NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry today constituted a nine-member panel, headed by space scientist Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, to prepare the final draft of the government's National Education Policy (NEP).
The Prakash Javadekar-led ministry has chosen experts and educationists from disparate backgrounds for the panel, which it said will start work with "immediate effect".
Besides Kasturirangan, who headed India's space agency ISRO from 1994 to 2003 and was awarded the government's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan in 2000, the panel includes former IAS officer K J Alphonse.
Alphonse had played a key role in helping Kerala's Kottayam and Ernakulam districts achieve 100 per cent literacy, the ministry said in a statement today.
Ram Shankar Kureel, vice chancellor of the Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences, Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, is another member of the panel. He has published national and international papers on the inclusion of the marginalised in mainstream education and development, the ministry said.
Another member is Dr Manjul Bhargava, a professor of Mathematics in Princeton University, USA. Bhargava was awarded the Fields Medal in mathematics in 2014.
Dr Vasudha Kamat, a former vice chancellor of the SNDT University, Mumbai, is also a part of the panel, as is Dr M K Shridhar, a former Member Secretary of the Karnataka Innovation Council and the Karnataka Knowledge Commission.
Shridhar, who is differently-abled, is a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the ministry said.
Dr T V Kattimani, an expert on language communication and vice chancellor of the Tribal University, Amarkantak, and Dr Mazhar Asif, professor of Persian at the Guwahati University, are also members of the committee.
It was under Asif's research mentorship that the first Persian-Assamese-English dictionary was compiled, the HRD ministry said.
Former Director of Education, Uttar Pradesh, Krishan Mohan Tripathi, is also on the panel.
"The panel has been appointed keeping in mind the expertise that the members bring. Significantly, it also reflects the diversity of the country as the members belong to different sections as well as regions," an official said.
The ministry said the suggestions and inputs given by the T S R Subramanian committee, which had been formed earlier, would be utilised by the Kasturirangan panel.
The Subramanian committee was appointed when Smriti Irani was the HRD minister.
Referring to the work done earlier, the HRD ministry said it had received thousands of suggestions from educationists, teachers, experts, students and other stakeholders from across the country and consultations were held at various levels.
The ministry also said the Rajya Sabha had debated the issues and a special education dialogue was organised in which 48 MPs from all the parties participated.
Many MPs have given their views in writing. On the MyGov platform (a government site), 26,000 people gave their views online.
The existing education policy was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. The government has been working on it to make it "contemporary", the official said.