West Bengal Retains Existing School Education Pattern in New State Education Policy

West Bengal Retains Existing School Education Pattern in New State Education Policy
West Bengal Retains Existing School Education Pattern in New State Education Policy
West Bengal Retains Existing School Education Pattern in New State Education Policy
West Bengal Retains Existing School Education Pattern in New State Education Policy

West Bengal Retains Existing School Education Pattern in New State Education Policy

The West Bengal Education Department has announced its new State Education Policy (SEP), which maintains the current school education structure. The notification, issued on September 9, outlines the continuation of West Bengal’s 5+4+2+2 school system.

Objective of Education Reform

The state government had been contemplating the need for revamping the education system from pre-primary to higher education levels. The focus of the reform is to ensure a higher standard of education for all students, with particular emphasis on marginalized, disadvantaged, and underrepresented groups.

Formation of Expert Committee

In April 2022, the West Bengal government formed an expert committee consisting of distinguished educationists, including Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Sugata Bose, and Suranjan Das, to guide the state’s response to the National Education Policy.

Recommendations and Approval

After extensive deliberation and consultations with stakeholders, the expert committee submitted its recommendations, which formed the basis for the State Education Policy, 2023. The state cabinet approved this policy in August 2023.

Key Aspects of the New Policy

  • The policy retains the 5+4+2+2 pattern for school education.
  • Pre-primary education is now preceded by two years at an Anganwadi center.
  • The policy introduces semester-level exams in classes 11 and 12 to facilitate the transition from school to university.
  • The three-language formula will be introduced for students of classes 5 to 8 based on infrastructure availability.
  • Mother tongue as the first language will be the medium of instruction, with the second language being any language other than the first.
  • The third language can be any language chosen by the student, excluding the first and second languages.
  • Bengali as a subject may be introduced from class 1 for students in other mediums of instruction.

Improving Higher Education

The state has also proposed a 4+1 formula for higher education, extending UG honors courses to four years and PG courses to one year.

Expert Committee’s Response

A member of the expert committee expressed satisfaction that all their recommendations were accepted by the government. The committee’s goal is to structure the school education sector logically and ensure a smooth transition to higher education, ultimately preparing students to compete nationally and globally.

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