Published: 26th July 2019
Provide free education from three to 18 years: Experts back private players for quality education in India
Proposals including a state-level education commission as well as a census to determine students' progress across various stages in schools were discussed during the course of the meeting
The need to involve private players for quality assurance in the functioning of the country's higher education system was emphasised by experts at a meet here on the new education policy.
The session, India's Draft New Education Policy and Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), was organised by StratFirst India, a leading consulting group of professionals with the domain expertise of the knowledge sector.
The participants also stressed upon the need to provide free and compulsory education to children between 3 and 18 years of age against the present limit of six to 14 years under the Right to Education Act, 2009. The meeting was held in the backdrop of the Central government's decision to formulate a new education policy for the country.
Participants in the meet included Professor Amitabh Mattoo, former member of the National Knowledge Commission and Chief Mentor of Stratfirst; Professor B Venkatesh Kumar of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and National Coordinator of the Rashtriya Uchchattar Shiksha Abhiyan; VS Chauhan, Chairman of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council; VS Oberoi, former Secretary in the Union Human Resources Ministry; Professor Yogesh Tyagi, Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University and Professor Chandra Bhushan Sharma, Chairman of the National Institute of Open Schooling.
As per participants, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), while having accredited a large number of institutions had overrun its capacity. Private players, therefore, need to be brought into the picture in order to affiliate more institutions.
There was also a consensus amongst the participants to introduce the bill in the next session of Parliament only after proper consultations with various stakeholders in the knowledge and education sector in the country.
Proposals including a state-level education commission as well as a census to determine students' progress across various stages in schools were discussed during the course of the meeting. There was also a consensus on spending at least six per cent of the country's GDP on the education sector.
"A vibrant new debate on the future of the country's education has been initiated with the release of the draft of New Education Policy. Informed interventions are required from a range of stakeholders in order to formulate a coherent, inclusive and sustainable policy that can be rooted in the Indian experience while recognising global best practices," said Nancy Jain, CEO, Stratfirst.
In terms of delivery, the participants sought major governance reforms in order to ensure the accountability of teachers and administrators in running the education system. The idea of achieving a GER (gross enrolment ratio) of 50 per cent by the year 2030 and separation of the University Grants Commission from the new National Regulatory Authority was welcomed by the stakeholders.
The proposal to create a National Research Foundation, modelled after similar international foundations were supported by the stakeholders. However, the recurring budget of Rs 20,000 crore per year, which has been envisaged for the project has been seen as too less an amount to realise the research potential of scholars in the country.