The proposed draft of the National Education Policy has received widespread response, from thoughtful support and practical criticism to equitable criticism. Many of these responses are happening in group dialogues and a lot of reactions are being received by the HRD Ministry. The final policy will be enriched with all these reactions. The proposed National Education Policy expressly and strongly supports the public education system. It also implies high quality, equitable and universal education outside and through the public education system. This policy will be applicable from higher education to school education, in which students from roughly three to 22 years of age come in. There is an assured role in the Indian education system of conceptualized, non-profitable private institutions for the public service. Although it is the responsibility of the state to provide high quality education, all efforts should be made in this direction.
Government spending on public education should be increased from 10 percent of the current public expenditure to 20 percent in the next 10 years. This assessment is largely based on the direction and scale of change. Education policy reflects the financial needs of education and should not worry about where money comes from, it is the work of state or government. The Right to Education Act is the main part of school education. It conveys only the responsibility of the state and its central importance towards public education.
Under the proposed policy, the importance of the right to education has become deep and comprehensive. The students of the age group of six to 14 years used to come under its scope but now students of three to 18 years of age will also be benefitted. Education policy favors continuing the comprehensive assessment and the non-failure of the provisions. Instructions to stop any kind of abuse and irregularities. The proposed policy prohibits giving concession from the authority of education by offering categorization of minority status, increasing the number of students, giving incorrect information about the socio-economic background of the students. Based on past experiences, the new education policy invites the right to education. India and Indian are integrated in many parts of the policy. Some of them are: Indian languages, Indian literature, Indian art, Indian music and Indian knowledge system, Indian history and context etc. What else could have been besides? After all, this is India’s education policy, but this policy does not do this at the cost of ignoring the world. But there is nothing more than justified commitment to know, understand and value our own society.
In the education policy, there is a view to regulating the education system and to change the administration. The underlying major aspects of this change are transparent mass announcement, maximum empowerment and autonomy of institutions. Apart from this, this policy also determines the sharing of roles, the power of regulation, implementation, stratification etc. School education will be conducted through the newly formed Parochial Judicial School School Regulatory Authority. This will be responsible for the operation and development of the school system. The Block Education Officer will not have the right to regulate, these officers will be responsible only for running and developing schools. The recognition system will be empowering, in which the local institutions, school management and panchayats will play a role.
I have had the opportunity to see the development of national education policy in a broader way. It assures me that the draft of education policy will be enriched and it will be modified by creative reactions. Some reactions also cause doubt. The last test of any policy is in its implementation. Education policy beyond negative decisions and doubts provides enough energy for optimism.