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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 82-85

The National Education Policy of India (2020): Reform in nursing education?

1 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, College of Nursing, Pt. B. D. Sharma University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana, India
2 College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
3 College of Nursing, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission08-Feb-2023
Date of Decision02-Mar-2023
Date of Acceptance02-Mar-2023
Date of Web Publication26-Apr-2023

Correspondence Address:
Dr. G B Manjula
College of Nursing, King Khalid University, Abha
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_20_23

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How to cite this article:
Joseph J, Sharma S, Kalal N, Manjula G B. The National Education Policy of India (2020): Reform in nursing education?. J Med Evid 2023;4:82-5

How to cite this URL:
Joseph J, Sharma S, Kalal N, Manjula G B. The National Education Policy of India (2020): Reform in nursing education?. J Med Evid [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 7];4:82-5. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2023/4/1/82/374716

  National Education Policy of India (2020) – Overview Top

The education policies of the Government of India were formulated in 1986 and first modified in 1992. In 2020, the Government of India announced the National Education Policy (NEP), suggesting many changes in the existing education policy that has to be achieved by the year 2030.[1] The new education policy of India was prepared under the chairmanship of Dr. K. Kasturirangan and focused more on competency-based learning than the traditional 'didactic learning approach'.[2] The NEP-2020 envisages sustainable development of society by ensuring high-quality education to all without losing the country's heritage.[3] The objective of the policy is to provide a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary liberal educational approach to prepare equitable and capable citizens.[4] The following are the various educational stages recommended according to NEP 2020.

  1. The foundation stage (ages 3–8 years): This stage highlights the importance of providing basic education to children through play and activity-based learning experiences
  2. The preparation stage (ages 9–12 years): This stage emphasises the importance of discovery-based learning apart from classroom learning
  3. Middle school education stage: This stage of 3-year duration emphasises experimental learning
  4. Secondary education stage: This stage of 4-year duration focuses on choice-based learning with multidisciplinary subjects with common board examinations at the end of 10th and 12th class standards
  5. Under-graduation education stage: This stage of 3 to 4-year duration suggests four exit options such as a certificate after 1 year, a diploma after the 2nd year, a bachelor's degree after the 3rd year and an honours degree after the 4 years
  6. Post-graduation education stage: This stage of 1 to 2-year duration focuses to strengthen professional competence by engaging in high-quality research
  7. Research stage: This stage aims to acquire a Ph.D. in the professional domain for a minimum period of 3 years for full-time and 4 years for part-time, respectively.[5],[6],[7]

  National Education Policy of India (2020) – Professional Education Context Top

NEP-2020 proposes to integrate holistic and multidisciplinary learning in professional education through innovations besides inculcating social and moral ethics.[8] Given this as a top priority, this policy suggests the following recommendation. The NEP-2020 recommends the establishment of a single regulatory commission – the Higher Education Commission of India to monitor and control the existing statutory bodies such as the University Grants Commission, National Medical Commission (NMC, previously the medical council of India), Indian Nursing Council (INC), etc., Similarly, the current accreditation councils such as the National Assessment and Accreditation Council and National Board of Accreditation will be replaced by a single National Accreditation Council.[9] To strengthen research and innovations, a National Research Foundation (NRF) will be formulated to fund quality academic research in all fields of study. The goal of NRF is to act as a catalyst for carrying out various outstanding research in close collaboration with governmental and private partnerships. Multidisciplinary universities will focus on research and teaching intense activities by following the pedagogies such as communication skills, debate, discussion, research, etc., The existing fragmented nomenclature of educational institutions such as 'deemed to be university', and 'affiliating university' will be replaced simply by 'University', and an Academic Bank of Credit will be established to digitally store the academic credits earned from various recognised universities. The choice and competency-based curriculum are given a top priority with special emphasis on student-centred teaching than the teacher-centred model. The suggested semester-based examination system will help in the comprehensive evaluation of learning objectives. The online distance learning and credit system approach will attract more international students thereby helping to achieve the goal of education to all with a global standard of quality. The national scholarship portal will be strengthened to help the financial needs of merit-based students. The health-care education system must be integrated in such a way that all students of allopathic medical education must have a basic understanding of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) and vice versa. There must be greater emphasis on preventive health-care and community medicine in all forms of health-care education.[10],[11]

  National Education Policy of India (2020) – Nursing Education Context Top

One of the major focuses of NEP-2020 is to create a research infrastructure according to the inter and multidisciplinary context. This will create a rejuvenation for conducting the research with a focus on research pertinent to the nursing context. Recently, simulation-based education gained momentum for imparting knowledge and skills in nursing education.[12] Further, the new policy suggests that equity will be maintained between scholars of private and public educational institutions for research funding so that researchers will get equal importance and encouragement for their research contributions irrespective of the type of institution they work. The available data suggest that many nurses from India are putting contributions to build up the scientific levels of evidence in the form of systematic reviews, meta-analyses and randomised controlled trials.[13],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21] However, nurses lack courage and feel less motivated for conducting quality-driven projects due to various barriers including a lack of professional support and professional growth despite putting immense contributions. Therefore, the creation of a national research fund will have the potential for a boost in nursing research and increased opportunities for nurse researchers from both the public and private sectors. This will further improve the professionalism and scientific body of knowledge in the nursing profession. NEP-2020 suggests the use of digital technologies for teaching and learning in higher education. This will further promote to offer of relevant certificate nursing programmes using online teaching platforms. The promotion of a technology-based approach will enhance the teaching-learning experience in the routine classroom as well as online education. Encouragement for the involvement of foreign university collaboration will further promote faculty and student exchange programmes which will increase the realms of nursing education to the global context.[22]

One of the key constraints in the nursing profession in India is the unavailability of adequate nursing personnel in the health-care delivery system. The recent policy calls for a reform in higher education, targeted at increasing the gross enrolment ratio to 50% by 2035. More importantly, the INC has introduced some residency programmes such as nurse practitioner courses to manage the constraints associated with the shortage of health-care personnel across the nation. However, this transformation of nursing education raised several questions about equity and quality. Broadly, the reforms might result in a significant increase in student intake, and the majority of government institutions are insufficient to undertake the desired student enrolment due to various reasons. This will lead to a trend of the rush for student enrolment in private universities and also put a significant financial burden on the students.[23] The quality of nursing education, particularly in the private sector, is variable, so there are questions about achieving the skill and competencies proposed in the NEP-2020. Interestingly, the NEP-2020 is silent on the evaluation methods of suggested competencies which is a high area of concern in the nursing education context. The privatisation of the health system in India has created bigger challenges around nursing education. Recent proposals by the NEP-2020 may allow many research funding opportunities in the corporate sector, and the development of strategies for the better utilisation of these funds according to the demands of nursing education must be addressed. The recent education policy of India put a striking emphasis on the centralisation of regulatory bodies.[24] This may result in overwhelmingly dependent governance of selection and nominations by the central government. This centralisation of governance also has some influence on nursing education with a board of members working close to the central government sectors.

The focus of the NEP-2020 policy seems to reform the education sectors in various dimensions. Nevertheless, the way the policy handles its proposals has important implications for nursing education in India. Firstly, the innovative concept envisioned in the recent education policy calls for the transformation of Indian education[25] but the priorities and clarity of innovations in the nursing education context need to be addressed. There is still a growing need for faculty development programmes for meeting the dynamic demand of the health-care system. The creation of certificate programmes in faculty development education in nursing will provide an avenue to enhance their knowledge and skills for teaching and performing curriculum leadership roles.[26] Second, the current inequity in entrepreneurship and employability of nursing professionals may worsen if policies continue to prioritise for creation of new courses than upgrading the quality of the existing nursing education system in India. For example, the introduction of AYUSH as an elective subject in the curriculum would be a significant step that would help the holistic well-being of mankind which would further improve the health-care delivery system of the country.[27] The inclusion of elective courses such as forensic nursing as a subject in the nursing curricula expands the contemporary nursing practice and further reduces the gap between health-care systems and judiciary systems.[28] However, certain issues related to the feasibility, ethical and legal implications regarding the mode of service delivery of similar new elective courses in the Indian setting need central attention. Third, the paradigm shift in approach to multidisciplinary and liberal education may fragment the ultimate paradigms of nursing education. Students studying in universities offering different programmes other than medical courses gain a variety of skills through multicollaboration beyond their areas of expertise. However, one of the possible problems associated with multidisciplinary education is a deviation from the central themes of learning objectives according to the individual profession. Depending on the inherent objectives, philosophies and priorities of the university, the achievement of the harmony of education between technical sciences and nursing sciences is an area of concern.[29] According to the newly drafted National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Act (2020), the central government will establish four autonomous boards and four part-time members for the good establishment and functioning of the nursing and midwifery undergraduate education board, nursing and midwifery post-graduate education board, nursing and midwifery assessment and rating board and nursing and midwifery ethics and registration board.[30] However, the utility and outcomes of the accreditation and licensing process of nursing discipline within a multidisciplinary education system need lucid explanations. Fourth, the wide emphasis on the online mode of education raises a myriad of questions regarding the issues relevant to nursing education requiring strategies of effective and robust regulation. As with most teaching methods, distance education learning through digital platforms also has its own set of merits and limitations. The modular online mode of training is considered to be efficient, affordable and accessible to achieve learning objectives.[31] However, apart from the technology issues, the lacuna of mentorship for achieving the psychomotor skills of the nursing aspirants poses a significant threat to the outcomes of web-based nursing education. Decoding and developing student and teacher-friendly digital education strategies can ensure uninterrupted learning. Fifth, the exit options described in the under-graduation education stage of this policy create some ambiguity[32] among nursing aspirants. For example, the 3 years exit with a degree and 4 years exit with a research project-based degree is also confusing to get a government job under a similar degree qualification. The drafting of a specific policy regarding greater avenues of the multiple exit points and lateral entries into nursing courses would be a possible solution for resolving this dilemma. The contextualisation and development of an objective criterion on the various aspects of lateral entry and exit schemes would be a pioneering step to achieve the same.

  Conclusion Top

The outcomes of NEP-2020 to a larger extent depend on its proactive implementation and utilisation of opportunities for both educators and students. Reforms to merge the multiple regulatory bodies into a single regulatory body might remove the corruption; however, the clarity regarding the so-called 'light but tight regulations' is the need of the hour to achieve equity and quality in nursing education in India.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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