The government will soon launch a mobile app and a web portal for IIT aspirants which will have 50 years of entrance exam question papers and audio-videos of lectures of IIT faculties and will be available in 13 languages, said Union HRD minister Smriti Irani today during the national conference on ‘Reforming and Rejuvenating Indian Higher Education’ by Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), in New Delhi.
Smriti Irani was reacting to the increase of coaching centres which are causing students to leave schools for preparation of IIT-JEE. The minister said that she has asked IITs to not frame question papers of JEE beyond the course of Class 12th. Irani also said that government has started roping in foreign faculties to teach in government institutions and till now over 400 foreign faculties have taught in various government educations institutions.
Hitting at some private institutions for not following norms, Irani said, “We know that capitation fee is not allowed. We know that students cannot be harassed in the middle of the academic year to cough up money which is never disclosed.”
Irani also urged private institutions to participate in Unnat Bharat programme under which premier educational institutions such as IIMs & IITs are adopting neighboring villages.
“We would be launching Bharat Vani App on May 25 that would provide the students with higher education study material in 22 different languages. Over the next one year, the all contents will be made available in 100 non-scheduled and tribal languages, for greater reach and accessibility,” said the minister.
She also announced the extension of government MOOC platform, Swayam, which is providing over 500 diploma courses, to the students from 8th standard onwards to help them resume education and asked EPSI to encourage Universities to contribute with at least MOOC course to the platforms.
The minister also unveiled new education portal www.studyinindia.org. The portal will be a single platform to bind all education providers from India, and help seekers avail most authentic and complete information on education.
Smriti Irani also said that there will be lot of changes in the education sector over the next two-three months, hinting at implementation of new education policy. TSR Subramanian, Chairman of Drafting Committee for framing the New Education Policy, MHRD said that after 35 years, the government has taken steps for new education policy, adding, “Indian education system has to be transformed while keeping the good scenes we have.” “We need rejuvenation,” said Subramanian.
Autonomy, government interference and regulatory bodies’ role dominated the panel discussion with panelists seeking more autonomy and less interference in higher education institutions.
“If people with appropriate frame of mind occupy top positions in higher education ecosystem, they will never allow political interference,” said S Sivasubramanian, Advisor-Research & Development, Vels University.
Citing example of success of Chinese Universities, C Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, OP Jindal University, said, “Higher education has become last passion of government control with more political interference.”
He added that every university has a different kind of setup and can’t be regulated by the same set of regulations framed by regulatory bodies like UGC and AICTE. There need to be different regulations for different institutions, he stressed,
While deliberating on autonomy and accountability, EPSI president G Viswanathan added that government should spend 6% of GDP on higher education, underlining that the current figure stands at only 4%.
On being asked whether there is a conflict between autonomy and regulation, V S Rao, Vice Chancellor, BITS Pilani, said, “Regulations are there to control but it should not impediment performance of Universities. There must be a balance between regulation and autonomy.”