Efforts are underway to prepare the draft of a new education policy by December with involvement of people at the district level, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani said today.
“Till now, education policies were prepared by some persons at the national level, but people at ground level were never asked,” Smriti Irani said.
Irani said that on how new education policy should take shape, she was holding meetings with education minister of every state and district magistrates.
The HRD Minister was speaking at a conclave organised by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.
“Till now plans were framed at national or state level. From education point of view if we prepare district-wise plan then the systemic change we want can be achieved,” she said.
She said that there was a need to understand what people at the district level need.
“I am going to request our institutions to revamp their curriculum and include technology learned in foreign countries in Indian institutions,” the Minister said.
She said if students do not have much choice then it was natural they would think to study abroad.
Irani said how education increases employability was a subject of discussion, but it should also be seen that what it means in the life of a man.
“How our education increases employability has been a subject of discussion,” she said when asked about 23 lakh applicants, including PhD holders, applying for 368 posts of peon in Uttar Pradesh.
She said what was the real meaning of education in life was also a matter which should be thought about.
“So, for me while employability is a corner stone, it has been equally important for me as to what type of citizens we prepare,” she said.
On global ranking of Indian institutions, Irani said it needs to be assessed academically with a different perspective.
“When China was not doing good in global rankings, they created their domestic ranking system after which we witnessed that its institutes started figuring in world rankings,” she said.
Irani said, “Today we have to decide that from which point we view our institutions. If we want that they become world class, then do we make efforts to revamp the curriculum, do we make efforts to make our infrastructure and research labs better so that our students do not go abroad.”
She said that the biggest challenge before students going to foreign institutions was that they want to get new knowledge to learn something new from academicians there.
The HRD Minister said if students do not have much choice then it was natural they would think to study abroad.
“Our efforts is that along with revamping our curriculum, we invite foreign academicians at the cost of central government to come here and teach. We have started Global Initiative for Academic Network in which we have asked all the government institutions to provide a list of such academicians,” she said.
To a query regarding pursuing RSS agenda in education sector, Irani said it was obvious that whenever BJP would come to power allegation of saffronisation would be levelled.
“The reality is I meet people from all parties. From my point of view education is sector where there is no ‘rajneeti’, but only ‘rashtraneeti’,” she said.
Irani said that she has requested all the states to study their infrastructure and capacity building.
“Today we have 2.5 crore students in class 11 and 12, therefore next year we will need to expand our infrastructure in universities and colleges to accommodate them,” she said.
The HRD Minister said that “shala darpan” was a unique effort launched in government schools where parents would get information about their ward.
On her love-hate relationship with media, she said that it was not so.
“I know media and I know how it plays. If you play with me then better be ready to get it back. If we ask people they want information from media. You cannot become judge or jury. If you become judge and jury then the opposite side should also get a chance to pursue his case,” she said.