Education Policy .

Upon winning elections and taking office, The Rising India Party would immediately move aggressively to completely reframe the Education Policy and Standards in the country. It would take a top-down-bottom-up holistic approach to design the Education Policy of the country that would be designed as a living constantly evolving document with annual reviews built into the policy framework.

The underlying principles or the education policy of The Rising India Party are stated below. These are for the Indian public to examine, debate and vote upon, with or without alterations. The policy would, like other initiatives of The Rising India Party be the subject to a referendum vote once elections are won, even though the public would have voted upon the declared policy structures, as follows:

  1. The functioning methodology of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) would be scrapped and reset along the lines set out below.
  2. The total control of bureaucrats over education would be scrapped and would be reconstituted with public oversight as well as deep engagement as laid out in this document.
  3. To begin the process of radical and substantive change, the government would form Audit and Plans Boards to undertake a line by line audit of the policies, rules and lines of command, that are in place at the Ministry of Human Resource Development, for education sectors in the country.
  4. These Boards would be constituted in a mix of 25% personnel drawn from government servant including civil services and elected politicians where politicians would be the elected MP’s spread on various Boards, 25% from academia, 25% from cross sections of industry and 25% from the wider public, so as to constitute Boards that are truly representative and from diverse groups that would bring with them diverse experience, a cross section of views such that the decision narrative that flows therein will be solid, permanent and sustainable in the eyes of the public.
  5. The final decisions will rest with a duly constituted central Plan Board Group that would be announced by the government but with the above-named elements as part of these.
  6. With immediate effect, on taking office the government would take the position that all current bodies regulating education such as UGC, AICTE, medical Council of India and so on including the state bodies would stand suspended while the government framed new integrated bodies to replace these.
  7. These bodies have displayed nothing but massive Egos, obstructionist temperaments and functioning, the stink of corruption and pushing personal agendas; and such attitudes and functioning need to be dumped forever.
  8. Personnel of these bodies would be re-deployed pending individual reviews and decisions of their future roles in government, or their parent bodies.
  9. During the suspension, the system will continue to function as normal but all matters and decisions pending before these bodies would also stand suspended in the interim, unless the Audit Boards come upon urgent issues during their broad based, in-depth audits, in which case these matters would be expeditiously attended to at the very top of the new political hierarchy.
  10. The management architecture of Public sector education institutions would be completely reconstituted to a structure wherein the governing board membership will be composed of 25% government nominated, 25% selected from academia drawn from institutions other than those for which the Boards are being framed, 25% from industry and 25% from members of the public.
  11. These appointments would be for 2 year tenures, annually reviewed, with further extensions granted to those doing good, high quality work.
  12. The final decisions of these Boards will rest with nominated members numbering no more than 3 to 5.
  13. The public-sector institutions would immediately be freed from all artificial governmental restraints that are in place today where every decision has to go to the bureaucracy for sanction.
  14. The government would completely free education from all bureaucratic straitjackets and restraints including those in course design, method of delivery, management of the institutions etc.
  15. They would be given genuine autonomy of functioning but within the accountability standards that would be set and enforced by duly constituted Plans Boards and Audit Boards that would have strong public representation.
  16. The accountability standards would apply to both, Operations viz-a-viz the delivery of Education and all that this entails, and Financial functioning.
  17. Strong public oversight and Audits would be carried out at least once every two years to ensure that the institutions are behaving ethically and delivering excellence within their capacity and domains.
  18. Negative student feedback would be take very seriously and be thoroughly investigated if the number of complaints is above a pre-defined one.
  19. The education sector is currently basically divided into two sectors; the State or Public Sector comprising State-run Schools and Universities with their collegium system and
  20. The Private sector wherein the institutions are operated through societies or trusts and comprise privately-run schools, colleges, Universities and ancillary private education institutions, such as tuition and minor courses delivery centers.
  21. The government or Public sector has many universities and institution that are of high repute and demand, to the extent that to get in, students need to have secured unrealistically high 96% or above.
  22. The fees of these institutions are so low as to be non-existent whereas the ground reality is that a substantial number of students who enroll come from wealthy, upper-middle class or middle-class families. These too pay the same low fees, leading to a huge burden on the national exchequer.
  23. The State-run Education sector would be modelled on a means testing frame wherein students coming from high income families will be charged high fees, scaled-downward according to the income of the family. this would especially true for institutions of excellence which have a very high demand, such as the IITs, certain universities in the country e.g. Delhi University, Mumbai University etc.; wherein certain colleges such as St Stephens and so on are in huge demand and many rich students populate these.
  24. The government would immediately announce that the Public or State sector would move from uniform low fees to “means testing” for fees.
  25. This would be done to rebalance the system such that those students coming from upper socio-economic strata would be required to pay higher, but reasonable, fees than for those from the middle classes with pre-defined income thresholds.
  26. Free education would be provided for those students who come from families below a pre-stipulated income thresholds; say, 3 lakhs family income per annum or less, or as decided upon wider public debate.
  27. Such a move would reduce financial stress on the system while creating the development conditions so necessary for a high-quality education system.
  28. The curriculums of all Public or Private sector institution by default will need to be revised no more than every two years with a dynamic curriculum model wherein capacity to incorporate developments as they happen would be made possible through the operational freedom provided to the sector.
  29. All education institutions would be required to move to research focused education and teaching and learning methodologies, from High School up.
  30. This would entail methodologies integrating field work, corporate work or visits, practically working within each course work domain, and such work would form part of the credit and evaluation system.
  31. The government would selectively open Public-sector institutions to Public-Private partnership models subject to certain conditions and in cases where the duly constituted Boards so recommend such shifts.
  32. The infrastructure of Public sector institutions would immediately move to a two or even three shift modes of operations with the possibility that the extra shifts would be managed under public-private partnerships to quickly build capacity and remove capacity constraints for good education.
  33. Teacher development and training would be brought center stage and this would be offered up to any Indian or overseas institutions for contribution to it development narrative.
  34. In the case of the Private Sector presence in education, while giving free play to the private sector, the government would set stringent rules governing the behavior of the private sector to preclude “mercenary” behavior and mandate strict quality controls in a 360-degree frame relating to courses, teaching quality, infrastructure maintenance, and education deliverables.
  35. These standards would be equal to or higher than those set for the public sector.
  36. Privately run schools and institutions that are for-profit schools and institutions would be permitted with certain strict regulations and regulatory frameworks to charge whatever fees they wish to charge within certain stipulations defined in clauses 34, 35.
  37. Given the profit motive and nature of private education provision, the social responsibility would be enforced by laws governing such institutions.
  38. For example, all for-profit institutions would by law, have to set aside 25% of their Gross profit before tax into a common Education Development Fund pool that would be subject to regular audits.
  39. The Boards overseeing these Funds would have public oversight and its members would be drawn from a wide cross section of the public as governor’s overseers of the fund as part of the overseeing committee.
  40. These funds would be used for full fee waivers and living cost waivers as the case may be for students from the poorer sections of society enrolled in institutions throughout the country. The poorer sections would be predefined according to the family income for example somebody below and income of 5 lakhs should get,
  41. Full fee waiver for bright children from lower socio-economic strata would be mandated, within private school / enrolment to the extent of 20%, or as decided, of the student body.
  42. The selection process of such students would be through a combination of results previously delivered, exams, IQ and other relevant tests; and the social economic segment evaluation, and other parameters that come up as this document develops.
  43. The entire infrastructure of the public-sector institutions would be made available for shift work with at least one or if possible even two extra shifts being mounted this would mean training and recruiting more teachers and staff which would generate tremendous employment and revenue, simultaneously enough revenue to cater to these increased efforts.
  44. The public-private partnerships would be encouraged, indeed invited, for the use of the infrastructure according to certain templates which could be based on fee sharing or straight rental, fee sharing being the obvious choice in this,
  45. These contracts can be done in five years or three or three -five-year terms with renewals and can be also done through bidding process where various private sector institutions can bid for the infrastructure for education.
  46. in case there is an oversupply of education these infrastructures can be considered to be rented for private sector work especially when it comes to things like computer labs, and other infrastructure on a shift-rental basis to generate additional income for the public treasury.
  47. An area in serious need of overhaul is the K-12 or from primary education to High School. This sector would be opened up to private sector participation, investment and model-development so that the country can start to deliver high end meaningful, mind development education narratives over the current hodge-podge of quality and delivery.
  48. The K-12 sector education systems and curriculums would be designed to ensure that children grow up with lateral thinking models such that they are using more of their brains and minds and being creative, rather than filling skill slots.
  49. Thus, the focus of teaching would include multiple language with the aim being to make children up to 15 years of age into multilingual, three, Indian and two foreign languages as part of their learning. Language learning encourages brain development.
  50. Mathematics as mind training, human history and the civilizations of the world, and the impact that each has had on the world development.  would be taught in their basic frames.
  51. K-12 teaching and learning would be encouraged to included major field learning, including nature walks, jungle familiarization, growing things, etc.
  52. The child’s day would be from 8 or 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM with no home work. All work currently given as home work would be tackled at school time.
  53. These proposals would be open to wider debate to arrive as models that are best for child-development and are fun even as they teach for the new world order; but nature and the “nature of nature” would form an integral part of the K-12 curriculum
  54. Sanskrit as our ancient language of mind would be encouraged to be taught in fun ways.
  55. The government would look to expanding the university and vocational education sector, and rules governing Indian institutions, rules for collaboration with global universities and setting up Indian universities overseas would be reviewed and new policies framed such that they encourage participation while protecting the national interest.
  56. The government would completely overhaul and reset the Reservation as practiced in the education sector
  57. The Rising India Party takes the position that while the impulse and rationale behind reservations in public sector activity is sound and needed to be done given the social inequalities that had come into being in India over many centuries, the conception and implementation of the idea is completely flawed and has led to anomalies that have destroyed many institutions by depressing quality of functioning. This is a matter of public record, including in the areas of medicine and education generally, and in public service particularly.
  58. Instead of pushing constantly towards higher standards of excellence in all fields of endeavor and public service delivery, the country consistently moved to the lowest common denominator to accommodate lower narratives. This was both unnecessary and counterproductive and the better results could have been achieved with simple bridging policies to bring up to speed those from the lower socio-economic strata who were not in the opportunity loop due to social ills of misplaced caste and creed perceptions promoted in society by the higher privileged segments.
  59. In education, the background reality that is inescapable, is that reservation has been set to selectively depressed standards. For instance, if a general category student has to secure 95% to get into an institution, a “reservation” candidate can walk in with much lower grades.
  60. When such a policy is carried into critical domains such as medicine, it is a recipe for disaster; for in this and other critical areas, uniform pitch for excellence and intelligence is absolutely essential for the larger good and welfare of the public and the nation.
  61. Essentially, children growing in dis-advantaged households, even those who are of naturally high intelligence, do not develop to the same extent as those born in well-off families. This is simply reflected in the education standards and the learning they have acquired when they arrive at ages for entry into education institutions of higher learning and competitions for government jobs.
  62. The simplest and most effective way to fix this and to bridge the knowledge or experience gap is for the government to run “Bridging Courses” across the education spectrum in public-private partnership models.
  63. These bridging programs would perforce involve and inject students from the “normal” or “general” category / sector to be participants in assisting the development narrative of the dis-advantaged. These could be paid some small stipend for their contribution to incentivize the effort.
  64. Within this policy, the candidates would be holistically evaluated to arrive at the base standards and based on the extent of deficiency, they would be encouraged to take up bridging courses such that they come at par with their better off peers, at which point they would become part of the normal cohort and catch up with their peers in every way possible
  65. It would be entirely possible to reduce the extra time gap by giving intensive programs that would be built into the normal education delivery models.
  66. Bridging courses and cases, with no compromise on mind quality even as the nation builds on equal opportunity is the only way to bring in the kind of equity that is needed in a society that is fair for all and is working to high standards of excellence and integrity.
  67. A major paradigm shift in education is possible if the public were to consider a policy wherein anyone with deep experience in a given field who also has a pre-set level of formal education should be permitted to be able to teach under certain conditions that would need to be met to ensure quality and teaching delivery results that would need to be quantified for grading or credits.
  68. For such “free-lance” teacher-institutes, they would need to submit to the Education Overseeing Bodies, as nominated, applications detailing what they would desire to teach, details of the experience and qualifications of the concerned individuals, with recommendations from members of the public they have taught or who have experienced their work.
  69. Such a move would vastly expand the education delivery network and create real value all the way throughout society.
  70. The idea needs to be evaluated and further developed and framed.
  71. Teacher and teaching technology development would be a core of the education policy.
  72. It is to be noted that the Education Policy Framework laid out is a First Cut and to this would be added the thoughts and contributions of many more individuals of varying experience and deep thought, once the document is in the public space. Such contributions are actively sought to this Living document.

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