Right to Education Enforced from 1st April, 2010; Model Rules Prepared and Notified; Process of Aligning the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with the RTE Initiated Legislations for Reforms in Higher Education Sector Introduced in Parliament All Round Efforts by HRD Ministry to bring in Reforms in Education Sector

The year 2010 was a landmark year for education in the country. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, representing the consequential legislation to the Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, was enforced with effect from 1st April, 2010.The RTE Act secures the right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school. The Act lays down the norms and standards relating to pupil teacher ratios, buildings and infrastructure, school working days and teacher working hours. The process of aligning the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan strategies and norms with the RTE mandate was initiated.

PREPARATION OF MODEL RULES UNDER THE RTE ACT

The Model Rules under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act have been prepared and circulated/sent to State Governments to adopt/adapt the same while making their own rules.

FRAMING OF CENTRAL RULES:

The Central Rules under the RTE Act titled “The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010” was published in the Gazette on 9th April, 2010.

NOTIFICATIONS UNDER SECTION 29 AND 23 OF THE RTE ACT.

The Central Government has issued the following Notifications on 5th April, 2010.

(i)                 in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 29 of the Right of       Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Central Government has authorized the National Council of Educational Research and Training would be the academic authority to lay down the curriculum and evaluation procedure for elementary education, and to develop a framework of national curriculum under clause (a) of sub-section (6) of Section 7 of the Act; and

(ii)         in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 23 of the Right of                Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Central Government               has authorized the National Council for Teacher Education as the academic                           authority to lay down the minimum qualifications for a person to be eligible for               appointment as a teacher.

LAYING DOWN MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT AS A   TEACHER

The National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) has vide Notification dated 23rd August, 2010 laid down the minimum qualifications for a person to be appointed as a teacher in schools.

FORMATION OF NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

Section 33(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 provides for constitution of a National Advisory Council (NAC) by the Central Government. The functions of the NAC shall be to advise the Central Government on implementation of the provisions of the RTE Act in an effective manner. The National Advisory Council was constituted under the chairpersonship of Minister of Human Resource Development.  Notification to this effect has been published in the Gazette of India on 8th July, 2010.

GUIDELINES ISSUED UNDER SECTION 35(1) OF THE RTE ACT:

a)               Clarifications regarding  Duties of teachers under Section 27: “Duties relating to election to the local authority or the State Legislatures or Parliament relate to actual conduct of elections and the consequent deployment of teachers on the days of poll and counting, the time spent on training imparted to them and collection of election material for such deployment.  All other duties relating to electoral roll revisions will be undertaken on holidays and during non- teaching hours and non-teaching days.”

b)               Procedure for admission in schools under section 13(1) and section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act – i.e. the unaided and ‘specified category’ schools shall follow a system of random selection out of the applications received from children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections for filling the pre-determined number of seats in that class, which should be not less than 25% of the strength of the class and for remaining 75% of the seats (or a lesser percentage depending upon the number of seats fixed by the school for admission under section 12(1)(c), in respect of unaided schools and specified category schools, and for all the seats in the aided schools, each school should formulate a policy under which admissions are to take place

c)               Applicability of RTE to Minority Institutions – Institutions, including Madrasa and Vedic Pathshalas especially serving religious and linguistic minorities are protected under Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution.  The RTE Act does not come in the way of continuance of such institutions, or the rights of children in such institutions and schools of minority organizations covered within the meaning of section 2(n) of the Act, will be governed by the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.

d)              Relax the minimum qualifications required for appointment of teacher for a period not exceeding five years as required under Sub-section (2) of Section 23 of RTE Act to a state along with the prescribed format for seeking relaxation by the State.

e)               For maintaining PTR mentioned in the Schedule to the Act, the States may undertake two processes within a period of six months

i)        Rationalize the deployment of existing teachers to address the problems of urban-rural and other spatial imbalances in teacher placements and

ii)      Initiate the process of recruitment of new teachers to fill vacant posts as per the PTR stipulated in the Schedule.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is the main vehicle for implementation of RTE Act, 2009.

The major achievements of SSA till September, 2010 are

(i)      Opening of 309727 new schools,

(ii)       Construction of 254935 school buildings,

(iii)     Construction of 1166868 additional classrooms,

(iv)       190961 drinking water facilities,

(v)       Construction of 347857 toilets,

(vi)      Supply of free textbooks to 8.70 crore children,

(vii)       appointment of 11.13 lakh teachers

(viii)     In-service training to 14.02 lakh teachers.

(ix)       Central budget provision for SSA for 2010-11 is Rs.19000 crore, out of which Rs.15212 crore has been released to States/UTs till 30.11.2010.

GRADING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTED IN CLASS 10

2010 saw the initiation of the grading system at the class 10 level . It has   also been decided to do away with Class X board examinations from 2011 in CBSE schools affiliated up to senior secondary level, for such students who are not moving out of the CBSE System.  Further, students of class IX and X will be assessed on the basis on CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) to be implemented at the school level.

MODEL SCHOOLS

The government has decided to set up 6000 high quality model schools at the rate of one school per block.  During 2010-11, 401 model schools in 5 States have been sanctioned and Rs.229.51crore released as first instalment of central share,

The Project Approval Board(PAB) has also recommended 53  more schools in 3 States as mentioned below:

(i)         Assam                                    24

(ii)        Uttar Pradesh                            3

(iii)       Tamil Nadu                             26

RASHTRIYA MADHYAMIK SHIKSHA ABHIYAN

This scheme was launched in March, 2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and improve its quality and the implementation of the scheme started from 2009-10. It is envisaged to achieve an enrolment rate of 75% from 52.26% in 2005-06 at secondary stage within 5 years by providing a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation.

During 2010-11, based on the Annual Plan proposals submitted by the State/UTs government upto 30.11.2010, the Project Approval Board (PAB) has approved following interventions in 13 States/UTs:

Ø  New/ upgraded schools                :           1257

Ø  Additional class rooms                 :           8511

Ø  Science lab                                    :           4101

Ø  Computer room                             :           2554

Ø  Art/craft/culture room                   :           5359

Ø  Library                                          :           5095

Ø  Separate toilet block

& drinking water facilities            :           4330

Ø  In service training of teachers       :        459215

NATIONAL CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK FOR TEACHER EDUCATION

“National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education” developed by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) was released this year. Two significant developments – the National Curriculum Framework, 2005 and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, have guided the development of this Framework.  The document deals with preparing and re-orienting teachers for enabling the child to learn through activities, discovery and exploration of his environment and surroundings in a child friendly and child-centred manner, inclusive education, perspective for equitable and sustainable development, gender perspectives, role of community knowledge in education and ICT in schooling as well as  e-learning

COBSE UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSES CORE CURRICULUM FOR MATHS,  SCIENCE  AND COMMERCE FOR THE COUNTRY FOR PLUS TWO STAGE

The Council of Boards of School Education (COBSE) approved in two  meetings, in the first one in Delhi a common core curriculum in Science and Mathematics, and in a later meeting in Jaipur, a common core curriculum for commerce, for the plus two stage, for the country.  Most of the Boards were in favour of the implementation of the core curriculum for science and maths  from the year 2011 and for commerce from 2012..

MOU SIGNED BETWEEN HRD AND RAILWAY MINISTRIES

An MoU was signed between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Railways to develop educational infrastructure in the form of around 50 Kendriya Vidyalayas in civil sector (about 20 during the 11th Plan and the balance during the 12th Plan), 10 Residential Schools on the pattern of Navodaya Vidayalayas ( to be set up by Ministry of Railways in collaboration with Ministry of HRD on mutually agreed terms), an appropriate number of Model Degree Colleges and Technical and Management institutions of National Importance to meet the demand for education including wards of Railway employees, either as per the norms specified under the existing schemes/programmes and projects being executed by Ministry of Human Resource Development or through special programmes and projects mutually agreed by the parties or through innovative financing under Public Private Partnership Models or any combinational thereof.

NCTE PORTAL LAUNCHED

An  NCTE Portal was launched which provides for on-line application for recognition of teacher education institutions, on-line submission of appeals, on-line registration of teacher education institutions, teacher educators and teacher trainees, and electronic processing of applications submitted on-line through MIS-integration.

MOU SIGNED BETWEEN HRD AND UIDAI

Ministry of Human Resource Development and Unique Identification Authority of India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 27th October, 2010 The proposed MOU would be helpful in tracking student’s mobility by creating an electronic registry of all students right from primary/elementary level through secondary and higher education, as also between the institutions.  It would also be useful in the implementation of Mid-Day Meal Scheme.  Imprinting of UID number on performance record of individual students (Marksheet.merit certificate, migration certificate) will also be helpful to prospective employers and educational institutions.   UID number will help in tracking problems of fake degrees.  UID can also be utilized while dematting of academic certificates as also education loan and scholarship schemes.

SAAKSHAR BHARAT

The Prime Minister launched Saakshar Bharat on 8th September, 2009 and it was operationalised w.e.f. 1st October, 2009.  By 31st December, 2009, which is within six months of the Government’s  decision, the Mission has been rolled out in 167 districts in 19 States, covering over 81,000 Gram Panchayats, with a budgetary outlay of Rs.2524 crore up to 31st March, 2012.   In all 3.82 crore non-literate adults will be benefited in these districts. The Government of India’s share of Rs.374.35 crore, as the first installment, has been sanctioned.  In 2010-11,  43 more districts are being taken up for implementation  of Saakshar Bharat to cover  over 11000 Gram Panchayats.

 

AN AUTONOMOUS OVERARCHING AUTHORITY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH BASED ON THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF YASH PAL COMMITTEE AND NATIONAL KNOWLEDGE COMMISSION.

The restructuring of the Higher Education sector, in the context of a knowledge economy that thrives on innovation, the ceaseless germination of new ideas and raising the consciousness of people, requires a new spirit of regulation that respects the autonomy of institutions amidst the need for accountability with opportunities for access to all.  The establishment of an over-arching institution with power, inter-alia, to prescribe academic standard, norms of accreditation and mechanism for financing and governance of institutions, will enhance the endeavour to promote credible standards of higher education and research in the country.  A Task Force has been constituted for aiding and advising the Government in the establishment of the Commission.  The Task Force has submitted its report to the government on 21st October, 2010.

A LAW TO PREVENT, PROBIBIT AND PUNISH EDUCATIONAL MALPRACTICES

There is public concern that technical and medical educational institutions, and universities should not resort to unfair practices, such as charging of capitation fee and demanding donations for admitting students, no issuing receipts in respect of payments made by or on behalf of students, admission to professional programmes of study through non-transparent and questionable admission processes, low quality delivery of education services and false claims of quality of such services through misleading advertisements, engagement of unqualified or ineligible teaching faculty, forcible withholding of certificates and other documents of students.  Responding to this concern, a comprehensive legislation that would prohibit and punish such practices has been introduced in Parliament in the month of May, 2010 to provide for prohibition and punishment for adopting of unfair practices.

A LAW FOR MANDATORY ASSESSMENT AND ACCREDITATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH AN INDEPENDENT REGULATORY AUTHORITY

Objective quality assurance frameworks are needed for the student community to make informed choices about institutions and courses.  Presently, accreditation is voluntary as a result of which less than one-fifth of the colleges and less than one-third of all universities have obtained accreditation.  Mandatory accreditation in the higher education would enable the higher education system in the country to become a part of the global quality assurance system.  A legislation has been introduced in Parliament in May this year to provide for mandatory accreditation of all institutions of higher education and creation of an institutional structure for the purpose.  This is in accordance with the general principle of moving from “inspection approval” based mechanism of recognizing institutions to a “verification assessment” method, the attainment of which has often been stressed in public policy discourses.

A LAW TO REGULATE ENTRY AND OPERATION OF FOREIGN EDUCATIONAL PROVIDERS

A large number of foreign educational institutions are reportedly operating in the country.  Some of them are resorting to various mal-practices to allure and attract students, particularly in smaller cities and towns.  There is as yet neither any centralised policy nor regulatory regime for Foreign Educational Institutions in the country.  The regulation on entry and operation of Foreign Educational Institutions is in the public interest to maintain the standards of higher education within the country as well as to protect the interest of the student’s community.  An ideal regulatory framework could be one in which reputed institutes are able to enter and operate in terms of India’s national policy, while at the same time sub-standard or ‘fly-by-night’ operators are checked and controlled.  The legislative proposal to regulate entry and operation of foreign educational institutions has also been introduced in Parliament.

A LAW TO ESTABILISH A TRIBUNAL FOR FAST –TRACK ADJUDICATION OF DISPUTES CONCERNING STAKEHOLDERS

The existing justice system suffers from delays and prolixity.   Educational disputes need a fast-track and affordable adjudication mechanism.  For this purpose, a legislation to establish Tribunals at the states and at National level, has been introduced in Parliament to perform the role of providing an independent, enforceable, speedy, fast track adjudication of disputes in a quasi-judicial manner in regard to students, teachers and other employees, between institutions and between institutions and the regulators.  This legislation has already been passed by the Lok Sabha and is before the Rajya Sabha for consideration.

A LAW TO PROVIDE FOR ESTABILSHMENT OF UNIVERSITIES FOR INNOVATION

Another facilitating process has been set in motion, which contemplates creating institutions of excellence to attract world class faculty, advanced learning facilities and pure research oriented atmosphere.  .  Despite having one of the largest higher education systems in the world, only a few institutions of learning have been able to make a mark on the global stage.  The contribution of the alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the Indian Institute of Sciences and the Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) have been widely recognized all over the world.  Recognizing this, the government has proposed establishment of Innovation Universities aimed at world class standards.  These Universities would be at the fount of making India and global knowledge hub and set benchmarks for excellence for other Central and State Universities.  The proposal would also facilitate participation of reputed private sector agencies in establishment of these universities in PPP mode.  A legislative proposal in this regard has been already formulated by the Ministry and the proposal in the stage of inter-ministerial consultations.

A LAW TO PROVIDE FOR NATIONAL ACADEMIC DEPOSITORY

The ministry has also formulated a legislative proposal for creating and maintaining a national electronic database of academic records and awards in de-mat form.  What is envisaged is a shift from the current practice, through dematerialisation of certificates, to a technology-based solution that would ensure confidentiality, authenticity and fidelity, enabling online verification and easy retrieval of academic qualifications. Holding of academic qualifications in an electronic depository would provide immense benefit to educational institutions, students, alumni and employers by enabling online access of academic qualifications, eliminating the need for persons to approach educational institutions for obtaining transcripts of such qualifications or for verification as well as reduce the need for institutions to preserve records related to academic performance of students over a long time.  The system could also eliminate fraudulent practices such as forging of certificates and mark sheets through facilitating online verification.

INDIAN INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY (IITs)

The Government has set up eight new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh (Indore) and Himachal Pradesh.  Out of these 8, Classes for B.Tech. couses have been started from 2009-10 in IITs at Mandi (H.P) and Indore (M.P.). classes had already been started from July-August 2008 in 6 new IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Punjab and Gujarat .

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (IIMs)

In view of the felt need for expansion of facilities for high quality management education, during XIth Five Year Plan seven new IIMs have been established in the country.  The IIMs at Rohtak, Ranchi & Raipur have commenced their academic session from 2010-11.  The IIM at Tiruchirappalli will be operationalized in 2010-11 with executive programmes and the IIMs at Udaipur & Kashipur would become functional from 2011-12.

LOW COST ACCESS –CUM-COMPUTING DEVICE UNVEILED

The Union Minister for human Resource Development unveiled a low cost computing-cum-access device in July this year. The price of the device is expected to be around $35 per piece.  The aim is to reach such devices to the students of colleges and Universities and to provide these institutions a host of choices of low cost access devices around Rs. 1500/- ($35) or less in near future.

GATE ONLINE IN TWO SUBJECTS

Indian Institutes of Technology at Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Roorkee and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore successfully conducted online Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) 2010 for two out of 21 papers this year. Examinations in two subjects, namely Textile Engineering and Fiber Science (TF), and Mining Engineering (MN) were conducted using computers by these institutes. About 1700 candidates were registered for these examinations which were conducted simultaneously in eight cities over two shifts.

E-GOVERNANCE MODEL FOR AICTE

The  web portals of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and National Board of Accreditation (NBA) at URL://www.aicte-india.org and URL://www.nba-india.org respectively were launched in order to bring in transparency, accountability, efficiency and swiftness in its decision-making process.  Through this portal, the        processing of applications for approvals has been made on line this year.

INDIA AUSTRALIA EDUCATION COUNCIL TO BE CONSTITUTED

A landmark initiative to constitute the India-Australia Education Council has been agreed on by India and Australia A first of its kind, this Council will bring together government, academia, business and industry of both the countries to further bilateral collaboration in the education sector. Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, and Ms.  Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Australia decided upon this in a meeting held in Melbourne, Australia, in recognition of the fact that education is central to sustained, inclusive and equitable growth.

HRD MINISTRY FINALIZES SCHEME FOR INTEREST SUBSIDY FOR EDUCATION LOANS

Ministry of Human Resource Development has finalized the modalities for implementation of a new Central Scheme to provide full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium on educational loans for students belonging to economically weaker sections (with parental family income from all sources of less than Rs.4.5 lakh annually) from scheduled banks under the Educational Loan Scheme of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) for pursuing courses of studies in professional/technical streams from recognized institutions in India.  The modalities have been finalized in consultation with the Indian Banks’ Association. The Scheme is effective for all IBA approved educational loans sanctioned in form of eligible students’ in respect of approval course of studies from the academic year 2009-10.

YALE UNIVERSITY ENTERS INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH IIT KANPUR AND IIM KHOZIKHODE FOR DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP PROGRAMMES

Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Kozhikode,  Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Kanpur and Yale University, USA have entered into a partnership to advance higher education in India through academic leadership development programmes for higher education leaders in India and through research on Indian higher education..The flagship programme of the partnership will be a new “India – Yale University Leadership Programme,” to be developed by Yale University in consultation with IIM – Kozhikode and IIT – Kanpur, that will expose university and academic leaders in India at the levels of vice-chancellor, director, and deans to the best practices of academic administration and institutional management in the United States.

ATIONAL VOCATIONAL EDUCATION QUALIFICATION FRAME WORK

The HRD Ministry has initiated the process for the preparation of   a National Vocational Education Qualification Framework. The first two  round tables have been organized by the All India Council for Technical Education, (AICTE) for the development of a national vocational education qualification framework, the first one with regard to the automobile sector, and the second one with regard to the  IT, ITES and Telecom Industry. More round tables are proposed to be organized in order to address a gamut of vocations.  Subsequent to the discussions, to develop the course curriculum, core groups have been constituted for the preparation of the curriculum for the automobile, for the telecom and for the IT  sector.. These groups are to submit their recommendations to the HRD Ministry within 3 months.

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