The National Policy on Education has been formulated by the TSR Subramanian Committee. The 2016 National Policy on Education, which is being formulated nearly three decades since the last Policy, recognizes the criticality of Education as the most important vehicle for social, economic and political transformation. It reiterates the role of education in inculcating values, and to provide skills and competencies for the citizens, and in enabling him to contribute to the nation’s well-being; strengthens democracy by empowering citizens; acts as an integrative force in society, and fosters social cohesion and national identity.
The Salient recommendations are:
1) An Indian Education Service (IES) should be established as an all India service with officers being on permanent settlement to the state governments but with the cadre controlling authority vesting with the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry.
2) The outlay on education should be raised to at least 6% of GDP without further loss of time.
3) There should be minimum eligibility condition with 50% marks at graduate level for entry to existing B.Ed courses. Teacher Entrance Tests (TET) should be made compulsory for recruitment of all teachers. The Centre and states should jointly lay down norms and standards for TET.
4) Compulsory licensing or certification for teachers in government and private schools should be made mandatory, with provision for renewal every 10 years based on independent external testing.
5) Pre-school education for children in the age group of 4 to 5 years should be declared as a right and a programme for it implemented immediately.
6) The no detention policy must be continued for young children until completion of class V when the child will be 11 years old. At the upper primary stage, the system of detention shall be restored subject to the provision of remedial coaching and at least two extra chances being offered to prove his capability to move to a higher class
7) On-demand board exams should be introduced to offer flexibility and reduce year end stress of students and parents. A National Level Test open to every student who has completed class XII from any School Board should be designed.
8) The mid-day meal (MDM) program should now be extended to cover students of secondary schools. This is necessary as levels of malnutrition and anaemia continue to be high among adolescents.
9) UGC Act must be allowed to lapse once a separate law is created for the management of higher education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) needs to be made leaner and thinner and given the role of disbursal of scholarships and fellowships.
10) Top 200 foreign universities should be allowed to open campuses in India and give the same degree which is acceptable in the home country of the said university.
The New National Policy on Education has tried to address these deficiencies and challenges, along with the need to sharply increase the quality of Indian education, across the board. It offers a framework for change, make education modern with optimal use of technology, without compromising on India’s traditions and heritage.