State boards may lose autonomy under new National Education Policy

National Education Policy, NEP, state education boards, Central Board of Secondary Education, K Kasturirangan, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Smriti Irani
The draft, given a final shape by the HRD Ministry, will now be placed before the Union cabinet for approval | PTI File

The government’s draft National Education Policy (NEP) has proposed a central regulator for all school boards, meaning the state education boards will be regulated by a national body headed by the Union human resources development minister.

So far, the Centre has had no supervision over any board except the Central Board of Secondary Education as state boards are autonomous and regulated by state governments.

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“A regulatory body will be formed at the national level, under the minister of education, for all recognised school boards of India, for regulating assessment and evaluation norms and standards, and for ensuring that the assessment patterns of the different boards meet the skill requirements of the 21st century and are in consonance with the stated objectives of this policy,” according to the final draft of the NEP.

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The draft, given a final shape by the HRD Ministry, will now be placed before the Union cabinet for approval. But, according to ministry officials, there could be “minor last-minute edits”. As per the final draft, the board exams will also be made “easier”.

“The board exams will be made easier in the sense that they will test primarily core capacities rather than months of coaching and memorisation and any student who has been going to and making a basic effort in a school class will be able to pass the corresponding subject without much additional effort,” it said.

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A panel led by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan had submitted the draft of the new NEP to Union human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank when he took charge.

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The draft was then put in public domain to seek feedback from various stakeholders and over two lakh suggestions were received by the HRD ministry about the same.

The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992. A new education policy was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto ahead of the 2014 general election. The drafting experts also took into account the report of a panel headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian and formed by the HRD Ministry when it was being headed by Union minister Smriti Irani.

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