Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday received the support of state governments cutting across party lines for dramatic reforms including a law to punish ‘cheat’ schools and extending the Right to Education Act to class X.
The Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) — the country’s highest advisory body in education — endorsed key HRD ministry proposals that include a law punishing schools that charge capitation fees or mislead or cheat students through false claims.
The CABE, which includes all state education ministers, all Central social sector ministers and nominated civil society representatives, also approved the ministry’s plan to try and extend the RTE Act till class X. The Act guarantees schooling to all students between 6 and 14 – or up top class VIII – at present.
The HRD ministry also received CABE support for working on key reforms to the country’s university affiliation system. An expert panel set up by the HRD ministry has recommended allowing top colleges to award degrees.
The CABE set up panels of state education ministers to draft the law on punishing cheat schools, evolve a blueprint to take extend the RTE Act till class X and to evaluate the proposed affiliation reforms. These panels are expected to submit reports within three months.
The law to punish cheat schools will be based on the principle of self-disclosure by institutions. Schools will be required to place on their website and in their prospectus all details — including the details of their fee structure and teaching staff and their salaries.
There will be no regulators but school Boards and the government will be empowered to act against schools proven to have lied or misled the public by making false claims or to have charged fees different from what they have publicly stated. Schools will also be required to provide receipts for all fee transactions.