Calendar year 2010 is proving to be a revolutionary year for the Education industry. The sector has witnessed a slew of initiatives under the leadership of HRD minister Kapil Sibal to say the least.
The ministry has clearly conveyed its high ambitions for the industry to be taken at global levels to make it competitive and performance-oriented. The new initiatives towards reforming education, by the relevant authorities, have not remained limited only to a specific class of students but broad based in nature.
At first, the HRD ministry has allowed the entry of the Foreign Universities to set-up campuses on Indian shores to boost higher education for top B-school students. While on the other hand, a revolutionary change in taking the educational system of CBSE in conformation to the international standard aptly serves the interest of primary education.
1) Education Bill Regulating Entry of Foreign Universities.
2) Introduction of International syllabus in CBSE.
3) No Unit tests for Classes I to VIII in Maharashtra.
Education Bill Regulating Entry of Foreign Universities
To start with, it was about clearing the Foreign Education (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill which aims to allow entry of foreign universities to set up their campuses on Indian shores. However, the bill needs to be ratified by the Parliament to be turned into a law.
This step by the government would seek to expand options for the students seeking higher education in India’s top B-school destinations which until now remained limited to India’s premier institutes like IIT and IIM. This reform measure can go a long way in boosting the structure of higher education in India apart from making it competitive and more cost-effective.
Introduction of International Syllabus in CBSE
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools in India as well as CBSE-affiliated schools abroad will be free to introduce the new syllabus conforming to broad standards of International Baccalaureate (IB), as per the announcement made by HRD ministry.
However, there may not be any fundamental change in the practically viable content-oriented subjects like mathematics and science. The emphasis on other subjects could be subjective in nature depending on the history and culture of the country from where education is obtained.
This positive step will ensure that the educational system attains standardization as per international norms and competitively placed as against other foreign schools and institutions. The introduction of international syllabus will ensure a mixed and hybrid method of imparting skills and training through globalization of local courses.
The students could now be privileged to courses conforming to international standards of education further enabling them an easier access to foreign universities going forward. The new system would have to inculcate changes in terms of various grading standards and evaluations processes for the students in line with the norms and directives of IB.
No Unit tests for Classes I to VIII in Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra State government has decided to allow schools to do away with the unit tests for classes I to VIII. This step is expected to give encouragement to enhance creative skills and performance-oriented learning programs for the students in the primary schools and thus freeing them from the stress of back to back exams.
Under current system, four unit tests are held in an academic year. The students would feel less stressful as the hassles of preparing and appearing for frequent tests will no longer exist. This will allow students to spend more time in other leisure activities including outdoor games and other activities.
The government has notified the schools to come up with new assessment system to bring out more creative and discover-oriented activities from the students.
Some of such measures could be implementation of group discussions, craft works, start-up management projects, among various other activities which are more practical in nature rather than imparting limited theoretical knowledge.
With this, the UPA government seems strongly resolved to uplift the quality of education in a highly unorganized Indian education industry, slowly but steadily. The Educational reform could go a long way in ensuring quality and competitively priced education for the ever-expanding population of India.
Further, in conformation of the standard of Indian education with the international quality, would act as a positive approach in lieu of its broad-based content and highly prospective in nature to impart skilled training and knowledge.
Concerns with Fast-paced Reforms
However, it needs to be determined whether the Indian education industry can move forward swiftly with the fast paced changes while adopting educational reforms.
It needs to be determined whether the Indian faculty in these educational institutions remains competitive enough to the likely fear of being rendered obsolete as compared to the high global standards of teaching and training set by foreign institutions.
While clearing the bills to education reforms, the government also needs to ensure that the domestic faculty remains competitive and updated to the courses and content imparted in foreign institutions and universities.
At the same time, the government needs to allocate a higher spending agenda towards major universities in order to ensure competitiveness and their ability to keep pace with top foreign universities. The HRD ministry also needs to ensure swift implementation of various education agendas to avoid confusion and hassles going forward.
Mr. Sibal… What more to come?
Do you think India can walk the Talk on its Education Bill?