Understanding the new 5+3+3+4 education model in India and what it changes in the education system

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  • The government scrapped the traditional 10+2 model of education and has introduced a new 5+3+3+4 mode.
  • The 5+3+3+4 model of education will also include pre-school in the foundation stage — which was earlier considered a part of informal education.
  • Moreover, the new model of education will focus more on providing vocational education and imparting the knowledge of core subjects.
  • Even though the new model will have structural changes, the number of years a student spends to study in school remains the same.
The Indian government, on July 29, introduced the New Education Policy and announced several major reforms including universalisation of early childhood care education, setting up of a national mission on foundational literacy and numeracy, 5+3+3+4 circular and pedological structure and no rigid separation between arts and sciences.

With it, the government scrapped the traditional 10+2 model of education and introduced a new 5+3+3+4 model.

Understanding the 5+3+3+4 model

As per the new policy, the 10+2 structure of school curricula is to be replaced with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to age groups 3-8 years, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years respectively.

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  • Foundation Stage: The first five years will be the foundation stage, including three years of primary education and class 1 and 2. It will also include pre-school in the foundation stage — which was earlier considered a part of informal education.
  • Preparatory Stage: The next three years will be the ‘preparatory’ stage. This consists of classes three to five.
  • Middle Stage: The next three years — between class six and class eight— will be the ‘middle’ stage.
  • Secondary Stage: The last stage will be the ‘secondary’ stage comprising class 9,10,11, and 12.
"This will bring the hitherto uncovered age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for the development of mental faculties of a child. The new system will have 12 years of schooling with three years of anganwadi and pre-schooling,” School Education secretary Anita Karwal said while introducing the New Education Policy.

Difference between old and new academic model


  1. Number of examinations has been reduced: As compared to eight examinations earlier, the new model will conduct only three examinations for grade 3, 5 and 8.
  2. Vocational Education: the new model of education will focus more on providing vocational education and imparting the knowledge of core subjects.
  3. Students to leave with one core skill: The Ministry of Education wants every student to leave for higher education with one core skill. Moreover, the students will also get to learn coding and do internships from class 6 onwards.
  4. No separation between Arts, Commerce and Science: Another difference between the two models is flexibility in learning subjects from a different stream. For years Indian students, under the 10+2 model, had the choice to study three streams — Arts, Commerce and Science. Under the new model, a student can learn any subject he wants to. For instance, a student can study Biology and Accountancy together.
  5. Board exams made easier: Board exams are set to become easier. Moreover, students will get a chance to give the board exam twice in a year to improve their scores.
Even though the new model will have structural changes, the number of years a student spends to study in school remains the same.


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