Ministry of Human Resource Development07-June, 2011 14:16 IST
Shri Kapil Sibal Addresses 58th Meeting of CABE; Proposes Extension of RTE up to Secondary Level Moots Bill to Control Malpractices in School Education
The world of the 21st century will be driven by the power of ideas. Knowledge capital generation will lead to wealth creation and removal of poverty. The youth of the country would have to be at the forefront for leading the nation to social and economic progress. This can be done by empowering the youth and children through education to harness the demographic dividend. This was stated by Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development in his address at the inaugural session of the 58th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE).

In his opening remarks, Shri Sibal put forth the main challenges facing the nation, before the State Education Ministers and eminent members from academia and civil society. He stated that delivering the right to elementary education enshrined in the Constitution has been taken up in right earnest by the Centre and the States. He placed the suggestion that the Right to Education needs to be extended up to the secondary level (class 10) to provide avenues for children emerging from elementary education, as a natural corollary. In other words, recognizing the right of a child to 10 years of free and compulsory education needs to be carried forward by the Central and State Governments in the decade ahead. In this context, he stressed the need to ensure quality in educational delivery towards bringing down drop-out rates and providing value to the children through the educational process.

Shri Sibal stated that one of the critical challenges before the nation is to develop, recognize and enhance skills in youth to be productive members of society and the economy. To integrate vocational education and skill development, it was essential to develop a set of nationally recognized qualifications tailoring the qualifications to the requirements of industry. The National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) proposed in the agenda aims to embed vocational education in the educational system providing for horizontal and vertical mobility for youth to seamlessly move from general to vocational education. The Minister underlined the integral role of State Governments in preparing this Framework, as the levels of diversity in skill development in the states will best be addressed by the State Governments. He also said thus an element of diversity must be built into the education system to enable mobility; and the necessary unity that is also required will be provided by the standards set by a common NVEQF.

Another pressing need of the day was to promote transparency and accountability of the educational system towards its primary stakeholders i.e. children and their parents. The Minister informed the invitees that the Centre is proposing a legislation to prevent and prohibit adoption of malpractices in school education (essentially to prevent the rule of money power in this sector) for which he sought suggestions and views from the State Governments to generate a platform for consensus. He said that this legislation could be modeled on the lines a similar legislation on prevention of unfair practices in Higher Education already introduced in the Parliament and on which the recommendations of the Standing Committee of Parliament have been received.

The Minister then moving on to Higher Education sector, stated that an important item on the agenda is consideration of the recommendations of the recently held conference of Vice Chancellors of Central and State Universities in the public sector, especially with regard to reforms in the affiliation system in universities. 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 requested the State Governments that efforts need to be made to reduce the number of colleges affiliated to universities so that universities could become centres of learning.

Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Ajay Maken, mentioned the need to integrate physical education and sports into the education system. In this regard, he recounted the measures provided under RTE and the steps taken by CBSE in its affiliated schools and exhorted States to adopt similar measures in schools affiliated to State Boards.

Dr. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shri Narendra Jadhav, Member (Education), Planning Commission, Smt. Vibha Puri Das, Secretary, Higher Education, Smt. Anshu Vaish, Secretary, School Education and Literacy besides Ministers of various state Governments, members of CABE from academia and civil society and other senior officials attended the meeting.

MV/SS/Hb
(Release ID :72540)