The main problem in this area can be pointed out as the progress in reducing the number of such illiterate people and the need to reach early childhood education.
According to an input report from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the new education policy (discussed in the previous pipeline) focuses on seven key areas of concern in the Indian education sector – access and participation, quality, equity, system efficiency, governance and management, research and development. And a financial commitment to education development.
This will be addressed through strategic interventions such as preschool and adolescent education, curriculum development and examination reform, teacher and professor training, lifelong literacy, higher education, and long-term education. Here’s a quick glimpse into improving some of the marked areas of concern:
Access, participation, and equity
The main problem in this area can be pointed out as the progress in reducing the number of such illiterate people and the need to reach early childhood education. States will be encouraged to ensure the adequate extension of the Right to Education Act in respect of secondary education. Beyond this, the expansion of open school facilities to help drop-outs and employed children who have not found a place to pursue formal education has been suggested.
A National Fellowship Fund will be set up to support fees, materials, and living expenses for 1,000,000 students, which will cover the economically weaker sections, including independent national talent scholarships in all subjects for meritorious students. Linking and mentoring systems in schools are also being developed.
Further, an autonomous body will be set up to oversee Open and Distance Learning (ODL) as well as Massive Open Online Courses (MOC) to increase access and participation and maintain quality standards in the field. Under the objective of equity, curriculum reform is being carried out with the broad goals of social cohesion, religious unity, and national integration and this will include teaching students their fundamental rights and duties to be responsible citizens.
The course will specifically cover issues of social justice (such as gender, social, cultural, and regional inequalities) and the means of their prevention, but also with an emphasis on ‘unity in diversity’. The input draft also opens up the possibility of ‘optional’. Schools that offer interventions specifically for underprivileged children, such as on the run or in difficult circumstances.
Multilingual education will be offered at several levels to assist tribal students who lack familiarity with the regional language/language instruction. Current central funding will be enhanced to identify and support students with special learning needs. This will be supported by research and development dedicated to strengthening disability studies in the social and research audit of higher education and disability access.
Quality and system efficiency
The aim here is to ensure that the level of learning matches the required level and addresses the shortcomings of teachers, curriculum, and pedagogy. At the preschool level, it will include training of cadres of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and pre-primary teachers at the state government level as well as priority programs for children aged four to five years.
While a general national curriculum will be developed in science, mathematics, and English, other subjects will have a partial general curriculum with the rest developed with individual states. There will be more emphasis on practical components within science subjects from class six onwards. Integrated efforts are being suggested to make information and communication technology (ICT) an important part of the learning cycle – to make the monitoring and supervision system more conducive to the monitoring and supervision of teachers and students.
Teachers at all levels of schooling will be provided with a complete module on child rights and their placement as well as violations under their training programs. This will be supplemented by a self-learning online program on the same theme for students and parents. The same criteria for good academic results will also be applied to private and government schools. Beyond the upper primary stage, the ‘no-detention’ policy will be abolished and replaced with a policy of identifying weaker students and giving them remedial instructions.
Helplines with academic aptitude tests and professional counselors are designed with the idea of targeting students with special interests but large student organizations also help identify areas of interest and potential. Obstacles in the process of students moving from one school to another will be removed so that mobility between schools will be reduced.
In addition to the marked areas of concern, a separate section has been allotted for ‘Language and Culture in Education’. It does not matter what the medium of instruction is, but it does emphasize English as well as both regional languages. In addition, special importance has been given to teaching Sanskrit in schools and the expansion of facilities for it. Cultural education now includes ‘moral education’ – centered around the lessons of equality, equality, freedom, justice, and national unity.
The entire policy, including the implementation framework, is expected in the coming months. While the input draft is not expected to fully explain how each intervention will be implemented, many attempts that may require more effort or more extensive research do not tell the reader what these efforts might be or to what extent they determine.
At the central or state level, there will be information on gender discrimination and better support for students with disabilities. The input is broad in the area where the draft is addressed, but in many of them, it is not clear – people are left to wait for the whole policy to know what relatively more ambiguous interventions will take.