The National Policy on Education is a Government Of India policy that intends to promote education and learning in India. T R S Subramaniam Committee submitted the latest draft for the National Education Policy (NEP) recently and this has now been sent to the various states for review and their recommendations.
This decision by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) headed by Smriti Irani has drawn flak from many quarters including T R S Subramanian, head of the Committee. The former bureaucrat has been quoted as saying that he will go ahead and make the draft policy public if the government does not.
So, what is the NEP and why has it run into controversy? Let’s take a look.
- This is a policy carved by the Government of India to promote education in the country and the existing NEP is outdated as it was formulated in 1986 and no modifications have happened since 1992.
- In order to improve the quality of education, innovation and research, the Government initiated consultations with citizens, educationists, industry representatives, and others at a grassroots level, through online portals, and national-level discussions in 2015.
- Gram panchayats, blocks, urban local bodies and districts of all states participated in the consultations as did institutions such as University Grants Commission (UGS), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), centrally funded universities and autonomous bodies in the education sector.
Following the submission of the draft report, Irani announced that it had been sent to all the states and opinion had been sought before the final policy is drafted. She said that only after this would the draft report be made public. This has not gone down well with Subramaniam who then went on to say that he would make the draft public if the ministry failed to do so. His contention is that such documents belong to the public and the government is merely a custodian of public interest.
While Irani has not elaborated on her stand on the issue, many believe that the Committee’s discussions and analyses of ground realities such as the impact of government-run education initiatives leaves a bitter taste and this is why the government is reluctant to make the draft public.
On the other hand, some say that the draft includes proposals such as tracking or monitoring students with technology and doing away with the no-detention policy which are things that will need co-operation of the state authorities and this is why the MHRD is keeping a lid on it.
Irrespective of the reason for the decision, the main issue of concern for most now is as to when the country will finally get a glimpse of the new education policy?