“Civilisations is not built with brick and mortar, steel and machinery, but with men and women, with clarity of mind, charity of heart and spirit of co-operation.” Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, President of India (as quoted in The Hindustan Times, page18, dated, January 22, 2017)
Committee for Evolution of the New Economic Policy (Ministry of HRD, Government of India) vide order No. 7-48/2015-PN-II, dated, 31st October 2015.
National University of Educational Planning and Administration
17-B, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi – 110016
Chairman – Shri T.S.R. Subramanian (former Cabinet Secretary) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._S._R._Subramanian
Members – Shri J.S. Rajput, Shrimati Shailaja Chandra, Shri Seva Ram Sharma, Shri Sudhir Mankad.
Report submitted to Government of India on 30/04/2016.
Structure of Report
Chapter 1 – Preamble (Empowering India through Quality Education)
Chapter 2 – Outlines of Approach and Methodology followed by the committee
Chapter 3 – Context and Objectives of the New National Education Policy (Background information on the education sector of India, leading up to the need for a new education policy)
Chapter 4 – Need for a New National Education Policy
Chapter 5 – 8 Analysis relating to school education, higher education and institutional issues.
Chapter 5 – Governance in Education
Chapter 6 – School Education
Chapter 7 – Higher Education
Chapter 8 – Reforming and Strengthening National Level Institutions
Chapter 9 – Executive Summary or summed up recommendations
Abbreviations and Acronyms
AICTE: All India Council for Technical Education
AISHE: All India Survey on Higher Education
AIU: Association of Indian Universities
API: Academic Performance Index
ASER: Annual Status of Education Report
AYUSH: Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy System
BCI: Bar Council of India
B.Ed.: Bachelor of Education
B.A.: Bachelor of Arts
B.Sc.: Bachelor of Science
B. Pharma: Bachelor of Pharmacy
BRCs: Block Resource Centres
CABE: Central Advisory Board of Education
CBSE: Central Board of Secondary Education
CCE: Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation
CCH: Central Council of Homeopathy
CCIM: Central Council of Indian Medicines
CEHE: Council for Excellence in Higher Education
COA: Council of Architecture
CLASS: Computer Literacy and Studies in Schools
CSO: Central Statistical Office
CSIR: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
CWSN: Children with Special Needs
DCI: Dental Council of India
DEC: Distance Education Council
DEO: District Education Officer
DIET: District Institute of Education and Training
DISE: District Information System for Education
U-DISE: Unified District Information System for Education
DPEO: District Primary Education Officer
DPEP: District Primary Education Programme
ECCE: Early Childhood Care and Education
EGS: Education Guarantee Scheme EWS: Economically Weaker Section
FIDC: Faculty Induction Development Cell
GDP: Gross Domestic Product
GER: Gross Enrolment Ratio
GIS: Geographic Information System
HEIs: Higher Education Institutions
ICAR: Indian Council of Agricultural Research
ICDS: Integrated Child Development Services
ICSE: Indian Certificate of Secondary Education
ICT: Information and Communications Technology
IEC: Indian Education Service
IEDSS: Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage
IGNOU: Indira Gandhi National Open University
IME: Institute of Management and Engineering
INC: Indian Nursing Council
IISc: Indian Institute of Science
IIT: Indian Institute of Technology
IITB: Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
IITD: Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
IITM: Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
IIIT: Indian Institute of Information Technology
IT: Information and Technology
IPRC: Identification, Placement and Review Committee
IQA: Internal Quality Assurance
IRAHE: Indian Regulatory Authority for Higher Education
JNVs: Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas
JSS: Jana Shikshan Sansthan
KVS: Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
MCI: Medical Council of India
MCQs: Multiple Choice Questions
MDMS: Mid Day Meal Scheme
MGDS: Millennium Development Goals
MHRD: Ministry of Human Resource Development
MIC: Modern Indian Language
MME: Monitoring, Management and Evaluation
MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses
MSDE: Ministry for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
MWCD: Ministry of Women and Child Development
NAA: National Accreditation Agency
NAAC: National Assessment and Accreditation Council
NAEP: National Adult Education Programme
NAS: National Assessment Survey
NBA: National Board of Accreditation
NCVT: National Council for Vocational Training
NCERT: National Council for Educational Research and Training
NCFTE: National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education
NCTE: National Council for Teacher Education
NER: Net Enrolment Ratio
NET: National Eligibility Test
NGO: Non-Governmental Organisation
NIOS: National Institute of Open Schooling
NIT: National Institute of Technology
NLM: National Literacy Mission
NLHE: National Law for Higher Education
NPE: National Policy on Education
NPNSPE: National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education
NRAHE: National Regulatory Authority for Higher Education
NSDA: National Skill Development Agency
NSDC: National Skill Development Corporation
NSQF: National Skills Qualification Framework
NUEPA: National University of Educational Planning and Administration
NVS: Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti
ODL: Open and Distance Learning
OECD: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PCI: Pharmacy Council of India
PTR: Pupil Teacher Ratio
PWD: Persons with Disabilities
Ph.D.: Doctor of Philosophy
QCI: Quality Council of India
RCI: Rehabilitation Council of India
RFLP: Rural Functional Literacy Project
RMSA: Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan
RTE: Right to Education
RUSA: Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan
SC: Scheduled Castes
SCERT: State Council of Educational Research and Training
SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals
SDCF: Single Data Capture Format
SET: State Eligibility Test
SIET: State Institute of Education Technology
SMCs: School Management Committees
SOUS: State Open Universities
SRCs: State Resource Centres
SSA: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
SSC: Sector Skill Council
ST: Scheduled Tribes
STC: Special Training Centres
TET: Teacher Eligibility Test
TLC: Total Literacy Campaign
TLF: Three Language Formula
TPs: Training Providers
UGC: University Grants Commission
UPSC: Union Public Service Commission
VET: Vocational Education and Training
Empowering India through Quality Education
“The most important and urgent reform needed in education is to transform it, to endeavour to relate it to the life, needs and aspirations of the people and thereby make it the powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation necessary for the realization of the national goals. For this purpose, education should be developed so as to increase productivity, achieve social and national integration, accelerate the process of modernization and cultivate social, moral and spiritual values.” Report of the University Education Commission (Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Commission), 1948-49
“The most important and urgent reform needed in education is to transform it, to endeavour to relate it to the life, needs and aspirations of the people and thereby make it the powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation necessary for the realisation of the national goals. For this purpose, education should be developed so as to increase productivity, achieve social and national integration, accelerate the process of modernization and cultivate social, moral and spiritual values.” Report of the University Education Commission (Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Commission), 1948-49
The 2016 National Policy on Education, which is being formulated nearly three decades since the last Policy, recognises 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/her 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. One cannot over-emphasise the role of Education as the key catalyst for promoting socio-economic mobility in building an equitable and just society. It is an established fact that an education system built on the premises of quality and equity is central to sustainable success in the emerging knowledge economy. Education is a powerful tool for preparing our citizens in the knowledge society. Education will amalgamate globalisation with localisation, enabling our children and youth to become world citizens, with their roots deeply embedded in Indian culture and traditions.
The Education System in India
The Education System which was evolved first in ancient India is known as the Vedic system. The importance of education was well recognised in India,
‘Swadeshe pujyate raja, vidwan sarvatra pujyate’
“A king is honoured only in his own country, but one who is learned is honoured throughout the world.” Sanskrit Subhashitaani संस्कृत सुभाषितानि
विद्वत्वं च नृपत्वं च, न एव तुल्ये कदाचन्।
स्वदेशे पूज्यते राजा, विद्वान् सर्वत्र पूज्यते॥
- हिंदी – विद्वता और राज्य अतुलनीय हैं, राजा को तो अपने राज्य में ही सम्मान मिलता है पर विद्वान का सर्वत्र सम्मान होता है॥
- Intelligence and kingdom can never be compared. A king is honoured/respected in his own land whereas a wise man is honoured/respected everywhere.
- Source: https://sites.google.com/site/vedicscripturesinc/home/subhashitani
The ultimate aim of education in ancient India was not knowledge, as preparation for life in this world or for life beyond, but for complete realisation of self. The Gurukul system fostered a bond between the Guru & the Shishya and established a teacher-centric system in which the pupil was subjected to a rigid discipline and was under certain obligations towards his teacher. The world’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC and the University of Nalanda was built in the 4th century BC, a great achievement and contribution of ancient India in the field of education. Science and technology in ancient and medieval India covered all the major branches of human knowledge and activities. Indian scholars like Charaka and Susruta, Aryabhata, Bhaskaracharya, Chanakya, Patanjali and Vatsayayna and numerous others made seminal contribution to world knowledge in such diverse fields as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, medical science and surgery, fine arts, mechanical and production technology, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, sports and games. The Indian education system helped in preserving the ancient culture and promoting cultural unity and infused a sense of responsibility and social values. The ancient Indian education system has been a source of inspiration to all educational systems of the world, particularly in Asia and Europe.
During the freedom struggle, several leaders like Gokhale, Ram Mohan Roy and Gandhiji worked for better education for our people, particularly women. Despite their efforts, India’s literacy rate at the time of independence was 12%. Subsequent developments in the education sector have to be seen in the context of centuries of apathy and neglect.
In the seven decades after independence, while much has been achieved, many would genuinely feel that India has not taken its rightful place in the comity of nations. At independence, India had sound institutional infrastructure and an administrative system that was the envy of the developing world; even taking into account the major achievement in standing out as a stable democracy, India seems to have lost its preeminent position mainly because of poor education and health standards, which are both the cause and the effect of the current situation.
The Right to Education was recognised by the United Nations as fundamental to man – indeed as the UN was being established, India had argued vehemently in favour of education as a fundamental right. The 1968 and 1986-1992 National Education policies in India recognised education as a precondition for development and set out three critical issues in those policies – equity, accessibility and quality.
In the last twenty years, the educational scenario has seen major changes and new concepts such as:
- the rights-based approach to elementary education,
- student entitlement,
- the shift in emphasis from literacy and basic education to secondary, higher, technical and professional education,
- the endeavour to extend universalisation to secondary education,
- reshape the higher education scenario.
Recent developments include:
- a new impetus to skill development through vocational education in the context of the emergence of new technologies in a rapidly expanding economy in a globalised environment,
- need for innovative ways of student financing,
- addressing challenges of globalisation and liberalisation,
- recognition of multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of learning and knowledge,
- efficient use of public resources and encouraging ways of enhancing private investment and funding.
Today, we find that as a result of efforts made during the last few decades, while accessibility, infrastructure and literacy levels have improved significantly, there remains much to be disturbed about when one reflects on the continuing inequity and the poor quality of education. It will not be an exaggeration to say that our education system is in disarray. Various evaluation studies show a decline in learning levels among school students. Teacher vacancies and teacher absenteeism continue to plague government schools in which dropout rates are still high. There is widespread corruption in appointments and transfers of teachers and also in according approval and recognition to educational institutions. Donations have to be paid for several kinds of admissions and are particularly rampant in engineering and medical education. Examination papers are leaked, copying is widespread and mark sheets are often rigged.
While these issues are elaborated in the report, the Preamble seeks to highlight the focus of the Committee’s deliberations which was principally on improving the quality of education and restoring the credibility of the education system. In an increasingly globalised and digital world, it is imperative for India to significantly change the methods of imparting education, to nurture and develop the qualities that can lead to a meaningful future – both for the individual and society.
There is now recognition that there are several imbalances due to social, gender and regional disparities, which can be remedied through appropriate interventions and a focused strategy. Sustainable development of a nation can be realised only if all sections of the society have equal opportunities and hence the need for a clarion call for multi-pronged, inclusive measures such as:
- the provision of educational amenities,
- student incentives and financing,
- remedial coaching,
- special facilities for different disabilities, etc.
About 65% of India’s population today is less than 35 years old. A huge
demographic dividend will be available if India revamps the education sector. Not doing so will have serious consequences for the country. Many studies have shown that if a child is provided good quality education and health care in the early years of schooling, it enhances his/her ability to lead a more meaningful and productive life (personal remarks – for that intelligence agencies would have to be made competent, empathetic and compassionate. In current circumstances, it is an impossible task).
Children in India have the necessary intelligence and potential; what they need are opportunities to access quality education.
Education is a great leveller and provides the only sustainable route to reduce disparities. In the past, a small proportion of Indians had access to quality education, but even so, a large number of Indians managed to distinguish themselves in academics. The country has tremendous potential to become a world leader in several fields if there is a resolve to provide high-quality education and health care to its children.
Fortunately, India is on the cusp of major transformation. Due to measures that were taken over the last few decades, the disparities between urban and rural areas in terms of infrastructure and facilities have reduced. Even more significantly, Digital India is being rolled out, and could be soon a reality – every Village Panchayat will be digitally connected and the phenomenon of ‘remote’ schools will diminish rapidly. This is an unparalleled opportunity which needs to be fully harnessed. The education sector, both school and higher education, can greatly benefit by judicious use of Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Technology alone cannot be the solution to the problem of poor quality of education; the human factor is equally, if not more, important. The Committee recognises that the teacher is the pivot around which the education system revolves; sadly, we have not succeeded in attracting good students to the teaching profession (personal comments – due to an autocratic, authoritarian and dictatorial mindset of India’s intelligence agencies); added to that, most teacher education courses have little substance.
The Committee has made several recommendations to improve the quality of teacher training and education because, without good teachers, there can be no quality education
To quote Swami Vivekanand,
“Education is not the amount of information that we put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested, all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart a whole library….. …. If education is identical with information, the libraries are the greatest sages of the world and encyclopaedia are the greatest Rishis.”
The statement of Swami Vivekanand assumes much greater significance with the advent of the internet and ever expanding digital connectivity.
The Way Forward
The focus of the proposed New National Policy on Education is on improving the quality of education and restoring its credibility. It seeks to create conditions to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and promote transparency in the management of education.
The core objectives of education in the coming years should encompass four essential components – i.e.
- building values,
- knowledge and
Whilst knowledge and skills are necessarily specific to the objectives of the study and largely determined by factors like future employment or the pursuit of a vocation, awareness and values are universal in nature and should be shared by all.
Education should aim to develop pride in India and in being an Indian. It should be seen as a powerful route to reduce regional and social disparities and enabling choice and freedom to the individual to lead a productive life and participate in the country’s development.
Value orientation is an over-arching and comprehensive area that needs conscious integration with general education at each stage. An acquaintance with the Indian tradition of acceptance of diversity of India’s heritage, culture and history could lead to social cohesion and religious amity. The content and process of education, particularly school education has to be prepared accordingly.
The New National Policy on Education has tried to address the deficiencies and challenges faced by our education system, particularly the urgent need to improve the quality of learning across all sectors. It offers a framework for change, make education modern with the use of technology, without compromising on India’s traditions and heritage.
The Need for National Commitment
On the totem pole of the state management hierarchy, education comes relatively low both in status and recognition. This was part of the administrative ethos bestowed by colonial rulers who had no interest in imparting education to the bulk of Indians. This neglect should no longer be tolerated. Education must be given the highest priority. It is the duty of Central and State Governments to provide necessary resources and create conditions that are favourable for the process of teaching and learning to flourish. Every opportunity needs to be provided to young persons to get a good quality education and acquire skills that lead to employment and entrepreneurship.
- Totem poles are monumental sculptures consisting of poles, posts or pillars, carved with symbols or figures. They are usually made from large trees, mostly western red cedar, by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of North America (the north-western United States and Canada’s western province, British Columbia). The word totem derives from the Algonquian (most likely Ojibwe) word od oo dem [oˈtuːtɛm], “his kinship group”. The carvings may symbolise or commemorate cultural beliefs that recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. The poles may also serve as functional architectural features, welcome signs for village visitors, mortuary vessels for the remains of deceased ancestors, or as a means to publicly ridicule someone. Given the complexity and symbolic meanings of totem pole carvings, their placement and importance lie in the observer’s knowledge and connection to the meanings of the figures.
The basic education infrastructure already exists in India. The Indian child is as resourceful and intelligent as any in the world. New technologies are now available. Governments at the Centre and the States only need to understand the catalytic role they have to play in fostering an atmosphere that enables students to think, to learn, and contribute to the country’s development. All that is required is a change in the mindset among stakeholders. Once the importance of ascribing the highest priority to education is recognised, the corresponding responsiveness and sense of accountability will inexorably emerge.
- Inexorable – Something that behaves inexorably is unmovable, not persuadable, or relentless: like your heart beating inexorably as the rollercoaster climbs inexorably up the hill. Like a runner heading toward the finish line or a story spiralling to an end, the adverb inexorably is for things that have momentum and just keep going. A boulder falling down a mountain is moving inexorably. If you fail class after class, you’re moving inexorably toward flunking out of school. People are always ageing, and we’re all moving inexorably (though slowly) toward death. This is a strong word for powerful events and forces that just won’t stop.
For two-thirds of mankind’s history, India as one of the oldest and most glorious living civilisations in the world dominated the world scene in every respect –in philosophy, economics, trade, culture as well as in education. If India does the things now required to be done, in 15 to20 years Indian Education can be transformed. The rest of the 21st century could then belong to India.
Approach and Methodology
Constitution of the Committee on Evolution of the New Education Policy
The Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy was constituted by MHRD vide Order F. No. 7-48/2015-PN-II dated 24th November 2015, in the amendment of the earlier Order F. No. 7-48/2015-PN-II dated 31st October 2015, and entrusted with the task of formulating a Draft National Education Policy. The Committee commenced work in the first week of November 2015. The MHRD, GOI orders constituting the Committee, also indicating the extension for the period of the work of the Committee from time to time are reproduced in Annex IA (Vol.II).
Advanced Steps Initiated by the MHRD for Preparation of the New Education Policy
Prior to the constitution of above Committee, the Ministry of Human Resource Development had embarked on a detailed process of initiating extensive consultations with various stakeholders in the country interested in the field of education, to elicit views on the reforms in the education sector, and calling for detailed recommendations in this regard.
Starting from the Gram Panchayat level and going up vertically and laterally, panning the entire educational system in the states and including institutions and organisations allied to the Ministry of HRD as well as non-governmental stakeholders and even individuals, all who had interest in the sector had been given by the MHRD an opportunity to contribute to the new policy formulation. Covering 33 identified broad subject areas (as briefly described in Annex IB), draft reports prepared by scores of expert groups and stakeholders were made available to the Committee as background material on which the policy could be based on. Extensive efforts had been made by the MHRD to reach out to every person, organisation and segment of society, affording anyone with an interest in the progress of education in India to contribute in making suggestions which could respond to diverse and emerging needs which had surfaced since 1986/92 when the last education policy was adopted. This year-long process had been embarked upon by the MHRD as the first step in initiating the necessary revision to the education policy of India.
A brief description of the scope, coverage, method and outcomes of the year-long consultation exercise of the MHRD is given in Annex IC, Vol. II. The Committee was provided with a large number of consultation reports, online feedbacks from individuals and institutions and other related material for its reference, the list of which is also given in Annex IIA, Vol. II. All these voluminous literature that emerged through this exercise contained many signals emanating from different parts of the country, from different kinds of stakeholders of the current state of education, the major need for reforms, and the directions it needs to take. It should be added that the base for the new policy was truly laid through the major preliminary steps undertaken by the Ministry.
Inputs from some of the above-listed sources, arising from this exercise, continued to be received well after the Committee’s work had commenced, and were nonetheless taken into account by the Committee.
Chapter 2.3 Approach of the Committee in Calling for Evidence, Data and Opinion
In its first few meetings, the Committee saw the documentation arising
from the wide-ranging consultations. The Committee noted that a large number of suggestions, thematic prescriptions, and analytical approaches, were available in the documentation already generated through this exercise; even though much of the documentation was available to the Committee only after a time lag.
The Committee took note that many of the suggestions received through the above process were prescriptive in nature, and which often lacked specificity in terms of dimension of the treatment of the problem or its potential application on a wider scale, nevertheless were important pointers for the New Policy to take, and gave major impetus to the work of the Committee. The Committee also noted that while the suggestions often summarised or prescribed the desired course of action, it was not easy to comprehend the field circumstances underlying the recommendations.
The Committee felt that the mere extraction of ideas and recommendations put forward by stakeholders would have been relatively easy, but the policy would have lacked in-depth analysis in its recommendations, and would not have had sufficient gravitas or wider application possibilities.
- Gravitas is seriousness and dignity. It’s hard to take someone seriously who’s wearing full clown makeup, no matter how much gravitas they speak with. Gravitas is a Latin word that means “weight or heaviness.” It came to mean a figurative weight after gravity acquired a primarily scientific meaning. A biography of Abraham Lincoln will inevitably be full of gravitas, and places like libraries, museums, and university buildings seem to have gravitas, or dignity, while grocery stores and gyms usually do not.
The Committee was satisfied that it was necessary to reach out to knowledgeable individuals, experts, scholars, and experienced educationists, to comprehend the imperatives which would lead to sufficiently nuanced conclusions, in making the necessary choices in policy making recommendations. The Committee decided to embark on inviting experts, renowned and experienced educationists, organisations and institutions which had experience in operating in the education field, with possibly widely differing perceptions and prescriptions, to understand the basis on which policy recommendations needed to be projected.
- Nuance – Use nuance to refer to a very small difference in colour, meaning, or feeling. What makes singers brilliant is not how loud they can sing a note, but how many nuances they can evoke through their approach. Pronounced “NOO-ahns,” this noun was borrowed from French in the 18th century and derives ultimately from Latin nūbēs “a cloud.” Think of clouds––subtle gradations in colour to understand this word. When you say a work of art was nuanced, it means there was a lot to it, but incorporated subtly.
Accordingly, meetings were organised almost on a daily basis and restricted to one-on-one conversations or small group meetings, which provided opportunities to raise specific questions, engage with the issues posed by the committee and seek specific ideas and suggestions across the table. A number of doubts and contradictions could thereby be ironed out, and simultaneously claims which were based on limited experience could be disregarded. Because the discussions were with a cross-section of experts and experienced practitioners, including people representing different interest groups, it was possible to get a feel, to distinguish what was important from a policy point of view, and isolate them from recommendations, which essentially arose from irritants encountered by specific interest groups.
As mentioned, the Committee had decided at an early stage, that it was necessary to meet various experts, academics, administrators, expert groups and other related stakeholders from all over the country to evolve a relevant and meaningful education policy. In fact, the Committee took a conscious decision to invite people likely to have totally different viewpoints on various subjects, to get a bearing on the optimal path to be recommended; even groups with extreme views were invited and heard. All those who were keen to meet the Committee were accommodated. Recommendations and recipes, received in bits and pieces from different protagonists/experts/interest groups were reconceived and taken on board in the appropriate context by the Committee. The Committee expresses its gratitude to all those who helped it, in different ways, particularly by giving new ideas and insights to deal with current challenges in the education sector in India.
Chapter 2.4 Consultations with State Governments and Central Government Officials
Even though the MHRD consultation process included eliciting formal views from all state governments, the Committee was desirous of hearing the views of state governments, first hand, to get a full picture of the main-springs which could lead to revised policy formulation. The Committee recognised that no organisation can provide the feel for the scale and scope of the issues confronting the education sector, as effectively as the state governments who are in daily touch with these issues, and who exercise authority and bear responsibility for the administration of education. Close interactions with the state representatives were therefore organised in batches so that every state in the country got an opportunity of meeting the committee and responding to specific issues raised. The committee was indeed fortunate to have had the opportunity of directly discussing the feasibility of taking forward certain ideas with the senior-most representatives from the state education departments, who were accompanied by selected Vice Chancellors and education experts, particularly in a relatively informal atmosphere. The Committee satisfied that they learnt a lot from the various educational officials and experts and vice chancellors from various states that they came across in the course of this exercise.
The consultation strategy adopted by the Committee included:
(a) holding regional consultation meetings at Gandhinagar, Gujarat (for the western region), at Raipur, Chhattisgarh (for the eastern region), Guwahati, Assam (for the north-eastern region), and NUEPA, New Delhi (for both northern and southern regions);
(b) Visits to institutions of higher education and school visits in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat;
(c) consultations with national level institutions like NUEPA, NCERT, AICTE, UGC, NCTE, IGNOU, NIOS, etc.; and
(d) consultations with more than 300 educationists, Vice-Chancellors, experts, CSO and NGO representatives, and representatives of education providers in the private sector at NUEPA, New Delhi. The details of regional consultations and consultation meetings with institutions and individuals by the Committee are given in Annex IIB, Vol. II. The regional meetings held at various centres and at Delhi, discussed
The regional meetings held at various centres and at Delhi; discussed specific issues raised by the Chairman and members of the Committee, and the response elicited from the State representatives; as also to listen to the concerns and prime questions confronting the state authorities. Since parts of these meetings were conducted in a semi-formal format, it was possible to get a feel for the thought processes of the state officials, who were encouraged to express their views in an informal atmosphere. These opportunities facilitated the Committee to test out numerous ideas which had emerged additionally, consider their acceptability, feasibility and the willingness of the states to implement the suggestions before they could find a place in the policy. The State governments on their part used the opportunity to highlight specific strategies and innovative practices which had yielded positive results. Many of these have been referred to and recommended for adoption in the draft policy and framework of action. The Committee needs to place on records its valuable experience in having heard the collective knowledge of the state representatives, who had a vivid picture of the ground level issues confronting them.
The regional visits also enabled the Committee to undertake a number of field visits in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat. During its field visits, the Committee visited a number of schools, colleges, universities, state and district level resource organisations and talked to students, teachers, parents, school/college management representatives and local officials. In each regional centre, a series of consultation meetings with educationists, experts, NGO representatives, CSO representatives, private education providers and national level resource and regulatory organisations, which proved to be very valuable to get a cross-section the views of educationists and others of that region. The Committee also organized detailed meetings separately with the higher education and school education departments of the MHRD, to get a perspective of the issues which the Ministry considered important; and also to get an opportunity to interact with the senior officials of the meeting on various initiatives, issues and problems, and directions for taking the policy forward.
The Committee also consulted all departments of the MHRD, and other related Ministries like the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Skill Development, and others and had the benefit of the advice and suggestions from them.
Chapter 2.5 Documents Presented to the Committee
The Committee also received important comments and suggestions for drafting the New Education Policy. In total, the Committee received 107 documents of varying length and substance on various thematic areas concerning school, higher and technical education, including their governance aspects. The list of inputs/material directly received by the Committee is given in Annex IIC, Vol. II.
Chapter 2.6 The Committee’s Thanks go to a Large Number of People
The Committee has to thank a very large number of people, who have shared in different ways in evolving the draft of the new education policy. Many ideas reflected in the report have emanated from the various experts, educationists, organisations, NGOs, and other stakeholders, who met the Committee; the Committee has borrowed freely from these meetings, the exchange of ideas and information, and also from the suggestions received from those who generously gave the Committee advice. The Committee is unable to thank each one individually but wishes to emphasise that the work of the Committee has been made easy by so many people who contributed to it.
The MHRD had requested the NUEPA to function as a Secretariat of the Committee. The Committee wishes to express its gratitude to the Vice Chancellor, NUEPA, and through him to the faculty and other staff of NUEPA for rendering them all possible facilities to undertake the meetings and to pursue the work of the Committee to its conclusion in an extremely efficient manner.
Prof. K. Biswal of NUEPA was nominated as the Secretary to the Committee. The Committee acknowledges the dedication and quality of work contributed by Prof. Biswal in this assignment; it expresses its thanks to him for the services rendered.
The Committee received full support in all its aspect of work from the Ministry of HRD; the Committee wishes to thank the Secretary, Higher Education, and the Secretary, School Education, as also all officers of the Ministry for the assistance rendered whenever approached.
Above all, the Committee would like to thank the Honourable Minister for HRD for providing the members, the unique opportunity to study a field of critical importance to the country, and give its recommendations on a theme that constitutes the most significant investment that any country can make in its own future.
Context and Objectives of the New NPE
Chapter 3.1 Broad Objectives of the New National Policy on Education, 2016
The starting point for the new National Policy on Education (NPE) must necessarily be a clear articulation of the meaning and goals of education in the Indian context.
- What are the basic objectives which we seek to achieve through the new NPE?
- What knowledge, skills and other qualities do we seek to instil through education?
- What kind of citizen should emerge as an end product of the education system?
- What attributes should an educated citizen possess in order to be able to function as an informed and enlightened member of society?
Discussions on these objectives of education predate the independence of India. In 1938, a Committee on the Wardha Education Scheme (Nayi Taleem of Mahatma Gandhi) set up by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), worked out the modalities for the implementation of the Nayi Taleem in great detail and recommended it for adoption by all provincial governments. This was reiterated by the CABE Committee on “Post-War Plan for Educational Development in India” (1944), also known as the Sargent Plan. This was a Plan to ‘Indianise’ education; universalize primary education; improve the quality of education so as to make the Indian education system comparable to the best available elsewhere.
Education has all through been considered a key driver of national development; an essential condition for building a humane society. However, the core objectives of education in the coming years should encompass four essential components – i.e. building values, awareness, knowledge and skills. While knowledge and skills are necessarily specific to the objectives of the study and largely determined by factors like future employment or the pursuit of a vocation, awareness and values are universal in nature and should be shared by all. Ideally, these should foster the development of personal qualities and behavioural attributes, which will help children, develop into good citizens.
Along with the economic objectives (i.e. creating human capital), education should aim to develop pride in India and in being an Indian. It should foster learning about our ancient history, culture and traditions. Indian society is characterised not only by multi-lingual, multicultural and multireligious diversity; geographical differences and regional disparities; but, also by inequalities of income, wealth, opportunity and access to resources. Education should be seen as a powerful route to reduce regional and social disparities; enabling choice and freedom to the individual to lead a productive life and participate in the country’s development.
Education should foster peace, tolerance, secularism and national integration. Towards promoting greater understanding of diversity in India as well as social cohesion, education should inculcate awareness of India’s rich heritage, glorious past, great traditions and heterogeneous culture. Education must enhance and sustain the cultural capital in the country, a powerful input for national development. Education must be seen as the development and not a means of development; it should find a prominent place in the national development agenda.
Chapter 3.2. Inculcation of Values through Education
Value orientation is an over-arching and comprehensive area that needs conscious integration with general education at each stage including adult education, teacher education, and also technical and management education. Education has little meaning without development, nurture and internalisation of values.
In an increasingly complex globalised world, the erosion of values is adversely impacting human life in practically every sector of activity. It has resulted in alarming levels of exploitation of human beings and also of nature. The sensitive man-nature link is in danger of snapping irretrievably. Sufferings inflicted on much of the mankind largely go unnoticed. When values are ignored, humanity suffers; so does the man-nature dependency.
India has suffered serious consequences arising out of increasing threat of terrorism and fundamentalism. Education, in its entirety, has to prepare persons for contributing to a world of peace, harmony, mutual trust and a value-based society.
An acquaintance with the Indian tradition of acceptance of diversity of India’s heritage, culture and history could lead to social cohesion and religious amity. The content and process of education, particularly school education has to be prepared accordingly.
Every teacher is to be prepared to internalise that apart from his professional readiness and responsibility, he is a role model, inculcator of values and is expected to lead a value-based life.
For a proper appreciation of secularism and value education, the recommendations of the Chavan Committee Report are particularly relevant. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, in its 86th Report submitted to both Houses of Parliament on 26 February 1999 contained a comprehensive analysis on how education should contribute to character building.
Its recommendations referred to the following:
- 8. “Truth (Satya), Righteous conduct (Dharma), Peace (Shanti), Love(Prem), and Nonviolence (Ahimsa) are the core universal values which can be identified as the foundation stone on which the value-based education programme can be build-up. These five are indeed universal values and respectively represent the five domains of human personality: intellectual, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. They also are correspondingly correlated with the five major objectives of education, namely, knowledge, skills, balance, vision, and identity.”
- 13. “Another aspect that must be given some thought is religion, which is the most misused and misunderstood concept. The process of making the students acquainted with the basics of all religions, the values inherent therein and also a comparative study of the philosophy of all religions should begin at the middle stage in schools and continue up to the university level. Students have to be made aware that the basic concept behind every religion is common, only the practices differ. Even if there are differences of opinion in certain areas, people have to learn to coexist and carry no hatred against any religion.”
It is also relevant to recall that the Supreme Court of India in its judgement delivered on September 12, 2002, stated that making children aware of basics of all religion should have been done a long time back.
The Justice J.S. Verma Committee Report (1999) expounded that, along with fundamental rights, it is equally necessary that citizens should understand their fundamental duties laid down in the Constitution.Schools must help inculcate key qualities and attitudes like regularity and punctuality, cleanliness, self-control, industriousness and a spirit of
Schools must help inculcate key qualities and attitudes like
- regularity and punctuality,
- cleanliness, self-control,
- industriousness and a spirit of entrepreneurship,
- a sense of duty,
- the desire to serve,
- sensitivity to greater equality,
- respect towards women,
- care for the elderly,
- a democratic temper and
- an obligation to preserve the environment.
Creating and maintaining a congenial school environment, and enabling the teachers in inculcating social values to the students, and to get the children to learn that every act, action and activity is equally important. These attributes shall include friendliness, cooperativeness, compassion, self-discipline, courage, concern for the rights of others and keenness to support genuine causes of justice and fairness.NPE should aim to equip and enable students to remain relevant in a globalised, digital world.
Finally, familiarity with the basics of the Constitution of India, particularly its Preamble and the Chapters on Fundamental Rights and Duties must form part of the education of every citizen.
Chapter 3.3 Constitutional & Legal Provisions relating to Education
Education was originally included in the State List of the Constitution of India. Under the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, education was transferred to the Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule, within the competency of both the Centre and the State Governments, but with residual powers vesting with the Union Government. This implies, that in case of a conflict, laws passed by the Parliament shall prevail over those made by State Legislatures, and that, any State law shall be void to the extent of repugnancy.
Under Article 246, Entry 2, State Governments are vested with the power to legislate upon
“education, including technical education, medical education and the universities…. vocational and technical training of labourers.”
Entry 66 of the Union List in the Seventh Schedule vests the Central Government with the power to legislate for
“co-ordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.”
The Constitution vests the State Governments with powers relating to school education, syllabus, Boards, textbook bureaus and medium of instruction. The regulation and maintenance of the standards of higher education in the country, as a whole, has been located within the remit of the Central Government. However, because of its concurrent authority, the Central Government has been providing over-arching policy inputs as well as implementing important schemes with shared financial responsibility.
Further, the power of State Governments to establish universities is subject to the power of Parliament to legislate under Entry 66 to maintain the required standards of higher education. This was reinforced by the ruling of the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Osmania University Teachers Association versus the State of Andhra Pradesh and Another in 1987.
Moreover, a number of institutions specified in Entries 63, 64 and 65 of the Union List fall exclusively within the competence of the Central Government. These include the Benares Hindu University; the Aligarh Muslim University; Delhi University; any institution declared by law as being of national importance; institutions of national importance for scientific or technical education financed wholly or partly by the Government of India; and Union agencies and institutions for professional, vocational or technical training, including the training of police officers; the promotion of special studies or research; or scientific or technical assistance in the investigation or detection of crime.
Various apex institutions have been vested by Acts of Parliament with the responsibility to regulate the standards of education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is empowered to coordinate and maintain minimum standards of university education. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) was established in 1994 to assess the standards of quality and accredit Universities along with their constituent and affiliated colleges. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was established in 1987 for planned and coordinated development of the technical education system in the country. The National Board of Accreditation (NAB) has been set up to assess and accredit technical institutions in the country and make recommendations for recognition and de-recognition of qualifications.
Further, there are apex statutory bodies, like the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), Medical Council of India (MCI), Dental Council of India (DCI), Indian Nursing Council (INC), Council of Architecture, Bar Council of India (BCI), Pharmacy Council of India (PCI), Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), Rehabilitation Council of India, Central Council of Homeopathy (CCH) and Central Council of Indian Medicine (CClM), Distance Education Council, National Council for Vocational Training, etc., which regulate the standards of education in various professional fields.
Finally, it is important to take note of the changes effected by the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in 1992, dealing with the powers of Panchayati Raj institutions. Under this amendment, State Legislatures may by law, endow Panchayats under their jurisdiction with the requisite powers and authority to function as institutions of self-government. Among the subjects which may be devolved to the Panchayats under such State laws, are the implementation of schemes relating, inter alia to education, including primary and secondary schools; technical training and vocational education; and adult and non-formal education.(Reference Article 243G, Items 17-19 of Schedule XI). However, in practice, it is noticed that in most states, such devolution of authority and responsibility has not been formalised to any significant extent.
From the above provisions, it is clear that the Central government has a Constitutional obligation to regulate and maintain the standards of higher education in the country as a whole. However, as an item on the Concurrent List, education also falls within the purview of the State Governments. Accordingly, there has been considerable expansion in the number of universities and colleges established by State Governments, as well as in the number of private universities and colleges in the States. However, many ‘States’ have not felt responsible for the maintenance of quality and standards. There is, thus, wide variation in the quality of higher education institutions and many of them are sub-standard.
Over the years the central Government has established important institutions to undertake funding, regulatory and oversight functions but the ground reality is that hundreds of sub-standard institutions have been permitted to be set up over the decades, contributing to a fall in educational standards. Equally, a variety of factors, including lack of resources for maintenance of physical infrastructure, libraries, teacher management and other local and state level factors have contributed to the significant decline in quality of educational standards.
(a) Fundamental Rights
Several provisions relating to Fundamental Rights in the Constitution impact on education. Of these, the most important are the Right to Education, Religious Instruction in Educational Institutions and the Right of Minorities to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions.
(b) Religious Instruction/Worship
Article 28 provides for “Freedom of attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions” as a Fundamental Right. It mandates that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds and that no minor person attending any State-recognized or State-aided educational institution shall be required to take part in any religious instruction or attend any religious worship without the consent of his guardian. However, this shall not apply to educational institutions which are administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instructions be imparted in the institution.
(c) Non-Discrimination in Education
Article 29 (2) provides, as a Fundamental Right, that no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language.
(d) Rights of Minorities
Article 30 relates to cultural and educational rights of minorities. It lays Article 30 relates to cultural and educational rights of minorities. It lays down that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
In making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educational institution established and administered by a minority, the State shall ensure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is such, as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause.In granting aid to educational institutions, the State shall not discriminate
In granting aid to educational institutions, the State shall not discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.
(e) Education for Weaker Sections
The Constitution makes special provision for safeguarding the educational interests of the weaker, socially and educationally backward sections of society and members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes.
Article 15 empowers the State to make any special provision, by law, for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with regard to their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, with the exception of minority educational institutions.
Article 46 enjoins the State, as a Directive Principle of State Policy, to promote the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes with special care, and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
(f) Provisions with Regard to Language
(i) Linguistic Rights of Minorities
Article 29 (1) guarantees the protection of the linguistic rights of minorities. Any section of citizens with their own distinct language, script or culture has the Fundamental Right to conserve it.
Article 350 B provides for the appointment of a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
(ii) Instruction in the Mother Tongue
With language emerging as the primary criterion for the demarcation of Indian States, mother tongues have received special emphasis as ‘medium of instruction’ and subjects of study. Under Article 29 (1), the Constitution recognises the study and preservation of one’s mother tongue as a Fundamental Right.
Article 350 A requires every State and local authority to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
(iii) Promotion of Hindi
Article 351, titled ‘Directive for Development of the Hindi language’ states that, “it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.”
(g) Right to Education (RTE)
The RTE was originally included as a non-justiciable Right under the Directive Principles of State Policy. In the Constitution, as originally adopted by the Constituent Assembly in November 1949, Article 45 stated that: “The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.” Further, Article 41 mandated the State, among other things, to make effective provision for securing the right to education “within the limits of its economic capacity and development.”
In Mohini Jain vs. State of Karnataka (1992) the Supreme Court ruled that the RTE is implicit in and flows directly from the right to life under Article 21, thus virtually elevating the RTE to the status of a fundamental right. This was made explicit in Unni Krishnan vs. State of Andhra Pradesh & Others (1993) when the Supreme Court ruled as follows:
“The citizens of this country have a fundamental right to education. The said right flows from Article 21. This right is, however, not an absolute right. Its content and parameters, have to be determined in the light of Articles 45 and 41. In other words, every child/citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of fourteen years. Thereafter, his right to education is subject to the limits of economic capacity and development of the State.”
The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21A in the Constitution as a Fundamental Right, mandating that
“The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.”
The consequential legislation envisaged to give effect to Article 21 A was ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’, 2009 (RTE Act), giving every child the right to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. With this, education has been moved to a rights-based framework with the Central and State Governments having a legal obligation to implement this fundamental child right.
The RTE Act, inter-alia (among other things) provides for the following:
- Right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school.
- It clarifies that ‘compulsory education’ means an obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. ‘Free’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
- It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
- It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
- It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school working days, teacher working hours.
- It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil-teacher ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings. It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to the local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
- It provides for the appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.
- It prohibits (a) physical punishment and mental harassment; (b) screening procedures for admission of children; (c) capitation fee; (d) private tuition by teachers and (e) running of schools without recognition.
- It provides for the development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child-friendly and child-centred learning.
Chapter 3.4 Earlier National Policies on Education
In the Indian context, the fundamental role of education in nation-building, progress, security and social and economic development has been recognised from the outset. Even before independence, Gandhiji had formulated a vision of basic education in India, seeking to harmonise intellectual and manual work. Subsequently, the University Education Commission (Radhakrishnan Commission, 1948-49) and the Secondary Education Commission (1952-53), as well as other Commissions and Committees had reviewed the issues relating to educational reconstruction. The Resolution on Scientific Policy (1958) underlined, inter alia (among other things), the importance of science, technology and scientific research in education.The first National Policy on Education (NPE) was formulated by the Government of India in 1968, based on the recommendations of the Indian Education Commission (1964-66), also known as the Kothari Commission.
The first National Policy on Education (NPE) was formulated by the Government of India in 1968, based on the recommendations of the Indian Education Commission (1964-66), also known as the Kothari Commission.
Apart from the goal of universalisation of education as envisaged in the Constitution, the 1968 NPE dealt with:
- measures to ensure that teachers are accorded an honoured place in society;
- training and quality of teachers for schools;
- stress on moral education and inculcation of a sense of social responsibility;
- equalisation of educational opportunity for all sections of society, including girls, minorities, disadvantaged classes, tribal people and in rural areas;
- the introduction of work-experience, manual work and social service as integral parts of general education;
- science education and research;
- education related to the needs of agriculture, industry and employment opportunities;
- vocationalisation of secondary education;
- development of games and sports;
- spread of literacy and adult education;
- strengthening of centres of advanced study;
- setting up of a small number of cluster centres aimed at achieving the highest international standards;
- development of quality or pace-setting institutions at all stages and in all sectors.
The NPE of 1968 aimed to promote national progress, a sense of common citizenship and culture, and to strengthen national integration. It laid stress on the need for a radical reconstruction of the education system, to improve its quality at all stages, and gave special attention to science and technology, the cultivation of moral values and a closer relation between education and the life of the people.However, the general formulations incorporated in the 1968 Policy were not underpinned by a detailed strategy of implementation, accompanied by the assignment of specific responsibilities and financial and
However, the general formulations incorporated in the 1968 Policy were not underpinned by a detailed strategy of implementation, accompanied by the assignment of specific responsibilities and financial and organisational support. Consequently, with the passage of time, it was felt that the problems of access, quality, equity, utility and financial support merited a comprehensive review of the NPE.
The NPE was adopted by the Parliament in May 1986. This was reviewed and modifications suggested by the Ramamurthi Committee (1990-92) and the Janardhana Reddy Committee (1991-92). After consideration by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), a revised document entitled ‘National Policy on Education, 1986 – Revised Policy Formulations’ was laid on the Table of the House in 1992.
The NPE of 1986 as modified in 1992 reiterated the centrality of education for all as a national goal and sine qua non (a prerequisite; essential condition) of all-round material and spiritual development, national cohesion and national self-reliance.
The 1986-1992 NPE endorsed the concept of a National System of Education in which all students, irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex, would have access to education of a comparable quality up to a given level.It envisaged a common educational structure and a national curricular framework with a common core along with other components that were flexible and oriented towards occupational and employment requirements.
It envisaged a common educational structure and a national curricular framework with a common core along with other components that were flexible and oriented towards occupational and employment requirements.
The common core included the history of India’s freedom movement, the constitutional obligations and other content essential to nurture national identity. These elements cut across subject areas and were designed to emphasize India’s common cultural heritage, egalitarianism (the doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality), democracy, secularism, equality of the sexes, protection of the environment, removal of social barriers, observance of the small family norm, inculcation of the scientific temper and an international outlook characterised by peaceful co-existence and understanding between nations, treating the whole world as one family.
The NPE 86/92 emphasised life-long education, universal literacy and provision of opportunities to the youth, housewives, agricultural and industrial workers and professionals to continue the education of their choice, at the pace suited to them through open and distance learning.
The NPE 86/92 also delineated the competencies and sharing of responsibility between the Union Government and the States in terms of the 42nd Constitutional Amendment of 1976, which moved Education to the Concurrent List. While the role and responsibility of the States was to remain essentially unchanged, the Union Government would accept a larger responsibility
- to reinforce the national and integrative character of education,
- to maintain quality and standards (including those of the teaching profession at all levels),
- to study and monitor the educational requirements of the country as a whole in regard to manpower for development,
- to cater to the needs of research and advanced study,
- to look after the international aspects of education, culture and ‘Human Resource Development’ and,
- in general, to promote excellence at all levels of the educational pyramid throughout the country.
The NPE 86/92 laid special emphasis on the removal of disparities and the equalisation of educational opportunity to specific disadvantaged target groups, including removal of women illiteracy, education of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, Minorities, the disabled and handicapped, neo-literates and through non-formal and adult education programmes.
Recognising the holistic nature of child development, the NPE accorded high priority to Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), which was to be suitably integrated with the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programmes.
Holistic means encompassing the whole of a thing, and not just the part. Holistic medicine looks at the whole person for answers, not just at physical symptoms. You might have heard of holistic medicine, which tries to treat someone as mind and body, instead of treating only the part of the patient that is most sick. People often talk about holism in relation to healing, whether of bodies or other things. A holistic approach to solving a labour dispute would take into consideration the needs of both the workers and the factory owners.
The NPE 86/92 advocated a child-centered approach to education, with corporal punishment being firmly excluded and a no-detention policy at the primary stage. Talented students should be given special treatment and access to good quality education regardless of their ability to pay for it. (Personal comments – For this to take shape teachers and intelligence agencies have to be made empathetic and compassionate, leaving aside their authoritarian, dictatorial and colonial mindset.)
Vocational education was envisaged to be a distinct stream of education, intended to prepare students for identified occupations after, or even prior, to the completion of secondary education.
The NPE 86/92 proposed that the system of affiliation should be phased out by encouraging the development of autonomous colleges.
The NPE 86/92 envisaged the establishment of a national body and State Councils of Higher Education for policy making, planning and coordination of higher education.
Finally, the NPE 86/92 emphasised the need to raise the outlay on education to six percent of the GDP in the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992–1997) and to uniformly exceed this figure thereafter.
The NPE of 1986-1992 was followed up by a ‘Programme of Action’ announced by the HRD Ministry. However, with the passage of time, it has become clear that many of the objectives of the 1986 policy could not be achieved due to ineffective follow up on a continuing basis, with little attention being given to the implementation phase of the proposed policies.
This brief survey of the National Education Policies adopted in 1968, 1986 and 1992 underlines that many of the essential elements of these policies retain their relevance and will continue to do so in future. The earlier policies have analysed the ways and means of achieving the national objectives of universalization of education, providing equality of opportunity, improving the quality of learning outcomes, enforcing norms of accountability and benchmarking with international standards exhaustively and in depth. The policy prescriptions set out in these earlier documents are a valuable resource which will guide the new NPE, as it seeks to build on the past experience to refine, revise and attune the education policy to meet the needs of the nation.
In continuation and in furtherance of the objectives of NPEs of 1968 and 1986-92, a number of significant legislative and executive steps have been undertaken over the past two decades – some of these are mentioned in the paragraphs which follow.
The Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) has imposed legal obligations on the Central and State Governments to provide every child between the ages of 6 to 14 access to full-time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. As against this, over 92 lakh children still remain out of schools as per official records. If one estimates the numbers of these added to the dropouts after one or two years, the number of out-of-school children could easily be around 3 crores. The challenge before the nation is still enormous in magnitude.
Since the adoption of the 1986-1992 NPE, the Central Government has launched several schemes to address issues of equity, access and quality in the elementary, secondary and higher education sectors. The shortfalls and lacunae in the achievement of the targets laid down in these programmes need to be analysed and corrective measures taken as appropriate.
The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was started in the mid-1990s and was, for many years, the flagship programme of the Government of India in elementary education. Indeed, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme, which is still an important implementation vehicle, is the successor programme to DPEP.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(SSA) programme, operational since 2000-2001, aims at the universalisation of elementary education in a time-bound manner. Although the original targets of bridging all gender and social category gaps by 2007 and achieving universal retention at the elementary education level by 2010 have yet to be achieved, the programme remains in force as one of the largest education initiatives in the world.
The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), launched in 2009, aims at enhancing access and improving the quality of secondary education by removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers and making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms. The principal objectives were to increase the total enrolment rate from 52% in 2005–06 to 75% over the five year period from 2009–2014 by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation. The programme aims to provide universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i.e., by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan and achieving universal retention by 2020.
The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) was launched in 2013 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to provide norm based and outcome dependent strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions. RUSA aims to improve the overall quality of state institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards, adopting accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework, promoting autonomy and improving governance in State Universities.
As a party to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2000, India was committed, inter alia (among other things), to achieving universal primary education, in terms of both enrollment and completion of primary schooling for all girls and boys, by 2015. It was also committed to eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, “preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.” Unfortunately, these goals remained unrealised. It is imperative now to work seriously to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The State of Education in India
Education in India is currently provided by the public sector as well as the private sector. The central and most state boards uniformly follow the “10+2+3” pattern of education. In this pattern, the study of 12 years is done in schools and/or in colleges, and then 3 years of graduation for a bachelor’s degree. The first 10 years are further subdivided into 5 years of primary education, 3 years of upper primary and 2 years of high school. This pattern originated from the recommendation of the Kothari Education Commission of 1964–66.
Under the RTE Act, a ‘no-detention’ policy has been in place since 2010. Under this policy, no child can be held back or expelled from school until Class 8. The larger purpose of this blanket rule is to ensure compulsory education up to the age of 14 years, and prevent students from dropping out from school, a consideration which is particularly important in schools in the rural districts.
The earlier National Education Policies of 1968 and 1986 as modified in 1992 had endorsed a norm of 6% of GDP as the minimum expenditure on education. However, this target has never been met. The expenditure by Education Departments of the Centre and States has never risen above 4.3% of the GDP and is currently around 3.5%.
As compared to 12% in 1947, the overall literacy rate in India in 2011 was 74%, with a male literacy rate of 82.1% and a female literacy rate of 65.5%. However, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84% and India currently has the largest illiterate population in the world. Kerala is the most literate state in India, with 93.91% literacy, while Bihar is the least literate state with a literacy rate of 63.82%.
(a) Elementary Education (Classes I- VIII)
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme for universalisation of ‘Education for All’, along with the no detention policy, has resulted in a significant enhancement both in the Gross Enrolment Ratio (to over 95%) as well as in the enrolment of girls. Its precursor, the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), was launched in 1994 with the aim of universalizing primary education in India. With 85% funding by the central government, the DPEP had opened 1.6 lakh new schools, including 84,000 alternative education schools delivering alternative education to approximately 35 lakh children.
In 2014-15, there were 14 lakh schools in the country imparting elementary education, with a total enrolment of 19.77 crores. Of these, Government schools numbering 11 lakh accounted for an enrolment of 11.9 crores at the elementary level; while 3 lakh private schools catered to 8.56 crore students. Additionally, there were 23,529 unrecognised institutions and 3750 unrecognised Madrasas with an enrolment of 33 lakh at the elementary level in 2014-15. There were a total of 80 lakh teachers at the elementary level, including 47 lakh teachers in Government schools. In 2014-15, more than 8.6% of the total teachers at the elementary level were in private aided schools; 29.9% were in private unaided schools; and 2.6% were in unrecognised schools and Madrasas (U-DISE, 2014-15).
The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at the primary level (grades I-V) was 100.1%?; it was 91.2% at the upper primary level (grades VI-VIII) in 2014-15. The Net Enrolment Ratio (NER) was 87.4% at the primary level and 72.5% at the upper primary level. However, the Adjusted NER was 92.1% at primary level and 82.4% at the upper primary level in 2014-15. A large number of children continues to leave the school before completing elementary education. In 2014-15, the retention rate at the primary level was 83.7% and it was as low as 67.4% at the elementary level. Roughly, four in every 10 children enrolled in grade I was leaving the school before completing grade VIII U-DISE, 2014-15).
(b) Surveys Relating to Quality of Education
Currently, two large-scale nation-wide learning assessment surveys have been conducted in India at the elementary stage.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has conducted National Achievement Surveys (NAS) periodically since 2001 for Classes 3, 5 and 8. The NAS is a school-based national survey covering all States and Union Territories and focusing on specific classes in particular years. It is carried out by NCERT under the mandate of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme to “monitor improvement in children’s learning levels and to periodically assess the health of the government education system as a whole”.
The NGO, Pratham has been bringing out its Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) since 2005, on the basis of extensive household surveys conducted to assess children’s schooling status and basic learning levels in reading and arithmetic. In 2014, the surveys covered 577 rural districts, around 17,000 villages and over 6 lakh children between the ages of 3-16. The 2014 survey found that nearly half of the grade V students were not able to read at grade II level; and nearly same proportion of grade V students did not have the basic arithmetic skills, which they should have learned by the end of grade II (ASER, 2015).
It is also necessary to refer to Gunotsav, a mass assessment process, first introduced in Gujarat in 2009, but now also implemented with variations in some other states as well. It tries to address the above issues and serves as a starting point to achieve ‘quality education’ at scale. A key focus of Gunotsav is to highlight the levels of student learning (with a focus on basic skills like reading, writing and arithmetic operations in the lower classes and subject knowledge in the higher classes) and provide systematic year-on-year data and insights to improve learning levels in a measurable way.
The surveys indicate that, quantitatively, India is inching closer to the Constitutional and RTE Act guarantee of universal access and participation in elementary education. In 2013-14, the total enrollment at the elementary level (grades I-VIII) in India was 19.89 crore, including 12.1 crores in government schools, and 1.1 crores in aided schools. Girls share in the total enrollment was 48.2% at primary level, and 48.8% at upper primary level. At the all India level, nearly 39% of children enrolled at the elementary level were attending private schools (DISE 2013-14). ASER (Rural), 2014 found that 96.7% of children in the age group 6- 14 years were enrolled in schools in rural India. The survey also found that around 31% of rural children attend private schools.
Encouragingly, at the all-India level, the percentage of older girls (in the 11-14 age group) not enrolled in school has dropped from 10% in 2006 to close to 5% in 2014. Except for Rajasthan and UP, the figure has dropped significantly for many states, with Bihar showing the steepest decline from 17.6% in 2006 to 5.7% in 2014.
Further, visits to government schools on randomly selected days show an attendance rate of about 71% of enrolled children. However, there is considerable variation in daily attendance across states, ranging from 50-59 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Manipur to over 90 per cent in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
While the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GRE) is satisfactorily high, the quality of education, in terms of learning outcomes, is undeniably poor, particularly in the government school system. This is a matter of serious concern since approximately 80% of all recognised schools at the elementary stage are government run or supported.
Reading is a foundational skill; without being able to read well, a child cannot progress in the education system. However, reading outcomes are unacceptably poor, particularly in Government and rural schools.
For example, ASER 2014 found that over 75% of all children in Class 3, over 50% of Class 5 and over 25% of Class 8 could not read texts meant for the Class 2 level. At the all-India level, the number of children in rural schools in Class 2 who could not even recognise letters of the alphabet increased from 13.4% in 2010 to 32.5% in 2014. In the last year of their primary education in Class 5, almost 20% of children could only read letters or were not literate even at this level; 14% could read words but not sentences, and 19% could read sentences but not longer texts.
Further, reading levels for children enrolled in government schools in Class 5 showed a decline between 2010 and 2012. While reading levels in Class 5 in private schools were also not high, the gap in reading levels between children enrolled in government schools and private schools appears to be growing over time.
Early childhood years are critically important, when the child’s mental and physical development are at their highest, and when many lifelong characteristics are developed; this is when basic skills are acquired for subsequent development. (personal comments- a fact that has to be ingrained into the psyche of India’s intelligence agencies) Without a strong foundation in early years, the child’s future progress, mental and physical, is highly circumscribed. The criticality of addressing the child’s mental and physical growth in the early years has not been adequately understood or addressed (personal comments – proper training should be imparted to intelligence agencies, they have to be taught government gives and does not interfere in personal lives of their citizens). Available data indicate that in 2014, nearly 20% of children in Class 2 did not recognise numbers from 1 to 9 and nearly 40% of children in Class 3 were unable to recognise numbers till 100. More disturbingly these proportions have grown progressively and substantially since 2010, indicating that learning outcomes are deteriorating rapidly at the primary stage.
In sum, half of all children in Class 5 have not yet learned basic skills that they should have learned in Class 2. Close to half of all children will finish eight years of schooling but will still not have learned basic skills in arithmetic.
Teacher absenteeism, estimated at over 25% every day, has been identified as one of the reasons for the poor quality of student learning outcomes.
At the disaggregated level, the National Achievement Survey (NAS) reveals significant differences in the average achievement levels of students between states, suggesting that the quality of educational outcomes is far from equal across the country. In a number of States, NAS results also show much diversity in achievement between students in the highest and lowest-performing categories. Despite the significant differences in methodology, NAS confirms the findings from a number of other studies such as ASER, Educational Initiatives etc. and identifies poor learning outcomes as the biggest challenge facing Indian education. Poor quality of learning at the primary school stage naturally spills over to the secondary stage, where the gaps get wider; and continues to the college years, leading to very poor outcomes in the higher education sector. This inevitably leads to students being rendered incapable of taking full advantage of educational opportunities.
It is noteworthy that the poor quality of education in government schools has been underlined by a recent directive from the Allahabad High Court ordering all government servants in Uttar Pradesh to send their children only to public schools run by the State Basic Education Board.
(c) Secondary & Higher Secondary Education (Classes IX to XII)
At the secondary stage, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), is the most important programme rolled out by the HRD Ministry. It has the twin aims of enhancing access to and improving the quality of secondary education in the country.
Enrollment is sought to be increased by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of all habitations and by removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers to education. The prescribed infrastructural and physical facilities include an adequate number of classrooms, laboratories, libraries, art and crafts rooms, toilet blocks, drinking water availability, electricity connection, telephone and internet connectivity and disabled friendly amenities.
Equity aspects are sought to be addressed by according special focus on micro-planning and preference in opening schools in areas with concentrations of SC/ST/Minorities. Undertaking a special enrollment drive for the weaker sections, providing more female teachers in schools and separate toilet blocks for girls are some of the significant strategies.
The RMSA aims at achieving a GER of 100% by 2017 and universal retention by 2020. While the first target could be seriously addressed, it is highly doubtful if it would be realistic to retain the ‘retention’ target by 2020, even if major remedial steps are urgently undertaken.
Under the RMSA, the funding pattern between the Centre and the State Governments is in the ratio of 75:25. For the North Eastern States, the Centre meets 90% of the funding requirements. In spite of this, the State universities and their affiliated colleges suffer from severe fund constraints and poor governance, leading to poor quality of outcomes. With the changes in the devolution of funds to states based on the recent Finance Commission Report, changes in these percentages have been made for FY 2015-16 – though it is not fully clear if there is full concurrence between states and Centre in this regard.Over the years, there has been significant and rapid increased participation of the private sector and NGOs, in secondary education. Currently, approximately 51% of the secondary schools and 58% of the higher secondary schools are privately managed.
Over the years, there has been significant and rapid increased participation of the private sector and NGOs, in secondary education. Currently, approximately 51% of the secondary schools and 58% of the higher secondary schools are privately managed.
The RMSA especially aims to improve access and retain the girl child in secondary and higher secondary classes and to ensure that girl students are not denied the opportunity to continue their education due to the distance from school, financial constraints and societal factors.
The Scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS), launched in 2009-10, has now been subsumed under the RMSA. The Scheme provides assistance to enable all students with disabilities who have completed 8 years of elementary schooling, to pursue a further 4 years of secondary schooling from Class 9 to 12.
With its specific focus on removing disabilities, the RMSA has opened up opportunities for children who are not able to enrol themselves in the formal education system through the modality of national and state open schools and by utilising contact centres and multi-media packages.
The Committee has been given to understand that with the rapid expansion of the school system, access to school education has become near universal; however, children from certain sections of the population, for reasons arising out of poverty, need-to-work, social restrictions or lack of belief in usefulness of education have not been able to take full benefit of the educational opportunities. Many girls are not sent to schools; and many who complete primary levels, are not able to pursue their studies at the secondary levels and in colleges.
From a quantitative standpoint, the gaps in average enrollments between the general population and specific disadvantaged groups like the girl child, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Minorities and Children with special needs have decreased. However, issues of social access and equity remain complex and have been only partially resolved.
Moreover, social and income disparities continue to be reflected in gaps in learning levels, which remain large and seem to be growing. Children from historically disadvantaged and economically weaker sections of society and first generation learners exhibit significantly lower learning outcomes and are more likely to fall behind and drop out of school.
The interventions which are currently being made to bridge these gender and social gaps need to be stepped up, and more focused strategies need to be worked out for effective inclusion and participation of girls and other special category children.
While there has been a rise in the demand for secondary education and increase in the number of secondary schools, the spread of secondary education throughout the country remains uneven. Regional disparities continue, as do differences in access depending on the socio-economic background of students; absence of teachers; lack of incentives, and low academic standards in government schools have contributed to the rise of the private sector in secondary school education.
(d) Higher Education
There has been an upsurge in the demand for higher education after independence, resulting in a virtual explosion in the number of universities and colleges in the country. Many students join university courses merely to obtain a degree, which has come to be considered as a sine qua non (a prerequisite; an essential condition) for white (and even blue) collar employment and social status.
The institutions of higher learning in India consist of:
- Central Universities established by an Act of Parliament;
- State Universities established by State Legislatures;
- Deemed Universities recognised as such by the Central Government on the recommendation of the UGC;
- Private Universities established by various State Governments through their own legislation; and
- Institutes of National Importance declared as such by the Government of India by an Act of Parliament.
All these institutions are empowered to award degrees. A small number of Central and State Universities are stand-alone unitary institutions; however, the vast majority have constituent or affiliated colleges attached to them.
Most colleges in India are affiliated to universities and provide undergraduate education. Some colleges also undertake post-graduate teaching and research. The affiliating universities are expected to oversee the standards of the affiliated colleges, hold examinations and award degrees to successful candidates.
There are at present 46 Central Universities and 128 ‘Deemed to be Universities’ in the country (UGC Annual Report 2014-15). No institution has been granted ‘Deemed to be University’ status since June 2009. In January 2010, the Government of India decided to de-recognise 44 Deemed Universities. This decision was challenged and a final decision is still pending in the Supreme Court, which has, in the interim, allowed these institutions to admit new students.
The Indian higher education system, which includes technical education, is one of the largest in the world. The number of Universities has grown from 27 in 1950-51 to 621 in 2010-11 and further to 712 in 2013-14. The number of Institutes has grown from 11,095 in 2010-11 to 11,443 in 2012-13. The number of colleges has shown phenomenal growth, from 578 in 1950-51 to 32,974 in 2010-11; 34,852 in 2011-12; 35,829 in 2012-13. In 2014-15, there were 711 universities, 40,760 colleges (UGC Annual Report 2014-14) and 11922 stand-alone institutions in higher education sector in India (AISHE 2014-15).
As against 2 lakh students in 1950-51, the total enrolment in higher education in 2014-15 was 3.33 crores, comprising 1.79 crore boys and 1.54 crore girls. The number of teachers stood at 14 lakhs, with 39% female teachers. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education was 23.6% (24.5% for boys, 22.7% for girls; 18.5% for SCs and 13.3% for STs) (AISHE, 2014-15).
As is to be expected, the largest number of students (around 80%) are enrolled in Under-Graduate courses, followed by Post-Graduate (11.4%) and Diploma (7.2%) courses.
During the academic year 2014-15, out of the estimated total enrolment of about 3.33 crores, 37.41% students were enrolled in Arts, 17.59% enrolled in Science, 16.39% enrolled in Commerce and Management, and the remaining 28.61% were pursuing professional courses, including Engineering/Technology (16.27%), followed by Medical courses (4.02%).
The private sector has played a major role in the growth of colleges and institutions in India. In 2011-12, 63.9% of the total number of colleges and institutes were in the private sector and 58.9% of the total number of students was enrolled in private colleges and institutes. State institutes accounted for 35.6% and Central institutes for 0.5% of the total number of colleges and institutes. Enrolment in these institutions was 38.6% and 2.6% respectively.
The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), launched in 2013, aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions on the basis of a critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans. The central funding (in the ratio of 65:35 for general category States and 90:10 for special category states) would be norm based and outcome dependent. The funding would flow from the MHRD through the State Governments / Union Territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions.
Regional disparities have increased with the expansion of higher education in India. Inter-state disparities in the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) are large and have increased over time. In 2002-03 the GER spread varied between 5% (Jammu and Kashmir) and 29% (Chandigarh). In 2011-12 the variation in GER was much larger, between 8.4 % (Jharkhand) and 53% (Chandigarh).
The utility of higher education in assuring employment is questionable. Many graduate and post graduate students do not get jobs in their respective fields even after spending several years in acquiring higher education. While the problem of educated unemployed youth remains acute, there is also, paradoxically, a shortage of skilled manpower in the labour market. There a clear gap between the focus and quality of education in academia and the actual skills required by industry.
The global ranking of universities is a useful indicator of their institutional performance, based on a relative assessment in the areas of research and teaching; the reputation of faculty members; reputation among employers; resource availability; the share of international students and activities and other factors.
Indian universities do not find a place in the top 200 positions in the global ranking of universities. Even the top ranking institutions in India figure only in the lower echelons of global rankings.
As per the Times Higher Education Rankings in 2012-13, the top ranked Indian institutions were IIT Kharagpur (234), IIT Bombay (258) and IIT Roorkee (267).
Similarly, the top-ranked institutions as per the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) System in 2012 was IIT Delhi (212), IIT Bombay (227) and IIT Kanpur (278). The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore ranks
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore ranks 99th in the world’s top 100 universities for engineering and technology. As per 2015/16 QS rankings, IISc. Bangalore has a rank of 147, IITD 179, IITB 202, IITM 254, IIT Kanpur 271.
Accreditation agencies were established in India in 1994 as a measure of quality assurance in order to enhance standards of higher education. Accreditation was voluntary and institutions of higher education were supposed to approach the accreditation agencies to get their institution or programme accredited. Of the 164 universities recognised by the UGC, 140 have got themselves accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), with only 32% percent being rated as A grade or above.
Among the 4,870 colleges, 2,780 are accredited by the NAAC, with barely 9% making the A or above grade. Among the accredited institutions, 68% of the universities and 91% of the colleges are rated average or below average in terms of the quality parameters specified by the NAAC. Quality and excellence in colleges clearly leave much to be desired.
The above represents a brief summary of the significant developments in the education field in the past recent decades. There are many other developments relating to literacy programmes, teacher’s training and recruitment system, ICT related applications and a variety of other factors not summarised above; these have been addressed in the main Report at the appropriate places.In conclusion of this chapter, the most noteworthy point that emerges is that while issues of accessibility and enrollment have dramatically improved in the past decades, and much advance has been made in relation to equity in opportunities, issues relating to quality of education, both at the school and higher levels have not been addressed adequately either in policy or in practice; indeed, there is a secular decline in the overall quality of education. Necessarily, issues of equity, as also of quality have to be the main focus of any new national policy.
In conclusion of this chapter, the most noteworthy point that emerges is that while issues of accessibility and enrollment have dramatically improved in the past decades, and much advance has been made in relation to equity in opportunities, issues relating to quality of education, both at the school and higher levels have not been addressed adequately either in policy or in practice; indeed, there is a secular decline in the overall quality of education. Necessarily, issues of equity, as also of quality have to be the main focus of any new national policy.
continued………..Report Part 2