NEP 2020: Policies on Learning Environment in Schools

Learning Environment

Introduction:

An environment that is conducive to learning is critical for an efficient Education System. The environment must be safe, neat & clean, peaceful, caring, tolerant, impartial, steady, corrective but not punishing, accountable, warm, responsive and inclusive. All these properties assume greater importance when it comes to School Education (from the pre-school stage to the pre-university stage) because that’s when the System either makes or breaks young minds!

The environment must prepare Students with the necessary Life Skills besides academic skills. India’s NEP 2020 takes great care to address the common issues related to the learning Environment, and proposes measures to keep it in top shape & form. The new Education System takes over a kid when she or he is just three years old, and that certainly puts enormous responsibility on the System.

That the local community of every School is considered a significant part of the Learning Environment, is a core aspect of India’s NEP 2020.
Local community
The environment significantly affects and controls every element of the Education System, NEP 2020 rightly observes.

Document Referred: National Education Policy 2020 (PDF format – 60 pages) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The NEP 2020 is a vast document, with elaborate sections of “School Education”, “Higher Education”, “Other Key Areas of Focus” (like ‘Adult Education‘) and “Making it Happen” (implementation). We (Miracle Learning Solutions) attempt to briefly cover every important point of this detailed policy document, in our own words. For easy reading, we have divided this large document into multiple parts, and this part (Part 5) addresses “School Education: Policies on the Learning Environment”.

To read the other parts, please use the links below:

NEP 2020: Introduction & Overview of School Education Policies
NEP 2020: Student-centric Policies in School Education
NEP 2020: Teacher-centric Policies in School Education
NEP 2020: Policies on School Infrastructure

 

An Ideal Schooling Environment, as envisaged by NEP 2020:

Learning Environment

 

What are the important environment-related policies/remarks in NEP 2020?

  1. The environment must support the mission to eliminate “rote learning” (by-heart learning), and must favor the student-centric objective “learn how to learn”.
  2. Every attribute of the Environment must promote “discovery-based learning”.
  3. It must allow multi-disciplinary learning, pushing a holistic approach to education.
  4. The environment should enliven the feel of India, its heroes and honor, in the minds of Students.
  5. The Local community must be considered a part of the Schooling Environment.
  6. It must set the stage for a simplified curriculum & highly-engaging pedagogy.
  7. It ought to minimize student drop-out cases, and help bring drop-outs back to Schools.
  8. Students with impaired abilities and disadvantaged backgrounds must find better support in the Environment.
  9. The Learning Environment must empower teachers.
    empower teachers
  10. It must discourage commercialization of Education and involvement of money-minded Private parties.
  11. Vocational training and development of soft skills, cognitive skills & life skills must be highly enabled by the Environment.
  12. It must take good care of the physical & mental health of Students.
  13. The environment must promote scientific temper, peer-tutoring attitude and sportsman spirit among Students.
  14. It must always be in sync with Digital Technology and modern technological trends.
  15. It must have the commitment to uphold India’s “Unity in diversity” principle.
  16. It must not allow disparity in any form. At the same time, gifted students and exceptional talents must be recognized, nurtured well, and be allowed to scale greater heights!
  17. Students must find good “role models” in the learning environment.
  18. The environment must promote the noble vision of “education to all”.


Let’s take a closer look at some of the policies on learning environment:

1. Eliminate “rote learning” (by-heart learning); emphasize the principle “Learn how to learn”:
This is in line with the requirements of the fast-paced & ever-changing world, where “smart working” is preferred over “hard working”, and where abilities to “adapt swiftly” and “innovate spontaneously” assumes critical importance. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program recommends “Discovery-based learning” & “Discussion-based learning” to achieve this objective. The environment must be adequately empowered to support these critical objectives.
Learn how to learn

2. Enhanced focus on India and the Student’s own locality:
The policy-makers emphatically state the importance of developing interest, respect and appreciation for India, in every student’s mind. Every school’s own locality must also be studied, along with its own heroes and the worthy. The learning environment has to set the stage for this to happen.

3. Developing soft skills, cognitive skills & Life skills:
The environment must support adequate training in soft / cognitive / Life skills like teamwork, communication, resilience, emotional intelligence, problem-solving techniques, creativity, critical thinking, ethics, spirit of service, democratic spirit, cleanliness, courtesy, etiquette, scientific temper, empathy, compassion, courage, perseverance & grit, liberty, responsibility, pluralism, equality, justice, tolerance, human rights, gender equality, non-violence, crisis management and leadership.

4. The idea of School Complexes / Clusters:
NEP 2020 proposes School Complexes or Clusters to improve the standard of Learning Environment.
School Clusters

Within a radius of 5 to 10 miles, there can be one Secondary School and multiple schools that offer foundational / preparatory / middle school grades. Resources like Libraries, science laboratories & equipment, computer labs, sports facilities & equipment, Hostels, Housing area, Play grounds etc can be shared. Teachers, counselors, technical and maintenance staff can be shared; extracurricular activities can be grouped & improved; various clubs/circles to promote healthy competition and peer-tutoring among students can be formed. Examples of such clubs/circles could be Science Circles, Math Circles, Music Performance Circles, Chess Circles, Poetry Circles, Language Circles, Drama Circles, Debate Circles and Sports Circles. These can certainly improve the standard of the Learning Environment to a great extent.

Improved support for children with disabilities can be given in School Clusters.

5. The role of the Local Community:
The local community of every School or School Cluster can play a major role in setting up the right environment for holistic education. Vocational training and Life skills training will be more effective with the active participation of the local community.

6. Measures to minimize expenses by parents:
expenses
The overall education environment must not cause financial burden on parents.

NEP 2020 ensures free education to the disadvantaged and under-privileged. The simplified curriculum, assessment criteria and overall learning approach does not require special coaching/tuition for Students, which can save money for parents. Lesser number of text books, together with the provision to print PDFs, can save more money. Then, NEP 2020 has another program called “Adult Education”, using which parents can pick up skills to tutor their kids, which can further reduce the education expenses.

 

Conclusion:
Conclusion
A good Learning Environment is not just good buildings or locality. It comprises competent teachers & supporting staff, quality education policies or principles, decent infrastructure, supportive local community, peaceful ambiance, efficient administrative & governing machinery, sincere commitment to the principles of Equity & Inclusion, and great collaboration by all parties. It is inclusive of every element in the Education System, which NEP 2020 recognizes and gives great importance to.

 

NEP 2020: Introduction & Overview of School Education Policies
NEP 2020: Student-centric Policies in School Education
NEP 2020: Teacher-centric Policies in School Education
NEP 2020: Policies on School Infrastructure

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