Think-Tank Tries to Redefine Education, the Right Way

As Centre readies a new education policy, a BJP-affiliated body wants changes in RTE Act, brought in by UPA government.

NEW DELHI: Despite several policy changes over the years, school education still hasn’t reached to a large number of people in the country. With the Centre preparing a new education policy, a BJP think-tank has sent in several recommendations, including changes in the Right to Education Act, brought in by the UPA government.

The Public Policy Research Centre conducted a study on the education system and in its key suggestions to the HRD ministry, led by Smriti Irani, has argued in favour of re-considering the non-detention policy as en visaged under the RTE Act. It suggested that no-detention policy which has also been opposed by several state governments like Delhi, should be restricted to lower-primary level. It also suggested that pre-schooling (covering three-six years age) be made compulsory.

“Several RTE provisions like the non-detention policy, age-appropriate admission and special training mechanisms, role of teacher and their capacity building need to be reconsidered,” the study added. 

“Non detention policy under RTE has become one of the most controversial clauses, quoting that it deters learning in classrooms and discourages teachers, giving way to producing huge quantity of children with poor knowledge base and skills for the secondary level of education or even for the market as a poor human resource....”

The recommendation submitted also stated: “We hence advocate extending compulsory education in form of pre-schooling within the existing framework of Early Childhood Care and Education by Ministry of Women and Child Development, across all states through Anganwadis, for children at least 3-6years.”

In another recommendation, the think-tank, led by the BJP’s national vice president Vinay Sahashrabuddhe said even a centralised definition for drop-outs be formulated to tackle the out of school children as many are involved in child labour, and some are trafficked.

“A pan-India response mechanism (PIRM) be set up at all levels to provide real time problem solving assistance in a cost effective way. The proposed mechanism shall certainly include the related existing mechanisms at CBSE, NCERT-SCERTs, NCTE-DIETs, MHRD and state education departments, involving teachers’ associations, parents associations,” the study said. The PPRC said that measures should be adopted to overcome the language disadvantage through focused training to teachers.

The study said policy focus needs to shift from providing infrastructure to learning-based infrastructure.

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