Stakeholders involved in the formulation of the new education policy expressed their disappointment over the lack of consultation in the process. This follows the UT education department’s submission of a fresh proposal to the ministry of human resource and development (MHRD) with MP Kirron Kher’s suggestions.
Private and government school associations, unions, childright commission panels and school management committees (SMCs) are not satisfied with the manner in which department officials have gone about the process. It stands in violation of the objective of the interaction as stated on the MHRD website. The website calls for an ‘inclusive, participatory and holistic approach to be undertaken to take into consideration expert opinions, field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback and lessons learned from best practices.’
President of Independent School’s Association (ISA) HS Mamik said the involvement of proper educationists is essential, “The process undertaken by the department seems like it’s carried out only for the sake of forming a new education policy. If the department isn’t going to consider inputs of all parties, then a set of people from the government are only sending their views again.”
He added that the association had written to the HRD minister in this regard a fortnight ago but hasn’t received a response yet.
Municipal corporation mayor Poonam Sharma who, although, was invited for two meetings to give in her suggestions, feels important issues have been ignored.
Talking about the eight primary schools that come under her jurisdiction, she said, “I have only been told to look into the maintenance of these schools so till the time they don’t give me authority to take care of academics as well, how and why will they value my views.”
Simplification of documentation process during admission of primary students and reform in grading system are some of the suggestions she had made. She also said teachers should be made answerable while judging students’ results.
Meanwhile, Sushil Gupta who runs the citizen council for human rights, said most SMC members were given a call to appear for the meeting only a night prior at GMSSS Sector 33. “Had the department followed a regularised process, perhaps we could have come up with better constructive suggestions as a day’s notice might not ensure 100 % attendance and hence defeats the purpose of a participatory approach,” Gupta said.
Similarly, Saurabh Joshi, councilor (Sector 15 and Khuda Lahora) said he was rather dissatisfied with the administration for not taking into consideration the views of councilors as far as primary education is concerned. He said, “How difficult is it for the department to send letters to 26 elected councilors. A policy cannot be formed like this in an air-conditioned room.”
Members of the government schools principal association also hold similar views. A member, requesting anonymity said, “The no-detention policy has been our most dominant suggestion, which thankfully has been included in the list of suggestions by the education department, if only the process was carried out over a span of these six months, perhaps one could have come up with better solutions. The department has gone wrong here, indeed.”
DPI (schools) Rubinderjit Singh Brar said, “We have held multiple meetings ever since the regional conference was held and have tried to take views from multiple stakeholders, unless someone was left out by chance.” He added that those who felt their views hadn’t been taken into consideration could always go to the MHRD website and give their views.
Various education departments had been issued detailed timelines guiding them to hold meetings at various levels ( gram panchayat/block/urban local bodies/district/state) to ensure all stakeholders participated in the process and this included a list of 13 themes.