After three decades, the practice of changing the policy of education has started. The last time the National Education Policy was fixed in 1986, which was implemented in 1992 after some reshuffle. After the NDA government came to power in 2014, after forming a committee under the chairmanship of former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramaniam, he had given the task of formulating a new education policy. The draft report was submitted to the then HR minister Smriti Irani, but due to some disputes, the report was not approved. Prakash Javadekar, after assuming the charge of the Human Resources Ministry, constituted an eight-member committee headed by Kasturirangan on June 24, 2017 and re-assigned responsibility for formulating a new education policy. Most of the people associated with education were made members, whereas the previous committee was full of bureaucrats. Kasturirangan Samiti entrusted its draft report to HRD in December last. But due to the general elections, the NDA government postponed its implementation till the formation of a new government. Now it seems that the draft of the new education policy will be finalized in the next two-three months.
The NDA government will have to be careful to get the new education policy approved at the national level. In 1986 and 1992, when the policy was drafted and changed, then there has been a lot of difference in political, economic and social conditions. At that time the Congress party was dominated by Parliament and most state governments. The backward class of the middle class and the society had become aware of education, but was not as ambitious as today. Today, there are about 35 million people who are studying at school-college and university level in our country. More than one crore teachers have been entrusted with responsibility to prepare them for their future life and livelihood. There are many points in the format of the new education policy, which needs a broader discussion. The Kasturirangan committee says that he has discussed it at every level, people of every class and experts. This discussion has been conducted in an interactive way from the grassroots to the higher level. It has been said in the format that the strong pillars that have been set up on the policy are those for availability, equality, quality, reliability and accountability. Kasturirangan Committee has a great recommendation that the Ministry of Human Resource should again be given the name of the Ministry of Education. One of the major suggestions for the school education is to increase the scope of the Right to Education Act, 2009, to include the education of children and youth from three years to 18 years of age.
School education is the pillar of our education system. Its doors and walls have become weak due to many reasons. In the last 32 years, many laws were made, reformed and programmed, but our school education did not go beyond the 100% enrollment at the primary level. In the format of the new education policy, 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 school based education formula has been divided into four sections. In this way, it is proposed to increase the schooling from 12 years to 15 years. With this, it has been said to reduce the burden of education in school education. One important point of this proposed policy is that not only limited to learning and learning, it will be linked to co-educational and extra-curricular activities such as arts, sports, yoga, social service, handcrafted etc. Good education is required for school education, which must be trained. So far the two-year-old BEd’s degree of Bandarban was going to be closed. Special universities and colleges will be allowed to run four year old BEd courses only.
A major change in the field of higher education has also been recommended. Now there will be three types of institutions in higher education. One, who is involved in world-class research activities; Secondly, those who are running high level teaching and good research and third, those who are only providing good education at the graduation level. To further this, two projects will be run in the name of Mission Nalanda and Mission Taxila. Three-year programs like BA, BSc and BCom will now be run as alternatives for four years or three years. Large changes have also been proposed in the regulation and management of higher education. National Commission for Education will be set up for successful implementation of academic reforms, which will work to coordinate between the Center and the States. There will also be a National Research Foundation, which will create a proper environment for research and research in the country’s higher education. Like the Sam Pitroda Committee and the Yashpal Committee, Kasturirangan committee has also suggested the formation of a top regulation commission. All the work of accreditation of higher education will be done by the NAC institution, which will be reorganized. To determine the level of professional education of different subjects, the leveling entities will be created and the work of granting only grants will be left to the UGC.
Of course this format is full of many possibilities, but many dangers are associated with it. Will our government structure be able to implement suggested reforms for school education and higher education in a time-bound manner? Will these reforms get the desired support from academics, industry and civil society? Will the necessary consensus between the Center and the states be created for them? And the most important issue will be that the system spending less than three percent of the gross national income so far will be able to spend twice and triple on these reforms