MINISTER FOR HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
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.