Prakash Javadekar


India Today - - 30 YEARS OF MODI GOVERNMENT | SOCIAL SECTOR - —Kaushik Deka

IN HIS BUD­GET 2017 speech, fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley had in­di­cated that the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor would see big re­forms. From fo­cus­ing on learn­ing as­sess­ment in schools, re­vamp­ing the Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion (UGC) to set­ting up a na­tional test­ing agency for con­duct­ing en­trance ex­ams, Jait­ley set the agenda. But com­pared to 2013-14 (UPA rule), when ed­u­ca­tion was 4.6 per cent of the gov­ern­ment’s to­tal ex­pen­di­ture, spend­ing on the sec­tor has come down to 3.7 per cent this

year. De­spite the new ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy be­ing in cold stor­age, and no big-ticket re­form in school and higher ed­u­ca­tion, HRD min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar main­tains that the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor is firmly on the re­forms path. “The main theme of re­form in higher ed­u­ca­tion is re­search and in­no­va­tion,” he says. “Start-ups have been al­lowed to op­er­ate from IIT hos­tel rooms. More than 150 start-ups have come up.” There is talk about learn­ing out­comes in schools and e-learn­ing has been mas­sively pro­moted, but ed­u­ca­tion­ist Ki­ran Bhatty says the gov­ern­ment first needs to get trained teach­ers. While Javadekar prom­ises a com­plete over­haul of teach­ers’ ed­u­ca­tion, T.S.R. Subra­ma­nian, who headed the com­mit­tee on the new ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy, isn’t con­vinced. “Ev­ery two-three months, they re­lease some eye-catch­ing small in­for­ma­tion, which is pro­jected as pol­icy change,” he says.

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