A look at important developments in school education in the decade

As the decade nears its end, we try and look back to find out how these past years have contributed to the evolution of education in the country.

The decade saw several developments and shifts in the arena of school education. While the nation witnessed the opening of new higher education institutions like AIIMS, IITs and IIMs, the schools saw the coming of student-centric approaches and the new education policy. The overhauling of the education policy and strategies were also aimed to upgrade the skills of the students and enhance the employability.

In 2010, the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) was enacted and it set the stage of significant developments in the education sector.

RTE, limitations, and Amendments

The RTE Act grants the right of free and compulsory for children between 6 and 14 in India. The act lays down the provision of 25% reservation of seats for the children hailing from the disadvantaged sections of the society in private schools. In addition to that, the act also mandated that no student shall be detained in classes 5 and 8. The provision was amended in 2017(second amendment).

The RTE act garnered support and criticism alike. The later years of the decade saw protests from two ends of the spectrum. One demanded further broadening of the act to allow the inclusion of free education till class 12, while the other advocated for the dilution of the act citing its unfair terms for the private schools. Effective implementation of the act has also remained in doubt and several states found significant number of seats in the schools going vacant.

CBSE brings in new subjects and issues new guidelines

The CBSE took cognizance of the fact that there is a palpable gap between the desired and acquired skill –set of the students passing out of the schools and entering higher education. The limits to the employability of students was also a factor that was considered. The board reviewed the curriculum, assessment methods and examination pattern to better suit the needs of the 21st century.

In 2019 alone, CBSE introduced three new subjects - artificial intelligence (AI), early childhood care education and yoga.

As far as the examination pattern goes, the board started two mathematics papers for class 10 instead of one – Basic Mathematics, and Standard Mathematics. The idea behind the redesigning was to offer flexibility in the curriculum by giving students who do not wish to continue with math at higher levels to opt for 'Basic Mathematics'. The students who wish to pursue math at higher levels were given the option of 'Standard Mathematics'.

'TAMANNA' portal was also introduced by the board as a part of the series of counselling methodologies. It also included a compendium of courses offered in approximately 900 universities and over 41,000 colleges in the country.

New Education Policy

Draft New Education Policy submission was made to the MHRD in May 2019. The framing of the policy began in 2015. ‘Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy' under the Chairmanship of Late Mr. T.S.R. Subramanian, Former Cabinet Secretary, was set up and inputs from several stakeholders were factored in.

NEP has been subject to constant review and deliberations from several quarters and is expected to come into force by mid-2020. Important recommendations include, increased budget allocation for the education, broadening of the RTE to cover children in the 3-18 age group and introduction of board examinations in class 3,5 and 8.

Sports Education and 'Fit India'

Physical education and sports in schools found a new dimension in this decade. CBSE heralded the change by introducing one compulsory period for health and physical education for classes 1 to 8 each day. In addition to this, the schools affiliated to the CBSE also took part in the fitness week celebrated in November 2019 and became a part of the ‘Fit India’ project.

‘Fit India School grading system’ was also launched in 2019. The Fit India School rankings have been divided into three categories – The Fit India Schools, which is the first level of ranking, Fit India School (3 star) and Fit India School (5 star).

Swachh Vidyalaya Ranking

To felicitate the schools that have exemplified the maintenance water, sanitation and hygiene, Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar was launched in 2016-17.

The standards that were laid for the schools with regard to WASH standards include, separate toilets for girls and boys, and potable water are some of the basic provisions made for school children in the RTE Act.


Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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