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NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era

"Biannual exams offer more opportunities, reduce pressure" - Silpi Sahoo, Chairperson, Sai International Education Group, Odisha.
Title image for the article 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on, featuring students in uniforms giving thumbs up, an image of the NEP 2020 document on a tablet, and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, with the text 'Transforming Education in India: NEP 2020 & Beyond' and 'Exploring the Future of Learning with Biannual Board Exams'.

Table Of Content

Navigating Through Change: India's Educational Reform with Biannual Board Exams.

What is NEP 2020?

New Government Announcement on 10th and 12th Board Exams.

Other Changes in the New National Education Policy.

Comparison with Education Policies of Developed Countries.

Challenges in Implementing the New Changes.

Conclusion: Key Takeaways from the Article.


Navigating Through Change: India's Educational Reform with Biannual Board Exams

The Educational Minister Dharmendra Pradhan presented the semiannual test strategy on February 20, 2024, denoting a critical change in India's way to deal with education. This strategy makes ready for directing tenth and twelfth board assessments two times per year, influencing more than 1 crore students across CBSE, ICSE, and State Boards. This change is set to reverberate with students as well as with their families, flagging an extraordinary period in India’s educational landscape. With the enrollment figures arriving at 4.14 crore students in advanced education in the financial year 2020-21, and expected to rise further, the effect of this change broadens generally.

In this article we will profound plunge into the nuances of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, examining its goals, the difficulties it faces, and its normal impact on the instructive texture of India. We explore the reasoning behind these significant reforms, their place in a global context, and the future they envisage for educational excellence in India.

What is NEP 2020?

Sectional image from the article 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on, detailing 'What is NEP 2020?' The graphic showcases nine key points of NEP 2020, including universalization of education, a new school curriculum structure, vocational education, mother tongue instruction, and a focus on digital learning and infrastructure enhancements.

The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) represents a significant shift in India's educational framework, emphasizing a holistic and multidisciplinary approach across all levels of education

  • Comprehensive Framework: NEP 2020 is a broad framework for education from elementary to higher education, including vocational training, across India. It was introduced by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020, replacing the National Policy on Education, 1986.

  • Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education: Focuses on providing a holistic and multidisciplinary education.

  • Restructuring of School Education: Transforms the 10+2 structure into a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure for different age groups.

  • Promotion of Indian Languages: Emphasizes education in the mother tongue or regional language up to Grade 5.

  • Teacher Education: Highlights the need for well-trained, motivated, and energized teachers.

  • Equity and Inclusion: Aims to ensure no child is left behind due to their background.

  • Technology Integration: Encourages the use of technology for high-quality education for all.

  • Increase in Education Spending: Aims to increase state expenditure on education to around 6% of GDP.

Difference between NEP 1986 and NEP 2020

Sectional image comparing NEP 1986 and NEP 2020 from the article 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on, highlighting the evolution in educational policy. The image features a graduation cap and a comparison chart detailing key differences such as vision of society, education purpose, regulation, curriculum structure, and technology integration.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and its predecessor, the NEP 1986, represent two landmark educational frameworks in India, each reflective of its era's educational needs and aspirations. The transition from NEP 1986 to NEP 2020 marks a significant shift towards a more holistic, flexible, and student-friendly approach. Unlike NEP 1986, which focused more on content-based learning and a 10+2 structure, NEP 2020 introduces a comprehensive 5+3+3+4 structure that emphasizes stages of cognitive development and integration of vocational education from an early age. This new policy also places a greater emphasis on the use of technology in education, aiming to make learning more accessible and inclusive. Furthermore, NEP 2020 promotes education in the mother tongue till at least Grade 5, aiming to strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy.

Impact of the Policy on Higher Education in India

NEP 2020 aims to revolutionize higher education in India by making it more holistic and multidisciplinary with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education, and multiple entry and exit points. This approach is expected to foster critical thinking, creativity, and a spirit of inquiry among students. Moreover, NEP 2020 sets ambitious goals to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50% by 2035 and to establish multidisciplinary institutions in every district, making higher education accessible to a wider population. The policy also underscores the importance of technology in expanding the reach and quality of educational offerings, including online and distance learning.

Criticisms of NEP 2020

Despite its progressive vision, NEP 2020 has faced criticism from various quarters. Critics argue that the implementation of such a broad and ambitious policy may encounter significant challenges, particularly in terms of infrastructure, teacher training, and financing. There are concerns about the feasibility of implementing mother tongue-based education across diverse linguistic regions and the risk of exacerbating the digital divide in rural and underserved areas. Additionally, the policy's emphasis on vocational education and internships from an early age has raised questions about the potential premature vocational tracking of students. Critics also worry about the policy's ambitious goals, such as the target Gross Enrollment Ratio and the establishment of new institutions, questioning the practicality of these targets in the given timeframe.

New Government Announcement on 10th and 12th Board Exams

Students will have the option to appear for 10th and 12th class board exams twice a year from 2025-26 - Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan
Sectional image from 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on, discussing 'New Government Announcement on 10th and 12th Board Exams'. Features students looking at books, a headline from Hindustan Times about biannual exams from 2025-26, and an image of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

In an effort to reduce academic stress and align with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 goals, the Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, has announced a significant reform: starting from the 2025-26 academic session, students will have the option to appear for the 10th and 12th board examinations twice a year. This initiative, reflecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for a stress-free educational environment, aims to provide students with ample opportunities to excel by allowing them to retain their best scores from the two attempts. This change is expected to enhance the quality of education, link students more closely with their culture, and better prepare them for future challenges, contributing to India's goal of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

Reason Behind Biannual 10th and 12th Board Exams

The Indian government's decision to introduce biannual board exams for the 10th and 12th grades, starting from the academic session 2025-26, is driven by a commitment to reduce academic stress among students. This initiative is a key component of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, aiming to offer students multiple opportunities to excel by allowing them to choose the best score out of the two attempts. This approach is anticipated to foster a more supportive and less pressured educational environment.

Annual Participation in 10th and 12th Exams Across India

Annually, over 1 crore students across India undertake the critical 10th and 12th board exams. This staggering number underscores the vast reach and impact of the government's new policy on the student population. The policy's implementation will be instrumental in shaping the academic and future career paths of millions of students nationwide, highlighting the significance of this educational reform.

Impact of Biannual Exams on Academic Performance

The biannual board exams are expected to positively influence students' academic performance by providing a second chance to improve their scores. This flexibility can alleviate the high stakes associated with a single examination session, potentially leading to improved overall results and lessened exam-related anxiety among students.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Biannual Exams


  • Reduced academic stress

  • Opportunities for score improvement

  • Enhanced preparation and learning outcomes


  • Increased administrative and logistical challenges for schools

  • Potential dilution of exam significance

  • Complexities in scheduling and managing the academic calendar

This nuanced approach to board examinations marks a significant shift in India's educational landscape, aiming to balance academic rigor with student well-being.

Other Changes in the New National Education Policy

Sectional image from 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' article on, showcasing 'Other Changes in the New National Education Policy'. The image features a classroom setting with a central infographic highlighting NEP 2020 changes such as National Research Foundation, Vocational Education, and Regulatory Overhaul.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 introduces a comprehensive overhaul aiming to modernize and make Indian education more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, aligned to the needs of the 21st century, and aimed at bringing out the unique capabilities of each student.

Some Other Changes in the New National Education Policy

The NEP 2020 emphasizes a significant shift towards the following;

  • Vocational Education: Emphasizes a shift towards integrating vocational education from early stages.

  • Assessment Reforms: Introduces reforms in assessment to encourage a more comprehensive evaluation of student abilities.

  • Regulatory Overhaul: Aims for a simplified regulatory framework to ensure greater autonomy and less bureaucracy in educational institutions.

  • Digital Education: Focuses on leveraging technology to enhance teaching and learning processes.

  • Promotion of Indian Languages: Encourages the use of mother tongue or local languages as mediums of instruction up to certain grades.

  • Financial Commitment to Education: Commits to increasing investment in the education sector to reach global standards.

  • Inclusion of Early Childhood Education: Incorporates early childhood education into the formal education system for holistic development from a young age.

  • Multiple Entry and Exit Points in Higher Education: Offers flexibility in higher education through multiple entry and exit points for students.

  • Academic Bank of Credits: Introduces an Academic Bank of Credits to facilitate the transfer and accumulation of credits for students.

  • National Research Foundation: Establishes a National Research Foundation to foster a research culture and innovation within the country.

These initiatives aim to transform the educational landscape by making it more inclusive, accessible, and aligned with global standards.

Impact on Students in Rural Areas

For students in rural areas, the NEP 2020 promises enhanced access to education through technology, infrastructure development, localized learning, teacher training initiatives, and the promotion of local languages. This is expected to bridge the rural-urban educational divide and empower rural students, offering them equitable opportunities for growth and development.

Impact on Students in Urban Areas

Urban education under NEP 2020 will see a focus on digital learning, skill development, a multidisciplinary approach to education, and measures to reduce dropout rates. By addressing infrastructure challenges and promoting innovative learning methods, the policy aims to prepare urban students for the complexities of the modern world, fostering skills that are in demand in the global job market.

Comparison with Education Policies of Developed Countries

Sectional image from 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on, discussing 'Comparison with Education Policies of Developed Countries'. The image overlays a Venn diagram on a school hallway, comparing aspects of decentralization, inclusivity, and vocational emphasis among education policies of the USA, Canada, Germany, and India.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in India marks a significant overhaul with its forward-looking approach aimed at universalizing education and promoting flexibility, inclusivity, and multidisciplinary.

Here's how it compares with the education policies of some developed countries:

  • USA: Unlike NEP's emphasis on a unified educational framework, the USA follows a decentralized system without a singular focus on multidisciplinary education.

  • Canada: Both Canada and India emphasize inclusivity in education, though Canada operates through a decentralized provincial system.

  • Japan: Japan focuses on equal opportunities and high academic standards, lacking the NEP 2020's emphasis on flexibility and multidisciplinary education.

  • UK: The UK shares NEP 2020's focus on skill-based learning but does not prioritize universal education and multidisciplinary learning to the same extent.

  • Germany: Germany's dual education system aligns with NEP 2020's vocational training emphasis, yet it operates within a highly decentralized educational framework.

Comparison with China's Education Policy

India's NEP 2020 and China's education policy both aim at improving educational quality but differ significantly in their approach and implementation stages. China's focus on quality education began two decades earlier than India's NEP 2020, putting it ahead in terms of policy maturity and implementation. While NEP 2020 introduces a holistic and multidisciplinary education model, China has already made substantial progress in enhancing the quality of its compulsory education system.

Challenges in Implementing the New Changes

Sectional image from 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on, showing a chart titled 'Balancing Act: Addressing NEP 2020 Challenges with Strategic Solutions', juxtaposed with an image of a person rock climbing. The chart lists challenges and solutions for NEP 2020 implementation areas like regulation, PPP models, personalized education, and technology integration.

Overview of Challenges

The implementation of NEP 2020 and other educational reforms in India faces several significant challenges:

  • Infrastructure: Inadequate facilities such as electricity, water supply, and toilets hinder quality education.

  • Quality of Education: The presence of unqualified teachers, outdated curriculums, and insufficient infrastructure affects education quality.

  • Affordability and Accessibility: Education remains unaffordable for many, with stark disparities between urban and rural access.

  • Outdated Curriculum: Traditional approaches and outdated content fail to prepare students for contemporary demands.

  • Examination System: Overreliance on exams promotes rote learning over conceptual understanding and induces student stress.

  • Teacher Shortage: A significant deficit of qualified teachers, especially in rural areas, impacts education delivery.

Potential Solutions to These Challenges

To overcome these obstacles, several strategies can be employed:

  • Technology Integration: Leveraging technology can bridge infrastructure gaps and enhance educational quality.

  • Teacher Training: Ongoing professional development is crucial for updating teachers with modern pedagogical skills.

  • Increase Government Spending: Allocating more GDP to education can support infrastructural and qualitative improvements.

  • Inclusive Education System: Ensuring equitable education for all societal segments is essential.

  • Quality Education Focus: Shifting from rote learning to critical thinking and conceptual understanding is vital.

  • Curriculum Update: Regular revisions should reflect current developments and societal needs.

  • Industry-Academia Links: Partnerships can bridge the educational and occupational divide.

  • Need-based Job-oriented Courses: Tailoring courses to career paths can enhance employability.

  • Addressing Teacher-Student Ratio: Hiring more teachers can facilitate better engagement and learning.

  • Personalized Education: Technology can help cater to individual learning preferences.

  • Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Model: Collaborations can drive national educational development.

  • All India Education Service: A central body could standardize education policies.

  • Strengthening Regulatory Framework: Ensuring and enforcing educational standards is crucial for maintaining quality.


Interested in how partnerships can further enhance India's educational landscape? 🤝 Discover the power of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in building a self-reliant India. Dive deeper into our feature on 'Public-Private Partnership for Atmanirbhar Bharat' and explore innovative solutions for overcoming educational challenges. Click here to read the full article: Public-Private Partnership for Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Title image for the article 'public-private-partnership-for-atmanirbhar-bharat' on, depicting a 'Made in India' tag signifying Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) with the tricolor of the Indian flag and a post-it note with 'Public Private Partnership' text. This image serves as a mid-article call to action (CTA) in 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era'.

Let's explore how collaboration can unlock new educational opportunities and drive progress!


Conclusion: Key Takeaways from the Article

Conclusion section titled 'NEP 2020: Transforming Indian Education - A Comprehensive Overview' from the article 'NEP 2020 & Biannual 10th, 12th Board Exams: A New Era' on The image displays a radial diagram with key takeaways from the article, including holistic education approach, curricular restructuring, emphasis on local languages and technology, and the impact on higher education.

The discourse around the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) and the subsequent announcement of biannual board exams showcases India's ambitious drive towards educational reform. Here are the central takeaways from the discussion:

  • Holistic Educational Approach: NEP 2020 brings a comprehensive overhaul to India's educational system, focusing on creating a holistic, multidisciplinary environment that nurtures critical thinking, creativity, and flexibility. This approach signifies a shift from traditional rote learning to a more inclusive and engaging learning experience.

  • Curricular Restructuring: The introduction of the 5+3+3+4 curricular structure under NEP 2020 aims to align India's educational framework with global standards, ensuring students receive a continuous and broad-based education from early childhood to higher secondary levels.

  • Emphasis on Local Languages and Technology: By advocating for instruction in the mother tongue or regional languages until at least Grade 5 and emphasizing the integration of technology, NEP 2020 aims to make education more accessible and effective for all students, regardless of their socio-economic background.

  • Biannual Board Exams: The move to allow students to appear for 10th and 12th board exams twice a year is a significant reform aimed at reducing academic stress and providing learners with multiple opportunities to succeed. This initiative reflects a shift towards a more student-centric approach in the Indian education system.

  • Challenges and Criticisms: Despite its progressive outlook, NEP 2020 faces challenges related to implementation, infrastructure, teacher training, and equitable access to technology. Critics also express concerns over the practicality of mother tongue instruction and the ambitious goals set by the policy.

  • Impact on Higher Education: NEP 2020's vision for higher education includes making it more holistic and multidisciplinary, with flexible curricula and multiple entry and exit points. This is expected to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio significantly and make higher education more aligned with industry and societal needs.

The NEP 2020, together with the reform in board examination patterns, represents a significant milestone in India's journey towards an educational system that is modern, equitable, and capable of preparing students for the challenges of the future. However, the success of these initiatives will largely depend on effective execution, continuous feedback, and the collective effort of educators, policymakers, and the community at large.

Join the Conversation

We are eager to hear from you! How do you perceive the changes introduced by NEP 2020 and the biannual board exams? Do you have a personal story or insight on how these reforms might impact students, educators, and the broader educational landscape in India? Share your thoughts, experiences, and perspectives in the comments below. Let's engage in a meaningful discussion about the future of education in our country. Don't forget to share this article with your network to spread the word and gather more voices in this crucial conversation. Your input is invaluable as we navigate these transformative times together.



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