangan had submitted a draft in December 2018, which was open for public feedback.

Now released, the new NEP will not just change the way a student studies but also the way examinations are conducted and the final assessment is provided. There will be a lot more flexibility to choose subjects in schools and colleges.

What needs to be noted, as a parent, is that the new policy will bring major reforms in the way the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) functions. In a way, the board is stepping up to the international curriculum options by providing holistic and skill-based learning. 

The changes will boost multidisciplinary education that is more aligned with the global system. Additionally, the process will continue even in higher education with all institutes set to become multidisciplinary and focussed on research.

This leaves you with the BIG question: How does the National Education Policy 2020 change CBSE curriculum & how does it affect your decision for your child? 

‘How do I choose the right curriculum for my child NOW?’

To answer the question, let’s understand each of the key changes being brought into the Indian education system with NEP 2020. We will help you analyse how CBSE is gearing up to offer international-level education. 

1. Grade Division & Structure 

Introducing 3 years of pre-schooling, the National Education Policy 2020 has taken a similar approach like Cambridge and IB, which also offer dedicated Primary Year Programs. 

Dismantling the age-old 10+2 concept, the policy pitches for a “5+3+3+4” design corresponding to the age groups 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 (preparatory), 11-14 (middle), and 14-18 (secondary). This brings early childhood education (also known as pre-school education for children of ages 3 to 5) under the umbrella of formal schooling. 

Changing the pedagogical structure from a 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system is in line with international educational standards. Prof Mahadeo Jaiswal, Director, IIM Sambalpur (Source: India Today)


The ‘foundational’ age-group has been recognised globally as the crucial stage for the development of children during their early years. This way, CBSE is on the same level as other international curricula. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with 3 years of Anganwadi/pre-schooling.

Also Read: Expert Guide to International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum [Everything You Need To Know]

2. Assessments & Evaluation

CBSE has always been known for its rote learning and memory-based assessments of students. This was a major setback for most parents like you, who have understood the growing importance of a progressive and global approach to evaluation. 

Moreover, it was one of the reasons why many parents shifted their children to an international curriculum. However, ending that structure, there’s a major shift from summative assessment to a more competency-based regular assessment that tests analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity. 

 

It signals the end of rote learning and brings in assessments based on the application of core concepts, introduces skills from grade 6 onwards, enabling every child to have at least one skill at the end of school education. Narayanan Ramaswamy, Partner and Sector Head – Education and Skill Development, KPMG in India
(Source: India Today)


Similar to the IB curriculum, exams will not be conducted every year for your child. Instead, your child will take school examinations in grades 3, 5, and 8. Board exams for grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development as the aim.
The idea is to instil a sense of responsibility and self-evaluation among students, especially at a tender age. 

This is a welcoming and much-needed change! Additionally, it will ensure that your child is not just assessed based on her academic performance, but other factors that focus on overall personality development as well. 

A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment,
Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), will be set-up
as a standard-setting body.

 

3. School Curriculum & Pedagogy

All the efforts to make the Indian education system and curriculum more holistic will be in vain if not for the right and global-level pedagogy. Your child’s education is based on the authority they interact with and learn from on a daily basis – teachers and their method of teaching.

The new policy, rightly so, emphasises on this aspect as well. The curriculum to be adapted and developed is aimed to be more skill-based. 

Gone are the days when universities and top companies cared about academic scores alone. It’s a great thing that the government has realised this shift in global education. Thus, it is bringing it home to Indian students and parents as well. 

According to the National Education Policy 2020, the school curriculum and pedagogy will aim for the holistic development of learners by equipping them with the key 21st-century skills. Additionally, it also aims for reduction in the syllabus to enhance essential learning and critical thinking. 

It gives students increased flexibility and choice of subjects to study across Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Sports and Vocational subjects. Vocational education will start in schools from the 6th grade and will include internships. This means that your child can opt for Mathematics and Fashion or Artificial Intelligence at the same time, much like the 50+ subjects offered by IB and Cambridge.

The greater focus is on experiential learning – a key element in international education and curriculum options. This means more projects, better real-life training, more interactions and better skills.

Flexibility in Subjects: NEP 2020

With the flexibility for the choice of subject across streams, this move in the National Education Policy is aimed at building skills in the students’ subjects of interest. Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, Founder at SAI International Education Group and Advisor (Rank of Minister of State), Govt. of Odisha. (Source: India Today)

Also Read: CBSE vs ICSE: The Big Debate on the Right Curriculum

4. Power of Language 

One of the highly debated topics of the National Education Policy 2020 is the multilingualism-based shift. The policy advocates for mother-tongue/local language/regional language as the medium of instruction at least till grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond. 

Sanskrit will now be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an option for students including the 3-language formula. Other classical languages and literature of India also to be available as options. Justifying the move, the policy states that children learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their home language.

Teachers will be encouraged to use a bilingual approach, including bilingual teaching-learning materials with those students whose home language may be different from the medium of instruction. – National Education Policy 2020 states.


However, be assured that no language will be imposed on any student, as the policy suggests. 

The major development that needs to be embraced is the increase in foreign languages offered at the secondary level. Many parents like you believe that learning a foreign language is a value-add to their child’s profile, especially if the child is interested in studying abroad. So, they would give the national curriculum a skip and opt for international boards. However, the increase in foreign language options for students in the curriculum now lets you reconsider your decision. 

5. Technology in Education

We live in a tech-driven society. Almost every decision we make is influenced by technology. Many top Indian schools like Podar International School, Delhi Public School and Oakridge International School offer tech-based education. Until now, most of these schools were affiliated with international curriculum options. Only a few CBSE schools used smart boards and projectors for classroom teaching.

With the NEP’s aim to increase tech-based education, the national curriculum can provide topnotch learning to its students. The policy states that an autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, and administration. 

Appropriate integration of technology into all levels of education will be done to improve classroom processes and support teacher professional development.

Having a dedicated unit for the building of digital infrastructure, digital content and e-education needs of both school and higher education only take the curriculum a notch higher!

How Does National Education Policy 2020 Impact Your Child’s Higher Education? 

A piece of good news for parents is that the National Education Policy 2020 states that the world’s top 100 universities will be “facilitated” to operate in the country through a new law. 

This means that many foreign universities are expected to be set-up in the country in the near future. While this might take some time, what also matters is that the new policy makes CBSE a major stepping stone for students aiming to study abroad. 

Let’s look back at how CBSE students planned their education. According to Univariety’s network, CBSE has the least percentage of students opting to study abroad. Out of 31,454 students, only 1,492 went abroad for higher education. On the other hand, students from IB schools have the highest percentage – a whopping 59.6%. 

Students who opted to Study Abroad from Different Boards: NEP 2020

A couple of significant reasons include lack of skill-based education that gives international curriculum students an advantage. That apart, the exposure to flexibility in subjects and balance between academics and extracurricular activities play an important role in this difference.

However, with the National Education Policy 2020, a lot of these problems are resolved, thanks to the shift in the learning method. The national board aims to provide your child with good quality global education, making her ready for foreign universities and cultures. 

On the other hand, if your child is keen on higher education in India, there’s some good news for you as well! Under the National Education Policy 2020, undergraduate degrees will be of either 3 or 4-year duration with multiple exit options within this period. 

Also Read: An Inflation In Class 12 Marks That’s Unreal! [What Should Your Child Focus On NOW?]

The college will be mandated to give a certificate after completing 1 year in a discipline or field including vocational and professional areas, a diploma after 2 years of study, or a Bachelor’s degree after a 3-year programme.

Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set-up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. 

How Do These Factors Influence Your Decision?

For years, industry experts have pointed out myths and drawbacks of CBSE. The National Education Policy 2020 scraps most of them, making the curriculum stronger and a more viable choice among students, who are increasingly opting for international boards. 

Be it skill-based learning, better assessment procedure or flexibility and choice of subjects/streams, the board has stepped up in its standards. This leaves you with an equal if not better option among other curricula. 

As a parent, studying the 5 major elements of National Education Policy 2020 will help you understand why and how the national curriculum now gives a tough competition to other boards. 

The question is – ‘Do I choose CBSE over other boards? How do I know which one is right for my child?’

Although you’re aware of the factors, analysing if it matches your child’s dreams and aspirations are the MOST important question. 

More often than not, parents rely on advice from friends and family, whose suggestions are based on their expectations.

Find Out What Your Child Needs

We highly suggest you skip that approach and instead make a decision by yourself. 

Developed by Univariety with inputs from top CBSE educators, International Baccalaureate Organisation, Cambridge International, and University Faculty, Curriculum Selector is the world’s first curriculum evaluation program for parents that offers a scientifically researched roadmap to choosing the right curriculum for your child. 

Additionally, you will go through the following key steps that will help you make the big decision.

  • Deep Fitment Analysis

A questionnaire designed around scenarios based on different factors that help you collect your thoughts and reconsider decisions, and receive a Deep Fitment Analysis at the end.

Take A Free Test Now

  • Expert Modules

These informative modules will give you insights like the difference between each curriculum to critical skills that your child needs for the future. Here’s a sample video for you:

  • Best-Fit Curriculum Recommendations & Detailed Report

The Recommendations are based on highly reliable research data and are scientifically designed by integrating qualitative inputs with analytical methods.

Download a Sample Report

  • Personalised Counselling Session

A one-on-one review of your expectations and the report with a counsellor will help you get an interpretation of your analysis from a guidance expert.

Know More About Curriculum Selector

Summing It Up

The National Education Policy 2020 has proposed sweeping changes in the Indian education system – much-awaited and anticipated changes. Many top schools have been looking towards international boards for their global-level education. Thus, this decision by the government will encourage parents like you to consider the national curriculum as well. 

The 5 factors we discussed above play the biggest role in influencing your decision to choose the right curriculum. In our previous blogs, we have emphasised multiple times on how curriculum can make or break your child’s future. 

With these developments, you’re left with board options that are on similar levels of quality, flexibility and exposure. Thus, it’s time for you to analyse the factors and take the Curriculum Selector test to pick the best and the right fit for your child. 

Have more questions about NEP 2020 or curriculum? Ask us in the comments section!

Harini Prasad
Assistant Manager - Content at

When Harini Prasad is not busy researching about top trends in education and learning techniques for students, you will find her writing about all things fashion, travel, cinema, and music. A millennial poster-child, Harini is a former lifestyle journalist with specialisation in child rights, gender, and new media journalism. Currently, she is busy exploring the world of marketing and content creation.

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thankyou So Much,For providing so much important information in such a simple way. The work doing by univariety in the field of Education really amazing.

  2. Avatar
    S P J RAMANI Reply

    Thank you so much for the valuable information in a very clear way.

  3. Avatar

    Hi,
    I have been teaching in IB board for last some years with a thought that my subject was not justified in cbse/ssc board.
    With this NEP will Visual arts be made as a main subject during the board exams for CBSE too as it is done in IGCSE & IB?

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