NEW DELHI: "Political interference is almost certainly" the most important reason for poor outcomes in education sector, according to a committee set up by the HRD Ministry, with a suggestion that appointment of Vice Chancellors should be "depoliticised".
The five-member committee, headed by former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian, has said in its report that political intervention from all levels is all pervasive in selecting location of institutions, approval of grant-in-aid status, selection of examination centres and in all senior appointments and in many states from VC to college Principals to District Education Officers.
The committee, set up to give suggestions for the New Education Policy (NEP), also said that it is "undeniable" that there is large scale corruption in appointments, transfers, approval to affiliate and grant recognition of institutions, even going to the extent of manipulation of exam results.
It said that during meetings with national educational institutions at Delhi or informal contacts with state officials across India, the single most important reason mentioned by all respondents was "political interference".
The panel observed that when national accrediting agencies were asked to explain why undeserving educational institutions often received rapid accreditation, while 'more qualified' institutions waited for long periods, the answer almost invariably would relate to political interference.
"The committee cannot ignore this repeated assertion brought to its attention in different forms in diverse circumstances – the clear conclusion is that 'political interference' is almost certainly the most important reason for poor outcomes," said the report submitted to the government.
Among the suggestions made by it are that the process of selection and appointment of Vice-Chancellor should be "depoliticised" and done purely on merit.
It has also suggested that independent mechanism for teacher recruitment, creation of an Autonomous Teacher Recruitment Board and revamp of teacher education system.
"A cross-section of stakeholders gave examples of widespread corruption which prevails in the functioning of regulators like AICTE, UGC, MCI and NCTE; the general refrain was that any obstacle can be overcome by contacting the right persons," the panel said.
Another recommendation is that a new transparent system should be established for approval, affiliation and regular evaluation of new institutions, with transparent processes, based on clearly established principles, with full public disclosure.
Apart from Subramanian, the other members of the panel include Shailaja Chandra, former Chief Secretary, NCT of Delhi, Sewaram Sharma, former Home Secretary, NCT of Delhi, Sudhir Mankad, former Chief Secretary, Gujarat and Prof J S Rajput, former Director, NCERT.