NEW DELHI: The HRD Ministry has made major changes in the structure and role of the yet-to-be-established Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog, proposed in the draft National Education Policy. The Aayog, originally proposed to be headed by the PM, will now be led by the HRD minister instead and will be the apex advisory body on education. The agency, however, will have a permanent secretariat and a continuing role unlike the existing Central Advisory Board on Education — an advisory board on education that has representation from states, Centre and other autonomous bodies but usually meets only once a year.
This newspaper had first reported that several states, including BJP-ruled ones, had opposed the Aayog directly under the PM in the CABE meeting last month. “We thought that the PM cannot be made to act like an education minister; that would not be practical and hence that suggestion in the NEP has been suitably modified,” a senior official in the HRD Ministry told this newspaper. “Also the body cannot be above the HRD Ministry.”
Neelam Sood, an educationist, said that a body with a wider scope of a partnership between Centre and states was a good idea. “Striking a balance between centralisation and decentralisation where states get the required funding and technical support from the Centre designed for specific needs will be an ideal situation and a permanent platform to achieve that should be created.”
‘Merit in contention of states’
The ministry found merit in the argument that a body under the PM with regulatory powers will lead to over-centralization of education.