New Delhi: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet of Union ministers took oath of office, the Kasturirangan Committee submitted a draft of the National Education Policy (NEP) to the new National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
Among the several proposals, the committee, set up in 2017 when Prakash Javadekar was the Minister of Human Resource Development, recommended setting up a National Education Commission (NEC), or Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA), as an apex body for education in the country to ensure “cohesion and synergy between the multiple dimensions of education”.
The proposed NEC will be chaired by the PM, while the Union minister for education will serve as the vice-chairperson.
“The RSA will be responsible for developing, articulating, implementing, evaluating, and revising the vision of education in the country on a continuous and sustained basis. It will also create and oversee the institutional frameworks that will help achieve this vision,” said the draft NEP.
Additionally, the NEP also proposed that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) be redesignated as the Ministry of Education (MoE) to “bring back focus on education and learning”.
The NEC will include 20-30 members and convene a meeting at least once a year. Educationists, researchers and professionals from the fields of arts, business, health, agriculture and social work will make up half of the committee. Other committee members will include Union ministers and chief ministers on a rotation basis, vice-chairperson of the NITI Aayog, principal secretary to the PM, cabinet secretary, the senior-most secretary in the Ministry of Education, and other senior bureaucrats.
The NEC’s head, an executive director (ED) with the rank of Minister of State, will serve a five-year term. According to the NEP proposal, “the ED will be a person of eminence in education, with deep understanding of India’s education system, a record of stellar public contribution, and broad experience of administration and leadership”.
The draft NEP said that the proposed NEC will review and approve the budgets and their utilisation by all agencies of the government related to education in any way. “Spending will be prioritised accordingly in order to ensure coordination and sustained efforts in the direction of the educational vision,” it has proposed.
Additionally, similar to the NEC, a State Education Commission (SEC) may also be constituted in each state to improve coordination with the Centre. The SEC will be chaired by the chief minister, with the state education minister serving as its vice-chairperson.