The Big Picture- New Education Policy: Highlights and Hitches
Good quality education is said to be the foundation of new discoveries, new knowledge and innovation which further determines the prosperity and growth of a nation. Education is a dynamic aspect of human development which keeps on broadening its relevance with needs of the society and economy.
The New Education Policy has been drafted by former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian almost after thirty years of the previous education policy. For the 200 pages Report submitted by the Committee with 90 recommendations, the MHRD came out with a Draft National Education Policy with some modifications.
Takeaways from the Report:
- The overall quality of education both in primary and higher stages is very bad and has further deteriorated in last 10-15 years although there is an increase in the number of educational institutions.
- The discrimination against the weaker and marginalized children still persists in the Indian society and education system is not aloof from this aspect of education system. These children have equal rights as compared to other children as per RTE but there is no significant improvement in their educational status so far.
- The focus of educational institutions needs to be teacher oriented as they are the most important link between the institution and students. It has observed that teachers and their training are often neglected and more importance is given to directors, secretaries and higher authorities of the educational institutions.
- The Report has favoured for 6% GDP for education, a well-structured public system of education and strengthening of Right to Education Act. In India’s current state of development, a minimum of 6% of GDP, if not at much higher level, should be essential expenditure in the education sector as previously this has remained far below the expected level.
- Universities and colleges are temples of learning. Some self-imposed restrictions surely should be in place to ensure that the primary work of the universities should be conducted without hindrance. Ideally the universities ought not to lend themselves as play grounds for the larger national rivalries, inequalities, inequities, and social / cultural fault lines; these need to be tackled by society as a whole in other forums such as parliament, courts, elections etc. There is a need to restrict political and other distractions in these institutions.
It has been seen that in the Report of the Committee as well as MHRD, there is emphasis on infrastructure only. RTE has not been given its due share of importance in the Report. Even after 6 years, there are only 10% schools which are complying with the norms of RTE. Many problems like teacher training, quality of education, training standardization have their solutions in the RTE Act itself. The detention policy has been removed at the time of RTE formation with a concept that self-esteem of a child should not be killed. Despite such initiatives, the results are poor.
Suggestions given in the Report:
- The Committee recommends that the no detention policy should be continued, but only till the primary stage of elementary education, up to Class 5, when the child will be 11 years old. At the upper primary stage, from Class 5 to 8, for children between the ages of 11 and 14, the Committee recommends that the system of detention of children who are below the requisite minimum standard should be restored
- Specifically, on the basis of CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) and an end term examination, the weak students should be identified and provided remedial teaching at the end of the school day or during holidays, for which new arrangements are to be created within the school system.
- The universities should be graded on merit in order to have autonomy. The better a university performs the greater autonomy it should have.
- The Committee Report does not favour student unions. They should deal with only academic issues if present.
Despite some of the best reports and policies, there is a lack of effective implementation and execution mechanism. The citizens of any nation are its most valuable asset and education is the only tool to ensure them a better quality of life and all round development.