Education: Beyond the Learning Curve

The Journey So Far

The K. Kasturirangan committee has submitted the Draft National Education Policy, 2019. The new education policy could come in November.

Five public universities have been given the ‘Institution of Eminence (IoE)’ tag; five private varsities have received letters of intent for the same.

In all, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended IoE status for 15 public and private institutions, respectively.

The HRD ministry has launched the National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancements (NISHTHA) programme with the aim of training over 4.2 million teachers across the country

The Shagun portal will integrate over 230,000 educational websites, including those of 1,200 Kendriya Vidyalayas, 600 Navodaya Vidyalayas, 18,000 other Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)-affiliated schools, 30 State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) and 19,000 organisations affiliated to the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). The portal will make available report cards of 1.5 million schools. It aims to connect some 9.2 million teachers and 260 million students.

The National Medical Commission Bill replaces the corruption-plagued Medical Council of India. The bill also provides for a common entrance ‘NEET’ exam and regulates fee in private colleges. Some 75 new government medical colleges are also to come up.

Under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology, the National Digital Library of India project has built a virtual repository of learning resources. More than 30 million digital resources are available through the library now, and it has over 5 million students as members.

Is It Enough?

In its second term, the Modi government’s blueprint for the education sector included the unveiling of a new national education policy, filling 0.5 million faculty positions in higher education, replacing the UGC with a Higher Education Commission of India and fixing new accreditation regulations

That finalising the draft education policy took five years and two panels doesn’t augur well. Some of the measures taken, such as the launch of a teachers’ training programme and an integrated school portal, are part of the draft policy. However, what is needed is integrated action rather than initiatives in isolation. The HRD ministry also plans to unveil a five-year vision document to fast-track educational reforms.

In 2018, the government had granted IoE status to three public institutes and issued letters of intent for the same to three private institutes. The idea was to create a competitive spirit for developing world-class institutions. The 100-day blueprint sought to increase the number of IoEs to 30. Accordingly, the UGC’s Empowered Expert Committee recommended that 15 public and 15 private institutes be recognised as IoEs. The government has taken action regarding 10 institutes. Where the Modi government has failed miserably is in its goal of the filling up of 300,000 faculty positions in higher educational institutions.

The Unfinished Agenda

A five-year action plan is needed to implement the most critical reforms, such as a new education regulatory mechanism and body

Vacancies must be filled within a set deadline


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