Even though India has made strides in various sectors but education continues to be one sector that needs massive investment and reforms to bring it at par with the status the developed world has achieved.
Education sector has to be independent of governmental control at the policy level as the cultural and religious diversity across India does not allow the government to seek uniformity in the sector.
This being the reason that the Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (RSA), an overarching education body proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) draft — which was supposed to be headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was shelved as it faced stiff opposition from various states.
The RSA was proposed as an apex advisory body for education, which would have replaced the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest decision-making body for all matters related to higher and school education.
The proposal for RSA in the NEP draft says that every state will have its own Rajya Shiksha Ayog (RJSA), which will report to the RSA. It was felt during consultations with state governments that none of the states agreed to the formation of the RJSA, which will make them subservient to the RSA.
The creation of RSA would have meant that states will get no freedom in deciding the curriculum as all such needs would have been addressed by the RSA and because it was meant to be an overarching body, the state’s could have not have any say after a decision would have been taken.
Since education being a concurrent subject, the states are free to take their own decisions and by saying yes to the formation of RSA, the situation would have changed altogether.
Notably, the NEP draft says that the CABE was needed to be replaced because it was unable to keep up with the radical changes in the education sector and it was an adhoc body that was unable to meet regularly.
The RSA was supposed to do the job that CABE could not do. It was proposed that the RSA would have eminent educationists, researchers and leading professionals from the field of arts, science, business, health, agriculture and social work from India and abroad as its members.
The RSA was also supposed to be responsible for developing, articulating, evaluating and revising the vision of education on a continuous and sustained basis, and in close collaboration with the corresponding apex bodies of the states.
However, after the state’s said a big no for the formation of RSA, the government needs to set a reform process rolling in the CABE immediately.
The CABE needs to be transformed into a professional body capable enough and sensitive to the needs of the states so that education sector witness the much needed reform.