MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT (DR. SHASHI THAROOR)
(a)&(b) Education reforms are a continuous process and the Government seeks to carry them forward through expansion, inclusion and rapid improvement in quality through institutional and policy reforms and by enhancing public spending. Education, being in the concurrent list, is the responsibility of both the Central as well as the State Governments. Education reforms are taking place after consultation with all stakeholders, including State Governments and academics.
In the realm of elementary education, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which has become operative with effect from 1st April, 2010, lays special focus on improving the quality of education. Further, the Government has issued an Advisory to State Governments on the implementation of section 29 of the RTE Act for initiating curriculum reform, including (i) formulating age-appropriate curricula and syllabi in keeping with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) -2005, (ii) maintaining subject balance, (iii) initiating textbook content and production reform, and (iv) ensuring continuous and comprehensive assessment for learning.
The Central Board of Secondary Education has introduced the scheme of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in its schools in a phased manner for improvement of quality in the schools affiliated to it. The Board has also made Class X Board Examination optional for the students studying in Senior Secondary Schools and who do not wish to move out of the CBSE system after Class X.
At the level of higher education, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has been implementing a number of schemes aimed at improvement of quality of education in Indian Universities, such as the introduction of a semester system, the regular updating of curricula, Choice Based Credit Systems (CBCS), reforms in admission procedure and in examination and evaluation systems. The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has also formulated a National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) to solve the problem of skill manpower and unemployment.
An amount of Rs. 4,53,728 crore has been allocated for the education sector for the 12th Plan period representing an increase of 68.12% over the 11th Plan allocation. It is not possible to quantify the financial implications of each of the reforms as a separate category.
(c) It has been the endeavour of the Ministry to have consultations and continuous dialogue with the States for the development of education sector. Over the past three years, regular meetings of CABE and State Education Ministers Conference have been held and this has helped in developing consensus on various issues and schemes within the sub-sectors of education ranging from elementary, adult, secondary, higher, technical, vocational and open and distance education.
(d) Government has already introduced four Bills in the Parliament aiming at reforms in higher education, which include proposals for prohibition of unfair practices in technical/educational institutions, medical educational institutions and universities; mandatory accreditation of higher educational institutions; educational tribunals for adjudication of disputes; and legislation to regulate the entry and operation of foreign educational institutions. These Bills, when enacted, would have precedence over State legislation.