Free and compulsory education up to class X and a law to check unfair practices in private schools were recommended by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).
A committee would be set up on each of these issues to prepare a preliminary draft within three months, following which a report will be placed before the stakeholders for discussion.The CABE comprises state education ministers, academicians and civil society members.Chairing the CABE meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said the law to check unfair practices resorted by private schools “would be modelled on the lines a similar legislation on prevention of unfair practices in higher education already introduced in Parliament”.
He also sought suggestions and views from the state governments to generate a platform for a consensus on the legislations.
The Prohibition of Unfair Practises in Schools and Intermediate Colleges Bill, 2011 would lay emphasis on self-disclosure norms by schools in matters of admission, tuition fee and teacher salary.
The recommendations of the vice chancellors conference held on 25th and 26th March were also presented before the CABE.
Sibal said to chart a road map for such reforms, which also takes into account the issues related to affiliation, a CABE committee on university reforms would be constituted to submit its report within three months.
The state governments would also send their views and comments to the CABE committee, he said.
While the members agreed to extend free and compulsory education from class VIII to class X, a few, however, favoured a change in the funding norms for implementing RTE.
While Bihar suggested to raise the Centre’s contribution from 65 percent to 90, Chhattisgarh demanded it should be revised in the ratio of 75:25 instead of 65:35.
Uttar Pradesh Education Minister R Tripathi maintained that his “state has yet to get the Centre’s share for implementing RTE”.
The members, however, were unanimous about the legislation to check unfair practices in schools.
Statistics show that close to 60 percent secondary and higher secondary schools out of 13 lakh-odd schools in the country are private run.
The charges against a section of these schools include non-refund of fees, not adhering to syllabus, admission through non-transparent processes, misleading advertisements, engagement of unqualified or ineligible teaching faculty, underpayment to teachers and other employees.
Addressing the meeting, Sports Minister Ajay Maken emphasised the need to integrate physical education and sports into the education system.
The meeting also discussed the issue of introduction of 10 great thinkers of modern India in school syllabi.
On vocational education, Sibal said the qualification framework being developed would be “locality specific”.
The National Vocational Education Qualification Framework aims at providing horizontal and vertical mobility for youth to seamlessly move from general to vocational education.
The CABE meeting also discussed initiatives taken in formulation of a ‘national book promotion policy’ and suggested that meetings of the board be held twice a year, which was accepted by the Centre.
Talking about reforms in the higher education, Sibal said affiliation had “emerged in the period of colonial India for the rulers to control what was being taught. There has to be a change in the philosophy of affiliation to enable the power of independent thought to flower in the collegiate system”.
He asked the state governments that efforts need to be made to reduce the number of colleges affiliated to universities so that the varsities become centres of learning.