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NEP 2020 Aligned Innovative Pedagogy

Promoting critical thinking, flexibility, adaptability and real world problem solving capabilities
12:00 AM Apr 01, 2024 IST | Dr Mushtaq Rather
nep 2020 aligned innovative pedagogy

The essence of NEP 2020 lies in shifting the paradigm of education from content memorization to attainment of competencies. The skill of hard memorization is now considered as a redundant and obsolete skill, as this skill is not sufficient to meet the challenges of 21st century.


The challenges posed by 21st century are quite varied and complex as compared to the challenges encountered in previous centuries. The educational institutions therefore have to strive towards creating congenial learning atmosphere which in the longer run fosters lifelong learning in modern day learners, who can in turn meaningfully contribute in the society.


Are our schools ready to embrace the provisions of NEP 2020? Or our schools will still stick to traditional way of schooling? In that case what will be the fate of otherwise such a meticulously crafted policy. The effective implementation of any ground breaking intervention is determined by the sincere will and commitment of all the relevant stake holders. The policy recommends several measures at different levels of schooling to promote critical thinking, flexibility, adaptability and real world problem solving capabilities.

It truly focuses on providing opportunities to both the teachers and students to be creative, thinkers, enhance entrepreneurial attitude and thus become future ready. The policy also highlights importance of innovative pedagogy which is crucial to prepare youth to be life-long learners. The objective is to not only make schools as vibrant learning centres but also for schools to become hubs of innovation.


Purpose and aim of education: The purpose of education is to develop good human beings capable of rational thought and action, possessing compassion and empathy, courage and resilience, scientific temper and creative imagination with sound ethical moorings and values. It aims at producing engaged, productive, and contributing citizens for building an equitable, inclusive, and plural society as envisaged by our constitution ( NEP 2020, Principles of this policy). The aim of education will not only be  cognitive development, but also building character and creating holistic and well rounded individuals equipped with the key 21st century skills. Ultimately, knowledge is a deep–seated treasure and education helps in its manifestation as perfection which is already within an individual.


All aspects of curriculum and pedagogy will be reoriented and revamped to attain these critical goals (NEP 2020, 4.4). By having a deeper grasp of the nature of knowledge teachers are better equipped to select appropriate content, pedagogy and assessments to achieve the aims of the education. The purpose, vision and the goals of education have been organized into five aims of school education: Rational thought and Autonomy, Health and well being, democratic participation, economic participation, cultural and social participation.


Pedagogical approach for foundational stage: The foundational stage is for children of the age 3 to 8. The pedagogical design at this stage is based on the principles of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). ECCE ideally consists of flexible, multifaceted, multi-level, play based, activity based and inquiry based learning, logical thinking, problem–solving attitude. It also includes a focus on developing social capacities, sensitivity, good behavior, ethics, personal and public cleanliness, collaboration.


The pedagogy must be aligned towards attainment of optimal outcomes in the domains of physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional–ethical development, cultural-artistic development and the development of communication, literacy, and numeracy (NEP 2020, 1.2). The pedagogical design should allow for a balance between self-paced individual learning to a more social-group based learning.

Pedagogical approach for preparatory stage: The preparatory stage is for three years and includes classes 3rd to 5th. The play, discovery and activity based pedagogical approach is central to teaching-learning transaction at preparatory stage, gradually encouraging students to be active within a formal classroom setting. The teacher has to encourage students to be more focused and pay attention to class room lectures and discussions.

The aim of this stage will be to lay the general ground work across subjects, including reading, writing, speaking physical education, art, languages, science and mathematics so that students are prepared to delve deeper into learning areas through specialised subjects and subject teachers in the stages that follow.

The preparatory stage consolidates the capacities and dispositions that begin to develop in the foundational stage. Students are expected to develop fluency in literacy and numeracy and develop further capacities that are helpful in systemic exploration of the natural and social worlds around them.

Pedagogical approach for Middle stage: The middle stage includes grades 6th to 8th: At middle stage, there is a shift to more abstract ideas and the students are expected to engage with unfamiliar contexts and situations. Therefore text books need to play a central role in mediating the content in the middle stage.

Subject specific teachers are expected to handle different curricular areas at this stage. Teachers need to have profound understanding of the curricular areas in terms of both vertical connections of concepts within the subject and horizontal connections with concepts in other areas. The teacher as facilitator has to make judicious balance of direct instruction and simultaneously make room for exploration and inquiry.

As concept development is considered integral at this stage, therefore teacher must pay attention to the prior concepts that students might already have and how to employ the previous knowledge to construct new knowledge, thus considering students as co-creators of new knowledge, rather than mere recipients of black and white information. Therefore, at this stage students gain systematic knowledge through rational thought and enquiry. The capacities for critical thinking and problem solving are consolidated in this stage.

Pedagogical approach for Secondary stage: The secondary stage expands to four years and includes grades from 9th to 12th . Students at this stage are young people with emerging opinions and capacities for energetic participation and vehement dissent. Teaching strategies in this stage can include delegating responsibilities, allowing students to take charge of their own learning and regulating each other’s learning with a focus on helping others to learn better.

Teachers can actively talk with students about ethical and moral actions connected to social participation and change. In this stage spanning over four years, there exist ample possibilities for maturation in thinking, learning, practicing and creative expression.

The important pedagogical consideration at secondary stage is to allow students to independently assimilate understanding and encouraging abstraction and theoretical concepts across curricular areas, demanding rigour in working and presenting their views.

Newer curricular areas and choices in specializations begin at this stage, it would be important to help them make their decisions ( in subject choices) and create adequate opportunities to sustain practice in these.

Dr. Mushtaq  Rather is an Educator