Bhaskar Parichha

Ramesh Pokhriyal
HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank

The new Human Resources Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank may have courted the first controversy post-swearing in by saying that Astrology is above science. But the ministry he heads is pushing for some bold reforms in the country’s education system. No sooner did the minister take charge than his ministry came up with a draft of the new educational policy. The mandarins in the HRD ministry had in fact waited for two long years to put the new policy in place. Now it has reached the minister and speedy action is expected in the next few days.

Kids in Indian flag paint in face

Indian Languages

The top focus in the draft policy is on Indian languages. The draft policy says that children up to class five need to study in their mother tongue. The policy also suggests that children should, during these years, learn three Indian languages. And, if they wish to learn a foreign language that should be the fourth language. Not to be surprised, the RSS too has been demanding teaching children in their MIL up to primary level. The Sangh-affiliated schools have already adopted this policy.

The draft education policy wants that every Indian child should learn at least three Indian languages by the time he or she reaches class V.Even pre-school children and children up to class I should study three Indian languages. They should be able to speak the languages, know the script and should be able to read.

Private School

Private Schools

The draft education policy has also centered its attention on the arbitrary way of collecting fees by private schools. The illogical method of raising fees in frequent intervals should be stopped says the policy paper. While the policy allows privately-managed schools to have their own fee structure, yet there should be a limit beyond which these schools can’t charge fees. The non-government schools should, the draft policy says, take into consideration only the inflation and other related factors when revising fees.

The regulatory authority in every state will now review the fee structure every three years and would suggest what further changes will be needed. It may be of interest to know that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has already devised a fee guideline .The NCPCR has suggested that private schools revising their fees should be on basis of inflation and other factors. The Commission has further recommended that those schools which violate the guidelines should face stringent action.

board exam

Board Exams

The draft education policy talks about lessening the burden of students when they appear for 10th and 12th board examinations. It has suggested allowing children to appear for the board examinations multiple times. Whenever a student feels that he is ready to sit for a particular paper, he should be allowed to do so. If the student feels that he can still improve he should be allowed to reappear for the same subject.

 

The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had some time back suggested that schools in India should teach Veda, Purana, Ramayana and other value-based scriptures. He had said that even if religion is excluded from teaching in schools, Indian values and traditions should be taught to students across the spectrum.

 

HRD # NEC

The most important recommendation in the draft policy is establishing a National education Commission (NEC). The Prime Minister is proposed to be heading this Commission. Along with NEC, the policy document recommends that in case of higher education students should be allowed greater freedom in choosing their subjects. The draft policy has recommended a four-year Bachelor degree course in liberal arts. As for Right to Education, the draft policy says that RtE should cover classes from primary to class XII.Right now RTE extends only up to class VIII.

What’s more, the draft has suggested that in order to focus more on education, the HRD ministry should be renamed as Education Ministry (EM). Finally, the document says, students should also read India’s contribution across subjects and sectors.

MHRD

 Missed Deadline

The new education policy has in fact missed the deadlines several times over in the past. The previous HRD minister Prakash Javdekar had indicated that the new policy will fructify by October 2018.However it never came through. The draft policy has a time frame from 2020 to 2040 AD.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat

RSS Intervention

The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had some time back suggested that schools in India should teach Veda, Purana, Ramayana and other value-based scriptures. He had said that even if religion is excluded from teaching in schools, Indian values and traditions should be taught to students across the spectrum.

Now it remains to be seen how the new minister responds to the draft policy on education and what lies ahead in the country’s teaching-learning method.

The author is a senior journalist and Consulting Editor, OdishaPlus

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here