New Delhi: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes oath for a second time Thursday, outcome-based quality education, a new education policy, more seats at IITs and IIMs, and a reduced regulatory environment may get steady attention. Authorities in the human resource development ministry believe that BJP’s 2019 manifesto will be a guiding document in policy formulation for the education sector that caters to nearly 300 million youth and feeds the workforce requirement of the economy.
“While keeping the education system in pace with modern trends…our efforts will continue towards an outcome-focused, knowledge-oriented, and students-focused education system,” the BJP manifesto has underlined. The party manifesto mentioned that having achieved near-universal access to schooling, emphasis will be “on quality of learning” in the school sector. In the last five years, the human resource development ministry attempted to identify learning outcomes for various classes, and priority in the next five years may be aimed at ensuring that children achieve these learning outcomes.
“The biggest task for the new government will be to increase public investment in the school sector to improve the quality of education. Along with the investment, teachers’ training will be key for improving learning outcomes in our schools,” said Kiran Bhatty, a senior fellow at the think tank Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. India spends around 3% of the GDP on education against 6% demand from academics and experts for the last few decades. The BJP, in its manifesto, has said once a new government is in place, it will initiate a Prime Minister Innovative Learning Program to bring talented children from all over the country and provide them with the required facilities to improve their thinking skills, a move if implemented could help in inculcating research and innovation mindset among youngsters.
The new government may establish 200 more central and Navodaya schools, an HRD ministry-controlled school chain whose performance is even better than top-end private schools. The BJP manifesto also speaks about establishing the National Institutes of Teachers’ Training to bring sanity in the teacher education sector largely plagued by poor quality education in private institutions.
The party manifesto suggests that while the continuing focus on tech-enabled learning, the government may provide smart classrooms to needy students in elementary and secondary schools. However, the lack of electricity and basic infrastructure in rural public schools will pose a significant challenge to achieve this.
Besides, the union government may increase the intake capacity of central engineering, management, science, and law institutions by 50% over the next five years. Central institutions encompass the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institute of Management (IIMs), All Indian Institutions of Medical Science (AIIMS), national law universities, Indian Institute of Science Technology and Research (IISER), among others.
Unlike 2014, when the party had spoken about dismantling education regulators, BJP in 2019 was soft on the subject but said the new government “will relook the role of existing regulatory institutions” and make necessary changes in the legislation to ensure a regulatory overhaul.
The glorious era of old print media dominance is over, and the era of cyberspace has taken over. The proliferation of Information Technology has given rise to the newest bloodless revolution in humankind in knowledge and information dissemination, the Internet. The Internet is a network that provides quick and effortless access to the largest global information database available, the World Wide Web. When tapped correctly, the internet has the potential to become one of the most valuable and stimulating educational tools available to the multitudes, and its recognized merits as such are one too few. I’m afraid I, therefore, have to disagree with the statement that the Internet is overrated or its merits, chief of which are the unparalleled efficacy of its research and news capabilities, are celebrated without reason.