Former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian will be the principal architect of the new policy that will chart the future course of education in India.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) is set to announce the constitution of a five-member committee that will be entrusted with the responsibility of drafting the country’s third National Education Policy (NEP) since Independence. The panel will be headed by Subramanian and will have four other retired bureaucrats as its members.
Top ministry sources confirmed that Shailaja Chandra, who retired as the chief secretary of Delhi government, and Sudhir Mankad, who served as the chief secretary of Gujarat from 2005 to 2007, will also be part of the drafting panel.
Subramanian said he wasn’t aware of this development. “I haven’t heard anything formally from the (HRD) ministry,” he told The Indian Express. Chandra could not be contacted for comment. A formal announcement on the committee is expected on Saturday, which is also the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. HRD Ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel was also unavailable for comment.
The first Education Policy was introduced in 1968 under the Indira Gandhi government following recommendations of the Kothari Commission. In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi announced the second policy on education which resulted in Operation Blackboard, a centrally-sponsored programme to supply the bare minimum crucial facilities to all primary schools. In 1992, this policy was modified under the prime ministership of P V Narsimha Rao.
The Subramanian panel will assess the status of the present education scenario, review the impact of the 1986 policy and the amended education policy of 1992, assimilate the feedback based on grassroot-level consultations and draft a new one keeping in mind the changed social, economic and technological context. The committee will be asked to submit its report by year end.
The HRD Ministry, under Smriti Irani, had earlier this year launched nation-wide consultations, at gram panchayat, block, district and state level, to collect feedback and suggestions for the new policy. This feedback will be provided to the drafting committee.
The UPA-II government, in the fag end of its tenure, had also made attempts to set the ball rolling for a new national education policy but it fell apart after noted sociologist Andre Beteille disassociated himself from the effort.