From BYJU’S, Toppr, to UpGrad, how startups reacted to the new National Education Policy

By Sindhu Kashyaap|30th Jul 2020
After a span of 34 years, a panel headed by former ISRO Chief Dr K Kasturirangan, submitted the draft of the new National Education Policy to the government. The framework touches upon different aspects that will change the current education system.
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On Wednesday, July 29, the Union Cabinet approved the new National Education Policy (NEP). This policy is set to bring in a slew of changes to the current educational system. This includes reforms ranging from a reduction in school curriculum to discontinuation of the MPhil programmes.


Edtech startups - New Education Policy

A panel headed by the former ISRO Chief Dr K Kasturirangan, submitted the draft of the NEP to the Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. The new NEP has a few key aspects:


  • Board exams to be based on application and knowledge, and will be in a modular form. 


  • The MPhil courses will be discontinued.


  • Common norms for private and public higher education institutions. 


  • Except for medical and legal colleges, all the higher education institutions will be governed by a single regulator


  • The school curriculum will be reduced to core concepts and will be integrated with national education from Class VI. 


  • The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to expand to 50 percent by 2035.


  • Common entrance exams for admission to universities and higher education institutions. 


  • 100 percent GER from pre-school to secondary school in the next 10 years. 


  • Increase public spending on education to six percent of the GDP from the existing four percent. 


  • Till Class V, the mother tongue will be the medium of instruction. Report cards will be a comprehensive report on capabilities and skills, and not just statements and marks. 


YourStory spoke to different startup founders, all of whom lauded the move and added a few suggestions as well. 




Byju Raveendran, Founder and CEO, BYJU'S

The new National Education Policy’s focus on providing students flexibility and furthering digital education is timely and much needed. We believe that tech-enabled learning is the best way to achieve scale as well as maintain uniform quality irrespective of geography or physical infrastructure availability.


Emphasis on critical thinking, creativity and stronger conceptual understanding will encourage students to become self-motivated learners. This is much-needed for students to acquire skills that will prepare them for the unseen jobs of tomorrow. 


India is home to the world’s largest K-12 population and the universalisation of early school education, the push to improve gross enrollment ratio, and a renewed focus on new life skills such as coding will help create a stronger pipeline of future leaders in India.


As a proud homegrown company, the policy’s aim to instil a deep-rooted pride in being Indian and promoting India as an education hub highly resonates with us as we continue to work resolutely towards making a mark on the global map.

Ankush Singla, Co-founder, Coding Ninjas

Due to the lockdown, many students are facing challenges in attaining essential knowledge. Despite the availability of online lectures, they are unable to access the e-classes, either due to lack of devices or network connectivity. While the government is taking measures to provide education to people living in the remote areas of the country, we would really request if we can also provide them with apparatus for better functioning. 


Digital learning is helping students utilise their time at home and ensuring that their year is not wasted. With this decision, students in both Tier-I and Tier-II cities can benefit. The edtech industry is helping many by diminishing the geographies. We concur with the fact that digital learning enables many useful life skills than just regular textbook rote learning, which is often the way in traditional learning. The initiatives announced by the government can help numerous students, if they are executed properly.

Zishaan Hayath, CEO and Co-founder, Toppr 

This is a much-awaited and welcome move. Toppr firmly believes that technology is the answer to bridging the gap in education. The 21st century workforce will be way different from today’s. It will be centered around technologies that did not exist 20 years ago and technologies that are yet to be created.


We at Toppr are excited to lead this change — whether it is teaching coding to school kids or giving platform for schools to run completely online. We are always open to collaborate with the government to support schools and personalise learning for each student.


This is a great opportunity for edtech sector and with contribution from edtech startups, the education system would benefit immensely.




Sahil Sheth, Founder and CEO, Lido Learning

It’s been almost 34 years since the last NEP, so overhauling K-12 education is long overdue. For the 21st century, students will require strong interdisciplinary skills, problem-solving skills, technical skills, and communication – so it’s a step in the right direction that the government is pushing for no hard separation between arts and sciences, and encouraging skill-building through vocational education. 


At Lido, we have believed in holistic education right from the start so have been providing a combined course for Math, Science, Coding, English, and Leadership to all our students. NEP 2020 will further emphasise the importance of this multidisciplinary approach to parents across India. The attitude towards liberal arts and technical skills training will definitely change, now that the government has put out such a progressive policy.

Mayank Kumar, MD and Co-founder, UpGrad 

Hopefully, once the NEP extends the RTE to 18 years, it'll be the first step to democratise higher education as well. The entire premise of increasing GER to thereby increase the GDP of the country will fall flat if the now 'educated' 18-year-olds are not 'employable'. So, this will be the much-awaited and much-needed first step towards the larger goal of creating a stronger ‘Bharatiya’ work-force.

 

Given the contextuality of the current situation with the NEP approved, I expect a significant push for online education, as right now 'education' and 'online education' are synonymous. The push would invariably lead to mushrooming of more edtech players in the already crowded-sector, allowing choices for the learner and fuelling a price war for the players. This is where 'quality', one of the foundational pillars the draft NEP, is based on, and will drive value and outcome for the learners.

Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder and CEO, LEAD School

 The new National Education Policy has introduced pathbreaking reforms. Few points that stand out: 


  • Recognising the importance of Early Childhood Children Education (ECCE) with its 5+3+3+4 formula — some of us working in ECCE for the last 12 years couldn't be happier. 


  • The move towards flexible entry and exit, and breaking down the barriers between Arts, Commerce, and Science. This will herald a new era of cross-disciplinary learning.


  • One thing that is problematic is the insistence of the mother tongue being the medium of instruction till Class V. This is against the principle of choice. Parents should choose the medium they want their children to learn in.




Shantanu Rooj, Founder and CEO, Schoolguru Eduserve Private Limited

The adoption of the new National Education Policy is a historic event for India and it completely changes the paradigm of Indian education. The NEP has focused on creating a solid digital infrastructure which will help to massify education and improve accountability. The focus is on the learning outcome along with a sea-change in the examination system. It shall bring a change in the mindset around the rat-race to just get marks. 


Additionally, allowing more universities to launch online degrees has also been a long-awaited demand and this will now further improve opportunities in the ecosystem. However, the government needs to act upon its intentions and execute them – the gap between India's potential and reality is not a god-gift but a result of the gap between intentions and execution. 


In the current situation, the NEP largely revolves around traditional learners. However, as lifelong learning becomes a reality, the government will also need to think about the needs of the employed learner. Some of the key aspects that they will have to consider are – creating modular size courses, allowing stackable credentials, permitting round-the-year admission, online on-demand assessments, the inclusion of on-job training, capstone projects, etc. This will help to create the right ecosystem for learning.

Mohan Lakhamraju, CEO and Co-founder, Great Learning 

The new National Education Policy 2020 is very progressive and introduces a much-needed set of reforms for the education sector in India. Specifically for higher education, the push towards making all institutions multidisciplinary is an excellent step since today all aspects of business and society are complex and multi-disciplinary in nature. 


The rationalisation of regulatory bodies and the path to progressive autonomy to institutions is also a very welcome step. The opening up to the top 100 international universities will bring in high-quality programmes to our students and will further raise the quality of all our institutions. Lastly, it is great to see the focus on online education and having the same quality aspiration for it, something that we at Great Learning deeply believe in and would look to make an impactful contribution towards.


Edited by Kanishk Singh