On the 25th of October, Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry held a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) which was chaired by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. Without any doubt this was the most important meeting done by Mr. Javadekar after being appointed as the HRD minister in July this year.
In this meeting, which was attended by every individual who has a say in forming the education policy and implementing it attended the meeting, 21 state education ministers along with ministers of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship & Youth Affairs and Sports. Clearly lots of expectations were there from this meeting about the scrapping of RTE, implementing RTE and a relook on No detention policy. As I have written before on how previous HRD minister Smriti Irani performed well below par on the many core issues, a lot was riding on this meeting as well as the new minister. But this time around as well they have come up short…very short. It seems like NDA-2 under PM Modi is not at all serious about reforming the education sector as pointed out by this article in Swarajya Magazine.
According to the HRD ministry’s press release, it was agreed that:
- All stakeholders must take accountability for improving learning outcomes.
- The central government may bring in a suitable amendment that will give states the freedom to review the ‘no detention policy’.
- The task of completing the training of untrained teachers should be completed within the next five years.
The above points suggest that many who were looking for signs of reforms will only be disappointed. After making huge the poll promises to change the way HRD works by BJP before 2014 elections, an excerpt from the BJP Manifesto of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it seems that BJP is yet to make any concrete effort on this.
BJP will set up a National Commission on Education to report in two years on the state of education and the reforms needed. Based on the report, BJP will implement a National Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry.
Even on the issue of No detention policy where BJP said it will look to change it the progress has been close to zero and now the talks to setting a new committee for NEP makes no sense at all. This report which says that the new committee will be formed under an ‘Educationist’ just mocks all those who have worked and given time to HRD ministry over the last 2 & half years where they were inviting suggestions on the various government platforms by the ministry. On top of everything Mr Javadekar himself is an educationist who has vast experience in the education field and which was also one of the reasons why he was made the HRD minister.
All said and done BJP has about 1 year to turn around it’s way of governing and start implementing promises they have made on the core issues otherwise there will be no time left of political capital to make the necessary changes. Politics aside, HRD ministry is one of the most important ministry which will shape the future of India depending on the type of education we were able to provide to our future generations. Ministers have changed and hopefully the ministry also changes the way it works for the better.