The National Education Policy’s focus would be on teaching and learning and not just on degrees, said Higher Education secretary Amit Khare in a conversation with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, and author and senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai on TNIE's Expressions, a series of live web casts with people who matter. Calling it an egalitarian policy, he said it would help reduce elitism in education. "It is exactly the other way round. By having more control of us, we are supporting more elitism. By having a more decentralised and autonomous approach, it will lead to 'Bharat' rather than having a focus on India," Khare said on a query whether the policy will encourage more of India and less of ‘Bharat’. Asked what kind of new Indian is there likely to emerge, following this policy, Khare said one who is ‘grounded yet with global outlook’. The bigger success of the policy would be to change the mindset of people and encourage students to be job creators and not job seekers alone, said Khare. The flexibility of the policy may work to the potential of people choosing two professions. On the topic of dissent and dissatisfication at educational institutions, Khare said, "Dissatisfaction is often because of the straightjacket system. The new system will encourage students to learn as per their desire... dissent is not to be taken as something against the system. Different stakeholders have different systems.The beauty is to harmonise it." Regarding the implementation challenges, Khare said the implementation would be gradual so that students can adapt to change. "We do not want to disrupt the educational system. We are taking the implementation challenge to further finetune the policies," he said. "We have made a certain plan. The policy has various parts. The recommendations are further broken down into sub-recommendation. Educational sector is not linear. There is tremendous diversity in terms of institutions. The roadmap is clear," he added. Implementation is easier with the proper framing of the national curriculum. "The first step would be to make the framework. Experts will make the framework. Once the framework is ready, the next step is to introduce the strategies," he added. "We want the best practices but without losing sight of the reality..Ideally all colleges should be autonomous...some colleges are small. So the policy has taken a mid-path. While some are autonomous, others have to work towards their autonomy," he said. "There is also a very important recommendation have a single regulator instead of having multiple regulators..there is a single regulator. That Bill is being drafted. By end of September, we will put it in the public domain for the stakeholders to give their comment. Then we can have the Higher Education Commission...multiple educators are reduced. Higher Education Commission is based on self-disclosures and not on inspection of the project," he added. There would be punishment in case of violations, said Khare. Institutions should worry more about the standard of education and less about inspection, he asserted.
For a national opposition, there are a lot of roles to be played by strong regional leaders and unless people stand up to pressure tactics of the ruling party, the country will not have a national opposition, says eminent lawyer and Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi thinks the opposition needs to have credibility to take on the BJP. Their remarks came during a conversation on ‘Paralysis of National Opposition’ with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, on TNIE’s Expressions, a series of live webcasts with people who matter. Q: Do you see a national opposition led by a national party emerging in future. AMS: It’s a mistake to think that unless Congress matches the BJP’s number, you will not have the national opposition. Two leaders of the largest state, Uttar Pradesh, are in silence for last over one year. Unless people stand up to such pressure tactics of the ruling parties, you will not have a national opposition and you cannot expect the Congress to go from 44 to 272. For a national composite collective opposition, there are a lot of roles to be played by a lot of people who fit in the puzzle and who are not playing that role. DT: It is not always numbers; it’s quality also. I don’t think we should look for leaders, but what is needed is credibility. We need to have people with credibility and what perhaps is lacking in the opposition is credibility and that comes with a lot of work. Today, youth is looking for definite answers. Nothing remains stagnant and there is no need to say democracy has gone to dogs...things will happen and leadership will come. We should not look for shortcuts and if the BJP is forming government in states at any cost, believe me if there is no value, then it will not last long. Q: Do you think Rahul Gandhi has the credibility to lead the united opposition? AMS: We (Congress) have the uppermost credibility at the national level. Rahul Gandhi was very active when we won several states and he was very much in the saddle. He fought hard when he was the party president. The only mistake I would say is when Rahul put his foot down (in resigning as party chief) and now he should immediately take charge. DT: Rahul Gandhi has to change the style…Because you have to be at it 24x7 and in your house, there has to be a mela (congregation of party workers). There are regional leaders who are very powerful and they can lead the opposition.