With new education policy, HRD ministry targets big reforms
In school education, the ministry has been trying to come up with ideas to radically alter the way learning-teaching activity is conducted.Updated: Jun 30, 2019 07:21 IST
Bringing guidelines that will make schools safer for children and managements more accountable, a new system of regulation of colleges and varsities and internationalisation of Indian education are among the far-reaching reforms planned by the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry as the Narendra Modi government courses along in its second term.
The most significant reform, however, remains the promise made before the 2014 polls, that of bringing in a New Education Policy (NEP). It is now up in public domain. In school education, the ministry has been trying to come up with ideas to radically alter the way learning-teaching is conducted. “From the traditional rotebased learning, our focus is to bring in outcome based learning where concepts are taught and tested. However, for this teachers too need to be trained. This will be one of the focus areas of the ministry,” a senior official said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has held a series of consultations to draft guidelines which will make campuses safer.
The NEP draft itself mentions several items which are on the “to-do” list of the ministry. One of the significant ones being modernisation of the regulation mechanism. The draft policy has been critical of the present mechanism where decisions like starting a programme in distance education, opening a new department, collaboration with a foreign University, require permission from the Universities Grant Commission (UGC). Not only does this undermine autonomy, it also creates an environment of dependency and centralised decision making that does not account for local factors. This is fatal for academic growth, the draft states.
The functions of standard setting, funding, accreditation and regulation will be separated and be conducted by independent bodies, eliminating concentration of power and conflicts of interest, it suggests.
Another aspect which the ministry plans to work on is internationalisation. Indian institutes have often suffered in global rankings because of a lack of international outlook and participation. The ministry has brought schemes which allow foreign faculty teach in India. It has also encouraged foreign students to come and study in India.
“Within the next one month the government has to take some bold actions to signal that it is serious about reforming the education sector,” said Partha Chatterjee, head of the economics department, Shiv Nadar University.
First Published: Jun 30, 2019 07:21 IST