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India does not need new education policy, ask experts

WT24 Desk

Some of India’s most renowned education experts have reportedly opined that there is very little evidence to back the government’s decision to revamp the nation’s education policy, ANI reports. Participating in a recent roundtable conducted by CUTS International Public Policy Centre (CIPPolC), the experts reportedly arrived at a consensus that earlier polices related to education have already spelt out concerns relevant even today.

They said what was needed was an implementation strategy. For this, they said there is a need to focus on credible data collection at all levels of the education system. Prof S K Thorat, Chairman, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) said India should have a similar system as UK’s educational statistical institute. He also stressed that in the Indian context there is also a need to have a National Education Commission which should conduct in-depth assessment of the requirements of the educational system.

Prof. Thorat chaired the roundtable while C Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor –O P Jindal Global University, Prof. J S Rajput- former Chairman NCTE & NCERT and Sanjay Bhargava – Chairman Shiksha Mandal Wardha – a Bajaj education trust, were the key catalysts at the roundtable. The discussion also significantly dealt with the question of India having the need for-profit entities in the education sector.

There was a divided house on this issue. While C Raj Kumar stated that education worldwide is run by non-profit entities, some other experts opined that it is for profit entities which alone can provide for the expansion and quality provided it is accompanied by effective but not excessive regulation. Currently, even though India has the largest private sector participation in education, it does not work because of excessive controls.

Sajaya Bhargava said that decisions on starting and expanding an institution should be left to institutions, especially for institutions with a good track record. Speaking on merit of earlier polices, Professor Rajput suggested that common school system as recommended by Kothari Commision (1968) should be put in place. Some of the other important issues that were dealt with included lack of philanthropic involvement in education and the need to include even pre-primary education within the fold of education system in India.

Some of the key recommendations included need to have student feedback on teachers, doing away with restrictive labour polices to boost skill development, need to have capable leaders at the helm of institutions and reform of UGC by involving states in its governing body. Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International, delivered the concluding remarks.

The roundtable was attended by representatives of academia, policy makers, researchers, civil society, UN agencies and NSDC, amongst others.

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