Education Current Affairs

HRD Ministry Constitutes K. Kasturirangan Panel to Frame National Education Policy

The HRD ministry has constituted a new nine-member panel headed by space scientist K Kasturirangan to frame a new National Education Policy (NEP). The other members of the panel include chosen experts and educationists from wide-ranging backgrounds.

The panel includes former IAS officer K.J. Alphonse Kanamthanam, who was instrumental in making Kerala’s Kottayam and Ernakulam districts achieve 100% literacy.

Another member of the panel will be Ram Shanker Kureel who has wide experience in the field of agricultural sciences and management. He is also the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.

The committee also comprises of M.K. Shridhar, former member secretary of the Karnataka State Innovation Council, T.V. Kattimani, an expert on language communication, Dr. Mazhar Asif, professor of Persian at Guwahati University, Krishan Mohan Tripathi, a former director of education, Uttar Pradesh, mathematician Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University and Vasudha Kamat, former vice chancellor of Mumbai’s SNDT University.

The panel members belong to different sections and regions of the country reflecting the diversity of the country.

Background

In 2015, Narendra Modi Government had set up a committee under former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian to chalk out a new education policy. This committee had submitted its report in May 2016.
The committee had presented its report in two volumes with around 90 suggestions.

The other important past committees in Education includes Radhakrishnan Commission (1948-49) on higher education; Mudaliyar Commission (1952) on secondary education and the Kothari Commission (1964-66).  The Kothari Commission had a mandate to advise the government on the development of education at all stage and in all aspects. The Kothari Commission’s report was used to formulate the Education Policy of 1968.

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Plan for common Engineering entrance exam put on hold

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development has put on hold the plan for conducting a single entrance test for admission to engineering courses throughout the country till a consensus is reached with the states. The ministry feels that without reaching consensus, the purpose of having a common engineering entrance exam would not be served. Also, the ministry wants to discuss the possibility of having common counselling provisions with the states.

However, it is not fully clear whether the consultation with the states will delay the implementation of the plan in 2018. As per the sources, as soon as the consensus is built among the states, the centre will work out the modalities of implementing the plan.

Background

Recently, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) had passed a regulation to hold a national-level common engineering entrance exam from 2018. But, it was vehemently opposed by states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Development wants to conduct a common test for admission to engineering courses similar to that of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical and dental colleges introduced last year.

At present, various exams are held for admitting students to engineering courses. For instance, the CBSE conducts JEE-Mains exam every year, for which over 11 lakh students appear. Several states have their own tests. In addition, several private colleges have their own entrance examinations. In India, there are over 3,300 approved engineering colleges with an annual intake of around 16 lakh students. So, the government feels that there should be a single common entrance examination for admission to engineering courses.

AICTE

AICTE is a statutory body established in November 1945. It comes under the aegis of Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resources Development. AICTE is a national-level council for technical education responsible for planning and coordination of technical education and management of education system in the country. It accredits graduate and post graduate programs at Indian institutions.

 

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