Universal access to quality education is fundamental for developing an equitable and just society, promoting national development, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation. Department of School Education and Literacy through its autonomous/Statutory bodies, i.e. CBSE, KVS, JNV, NIOS and NCTE and its centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha, PM Poshan, Padhna Likhna Abhiyan and central sector scheme of National Means cum Merit Scholarships is committed to create a quality education system, with particular focus on historically marginalized, disadvantaged, and underrepresented groups that acts as a great leveller and is the best tool for achieving economic and social mobility, inclusion, and equality.

The brief details of the schemes implemented by the D/o SE&L are as follows:

I. Samagra Shiksha an integrated scheme covering all classes from pre-primary to senior secondary and PM POSHAN scheme have been aligned with the recommendations of NEP 2020. Samagra Shiksha covers 11.68 lakh schools, around 15.62 crore students and 57.67 lakh Teachers of Govt. and Aided schools (up to senior secondary level). The major objectives of the Scheme are: (i) Support States and UTs in implementing the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020); (ii) Support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009; (iii) Focus on Early Childhood Care and Education (iv) Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (v) Thrust on Holistic, Integrated, Inclusive and activity based Curriculum and Pedagogy to impart 21st century skills among the students; (vi) Provision of quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students; (vi) Bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education; (vii) Ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of school education; (ix) Strengthening and up-gradation of State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)/State Institutes of Education and District Institutes for Education and Training (DIET) as a nodal agency for teacher training; (x) Ensuring safe, secure and conducive learning environment and minimum standards in schooling provisions; and (xi) Promoting vocational education. Samagra Shiksha is providing support for implementation of major NEP recommendations such as emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, provision for Holistic Progress Card (HPC), Capacity building of teachers (50 Hrs CPD), Bagless days and internships, support for OOSC in age group of 16- 19 years, Separate stipend for CWSN girl child, identification of CWSN and Resource Centre at block level, expansion of schooling facilities including Residential Hostels, KGBVs, and vocational education etc.

II. Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN) Scheme is aimed to improve the nutritional status of children studying in Bal vatika (just before class I) – VIII in Government and Government-Aided Schools. It encourages poor children belonging to disadvantaged sections to attend school more regularly and help them to concentrate on classroom activities.

III. National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS): The ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS) is a Central Sector Scheme to provide scholarships for meritorious students of classes IX to XII. The objective of the scheme is to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue their study and complete secondary stage. The scheme envisages award of one lakh fresh scholarships every year to selected students of class IX and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools under the scheme.

IV. Padhna Likhna Abhiyan: The primary objective of Padhna Likhna Abhiyan is to impart functional literacy to 57 lakh adult illiterates aged 15 and above under a Basic Literacy Programme. Adult Education in the Indian context, extends educational option to those adults, who have lost the opportunity of getting an education and transcended the age for formal education, and now feel a need for pursuing basic education, vocational education (skill development), equivalency, physical and emotional development, practical arts, applied science, or recreation. The Abhiyan will focus on women, Schedules Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Minorities, other disadvantaged groups and aspirational districts.

Further, The National Education Policy: 2020, has been founded on the five guiding pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability to prepare our youth to meet the diverse national and global challenges of the present and the future. NEP 2020 looks at school and higher education as a single organic continuum, and is rooted in the Indian ethos and constitutional values with simultaneous emphasis on the imbibing of 21st century skills.

The National Education Policy envisages to implement its objectives by laying emphasis on 10 important areas/themes.

1. Planning and preparing roadmaps: NEP: 2020 envisages long term planning for each aspect to ensure proper implementation. It envisions School Development Plan, Pedagogical Plan, Implementation plan for attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy, Lesson Plans keeping with real-life situations for the student to be able to attain competency in a given area. It also gives priority to the children with special needs and gifted children and proposes Plan for tracking each child, New pattern of exams, and New pedagogies.

2. Access & Retention: As mentioned in NEP: 2020, 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio in school education by 2030 will be achieved through various measures to be adopted as per context in each state/UT. The goal is that no school is to remain deficient on infrastructure support from pre-primary school to Grade 12. This will be accompanied by careful tracking of students as well as their learning levels, to achieve universal participation in schools. Multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes shall also be established

3. Frameworks & Guidelines: A new and comprehensive National Curricular Framework for School Education, ECCE, Teacher Education and Adult Education is being formulated based on the vision of NEP 2020. These National Curricular Frameworks will ensure no hard separation among ‘curricular’, ‘extracurricular’, or ‘co-curricular’, among ‘arts’, ‘humanities’, and ‘sciences’, or between ‘vocational’or ‘academic’streams. Curriculum content will be reduced in each subject to its core essentials, and make space for critical thinking and more holistic, inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis-based learning.

4. Improvement in quality of Teachers: A technology-based comprehensive teacher-requirement planning forecasting exercise will be conducted by each State to assess expected subject-wise teacher vacancies over the next two decades and Teacher Eligibility Tests (TETs) will be strengthened to inculcate better test material, both in terms of content and pedagogy. The TETs will also be extended to cover teachers across all stages (Foundational, Preparatory, Middle and Secondary) of school education.

5. Development of Resources: NEP: 2020 underscore the importance of high quality resources and their accessibility to all. High quality and diversified Student and Teacher Resources/Learning Materials, including e-learning resources (DIKSHA), equipped labs, availability of Well-trained Sports teachers, Art, craft and vocational resources, Counsellors, Special Educators and Libraries both online and offline would be made available for learners.

6. Capacity Building: Teachers will be given continuous opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations and advances in their professions. Each teacher will be expected to participate in at least 50 hours of CPD opportunities every year for their own professional development, driven by their own interests. CPD opportunities will, in particular, systematically cover the latest pedagogies regarding foundational literacy and numeracy, formative and adaptive assessment of learning outcomes, competency-based learning, and related pedagogies, such as experiential learning, arts-integrated, sports-integrated, and storytelling-based approaches, etc.

7. Innovative Pedagogies: Pedagogy will be evolved to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centred, discussion-based, flexible, and, of course, enjoyable. Pedagogy reform across all stages will be to move the education system towards real understanding and towards learning how to learn - and away from the culture of rote learning as is largely present today. The aim of education will not only be cognitive development, but also building character and creating holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st century skills.

8. Standards: In order to ensure equivalence of academic standards among learners across all school, PARAKH an autonomous body of Ministry of Education will prepare national guidelines on assessment standards to be achieved. National Professional Standards for Teachers (NPST) will be developed to cover expectations of the role of the teacher at different levels of expertise/stage, and the competencies required for that stage. 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).The transparent disclosure of all financial, academic, and operational matters will be expected by schools through SSSA.

9. Assessment & Evaluation: The aim of assessment in the culture of our schooling system will shift from one that is summative and primarily tests rote memorization skills to one that is more regular and formative, is more competency-based, promotes learning and development for our students, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity. The progress card will be a holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report that reflects in great detail the progress as well as the uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. It will include self-assessment and peer assessment, and progress of the child in project-based and inquiry-based learning, quizzes, role plays, group work, portfolios, etc., along with teacher assessment. The Board exams and entrance exams shall be reformed and will be redesigned to encourage holistic development; students will be able to choose many of the subjects in which they take Board exams, depending on their individualized interests. Board exams will also be made ‘easier’, to test primarily core capacities/competencies.

10. Cross cutting theme and Non-Negotiables: NEP signifies the importance of integration of various themes such as New curriculum and pedagogical structure, no hard separation between arts and science, Flexibility, convergence, use of technology at all stages and focus on Socio-economic disadvantageous group. There are certain areas which are non-negotiable and are focal point of National Education Policy, these are Child centric interventions, Teachers quality, Safe, Secure, inclusive and conducive learning environment, innovative pedagogies, activity-based learning and transparency at all level.