The Union government plans to create a benchmark framework for assessing students at the secondary and higher secondary levels.
The aim is to achieve uniformity among state and central boards, which now use diverse evaluation criteria, resulting in huge differences in scores.
The proposed regulator, PARAKH – Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development, will work to eliminate the emphasis on rote learning that the NEP envisions.
- An NEP is a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in the country.
- The first education policy came in 1968 on the recommendation of the Education Commission, headed by D S Kothari.
- The second education policy came in 1986, which was replaced by the third education policy – NEP 2020.
About the NEP 2020 –
- The NEP 2020 was drafted based on the recommendations of a panel led by former ISRO chief Kasturirangan.
- The policy is a comprehensive framework for elementary to higher education, as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India.
- The policy aims to transform India’s education system by 2040.
How will the NEP 2020 be implemented?
- The NEP only provides a broad direction and is not mandatory to follow.
- Since education is a concurrent subject, the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states.
- The current government has set a goal of implementing the entire policy by 2040.
PARAKH: Background –
- Recently, the NCERT convened a series of meetings with representatives from state boards and SCERTs to reach an agreement on how to implement the plan, which includes the establishment of a new assessment regulator.
- During the discussions, most states endorsed the NEP proposals —
- To hold board exams twice a year, including one for helping students improve their scores.
- To offer two types of papers on mathematics – a standard exam and another to test higher level competency, to reduce the fear of maths among students and encourage learning.
- To have two sets of question papers for most subjects – one with multiple choice questions (MCQs) and the other descriptive.
- As a result, the Union Ministry of Education recently invited bids to establish a regulator – PARAKH.
- The benchmark assessment framework – PARAKH, has been proposed by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, to put an end to the emphasis on rote learning.
- PARAKH will act as a constituent unit of the NCERT and will be tasked with –
- Setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards of India.
- Holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
- If the plans are on track, the NAS in 2024 will be conducted by PARAKH.
- PARAKH team will consist of leading assessment experts with a deep understanding of the education system in India and internationally.
- PARAKH will eventually become the national single-window source for all assessment-related information and expertise, with a mandate to assist all forms of learning assessment, both nationally and globally, where relevant.
- Uniformity — PARAKH will contribute to addressing the issue of students from some state boards being at a disadvantage during college admissions when compared to their peers from CBSE schools.
- Standardisation — It will establish and implement technical standards for test design, administration, analysis and reporting at all levels of schooling.
- Skill development — It will encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.