Committee to Frame the New Education Policy constituted

After, what it called collaborative, multi-stakeholder and multi-pronged consultation process held over last eight months for formulating the New Education Policy, the union ministry of Human Resources Development after facing flak and criticism from nearly all quarters, seasoned experts and educationist over the way it rolled out the process, has now constituted a Drafting Committee for framing the New Education Policy under the chairmanship former cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian. The other four members are Shailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary, NCT of Delhi; Sewaram Sharma, former Home Secretary, NCT of Delhi; Sudhir Mankad, former Chief Secretary, Gujarat and Prof. J S Rajput, former Director, NCERT. It may be noted that Rajput was seen responsible for ‘saffronizing’ education as NCERT director under the then HRD minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and was soon removed when UPA took over. The National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi will act as its Secretariat of the committee, which is expected to submit the Draft National Education Policy as soon as possible but not later than 31st December, 2015. Along with the draft education policy, the Committee will also submit a Framework for Action.
As per a statement issued by the ministry on October 31, over 26,500 suggestions have been received online. The consultations were officially launched on MyGov portal on 26th January, 2015 on 33 themes across School and Higher Education. The three-pronged consultation process included online, grassroots and national level thematic deliberations. “An extensive, time-bound, participative, bottom-up consultative process across nearly 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats, 6600 Blocks, 6000 Urban Local Bodies, 676 districts and 36 States/Union Territories was carried out between May to October, 2015 and so far 63,100 villages, 3088 Blocks, 822 ULBs, 247 districts and three States have uploaded their suggestions on Some states have conveyed that they have completed the consultations and have asked for more time for uploading the suggestions. More uploads are expected by the first week of November,” the statement said. The ministry says that six zonal meetins were held by the union HRD minister, Smriti Zubin Irani in Eastern, Central, North-Eastern, Western, Southern and Northern Zones covering all States and UTs in September-October 2015 which were attended by Education Ministers and officials of the respective States/UTs. States will be submitting their outcome documents with suggestions. Before each zonal meeting, the Minister of Human Resource Development interacted through video-conference with the states of the concerned zone. It included interaction with the State level officials of education departments, district level officials of a 68 districts and local elected representatives.
Six online talks with leading subject experts, field practitioner engagement through the UN Solutions Exchange platform, online survey by CBSE with over 15000 responses, youth survey and focus group discussions by Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO Category-I Institute in Asia Pacific were conducted as part of the public engagement. In addition, several organizations and individuals have sent in their views, suggestions and inputs through post and email which have been collated.
Apex level institutions and regulators, such as, UGC, AICTE, NCTE, AIU, NCERT, CBSE, IIAS, NLMA, NAAC, NUEPA, IGNOU, IITs, IIMs and Central Universities have held detailed discussion on identified themes with participation of renowned academicians, experts, practitioners, NGOs, civil society, student & teacher representative bodies, industry associations, and stakeholder different Ministries of Government of India. A separate meeting was held by the MHRD Ministries of Government of India. Their suggestions were noted and they were also asked to send their suggestions. In all, 13 Ministries of Government of India have sent their suggestions to Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Notwithstanding, the details dished out by the ministry, this publication (Curriculum magazine) stands by its September Issue cover story, ‘India towards a New Education Framework’ in which it was clearly illustrated the consultation process had been hardly well organized or research-based. Let’s hope the committee does justice to education agenda of this country.