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Government will unveil draft education policy soon, says Javadekar

Prashant K. Nanda
After the ministry makes the draft report public, it will wait for comments from all stakeholders

New Delhi: The Union government on Thursday said it will soon make the draft report of the much-touted new education policy public. However, the proposed policy becoming a reality during the current term of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government looks distant.

Human resources development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar said the proposed policy will be diverse and learning a “particular language” may not be mandatory for all students.

The minister said the nine-member Kasturirangan Committee has submitted the draft report. “The committee has not recommended making any language, let alone Hindi, mandatory throughout the country. Our diversity is our strength,” he said, adding that he, however, favours students learning multiple languages. “Choice of students is important. The draft will be in public domain very soon.”

At least two government officials, requesting anonymity, said that the draft has some contemporary suggestions on how to make education relevant for students, as well as industries, so that the efficiency of the aspiring job seekers improves. “Skill-based education and industry readiness has found place in the draft report. Besides, promoting science, a common curriculum for students across school boards in science subjects have found some mention,” said one of the two officials cited above.

The committee has also suggested regulatory reforms in higher education, besides enhancing expense to improve the overall quality of the sector, said the second official, adding that to fulfil growing demand in education technology will be key, and this will be emphasised in the final policy.

The ministry had told Parliament on 17 December that the draft report by the committee was not ready, despite five extensions. Officials, cited above said the committee report was submitted in late December.

However, the officials said while the draft report will be made public, it may not be possible for the HRD ministry to make it into a law soon. “Most probably, the next government, whosoever comes to power, will take a final call. We have hardly any time now,” the second official added.

After the ministry makes the draft report public, it will wait for comments from all stakeholders, including experts and the public, before finalising the draft, which will then be placed for inter-ministerial consultations, before the law ministry vets it for the Union cabinet to take it up.

The proposed national education policy will be the first in over three decades and will address the needs of the entire education sector, from elementary and tertiary education to setting up a road map for the next two decades. India's education sector is one of the largest in the world, catering to nearly 300 million students across 1.4 million schools and 50,000 higher educational institutions.