Making English mandatory: Emphasizing the importance of the English, a group of secretaries on education recommended to PM Narendra Modi that the language be made compulsory in all the secondary schools. The group also suggested that there be “at least” one English medium school in all the blocks in the country which are 6,612 in number. In addition to asking for English to be made compulsory, the group also talked of the importance of Science. It asked for a Science education facility to be put in place in a radius of every 5 km. The group includes secretaries of Higher Education and School Education and Literacy as members. The recommendations were made by the group after consultations with state governments reported The Indian Express.
As of now, English is compulsory till only the 8th standard in CBSE affiliated schools and students have to make a choice between English and Hindi after that. The suggestion regarding the language used in schools is in direct contrast with the RSS recommendations last year. Rashtriya Shiksha Sangh, had last year suggested that Hindi must be used as the medium and had also suggested that English should not be made mandatory at any of the level of education. The group also suggested that surveys meant to measure outcomes must be performed annually by “third party”. In one of the biggest structural change, the group suggested that School Education Quality Index (SEQI) be set up to trace state wise performance along with “partial funding to states linked to improvement in their SEQI scores”.
Among the other aspects of education that the panel voiced its opinion on were:
Reintroduction of detention policy: The 12 group of secretaries suggested that “policy of detention in secondary schools” should be reintroduced. It, however said that the power to decide the level at which the detention policy will come must rest with respective states. It also called for skill training and remedial interventions from the sixth standard.
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Basic Aptitude Test for students: The group also asked for basic aptitude test and counseling from class eighth to help people with their career planning. It also said that states with more than 25% of its population must have skill development centres.
Standardisation of national entrance exam: The body recommended that national entrance exams meant for admission in engineering, medical and other educational institutes must be standardised. These exams include JEE, NEET, UGC, CAT, GATE, CMAT.
Autonomy of Institutions: Talking about administration, the body also put forward the suggestion that fifty of best colleges in the country must be made autonomous, giving them control over administration, academic and finance of the institute. Rest of the institutions, they recommended must be reviewed by all the departments.