Common test, NCERT books issues keep HRD mandarins busy in 2012

Jan 01 2013, 15:01 IST
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SummaryKapil Sibal termed the single nationwide test for engineering programmes as his "dream".

As it treaded the path of reforms, the HRD Ministry came under attack from IITs for adopting a new single entrance test and also grappled with the cartoon row in NCERT books in 2012, during which it also failed to get key legislations passed in Parliament.

Kapil Sibal, who termed the single nationwide test for engineering programmes as his "dream", did realise it before he made way for M M Pallam Raju as the HRD Minister in October but not before he faced stiff resistance from the IITs who

vetoed his plans.

The premier institutes, however, agreed to adopt it subsequently under a compromise formula though several states are yet to embrace it.

While the ministry was dealing with the issue, some offending cartoons and content in NCERT textbooks kicked off a row during Budget Session of Parliament, with several Mps demanding their removal. Two NCERT textbook advisors resigned while a committee set up to examine the content was accused of not arriving at a consensus among the members on removal of a host of cartoons.

Amid all these, two to three cartoons were removed by NCERT before revised textbooks could be supplied to students.

The Ministry during the year had to also confront with protests from states like Tamil Nadu and others about "objectionable" content in textbooks.

Another highlight of the year gone by was the passage of the Copyright Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012 amid rare show of unanimity in both the houses of Parliament. This will give a fresh lease if life to song writers, artistes and performers,

deprived of their dues so far, who can now claim royalty for their creations.

Sibal could achieve little success in getting key legislations stuck in Parliament passed. His successor Raju also had little luck in passing these legislations, one of

which is National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010. The passage of the Bill would have made accreditation mandatory for every institutions.

During 2012, UGC issued guidelines which mandates that foreign universities entering into agreement with their Indian counterparts for offering twinning programmes will have to be among the global top 500. The Indian varsities on the other hand, should have received the highest accreditation grade.

During the year, outlay for the education sector for the 12th Plan Period was finalised at 4,53,728 crore, a jump of around 155 per cent, with focus on setting up of new

institutes and universities and expanding existing one.

UGC proposed

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