Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
Planning has traditionally focused on the need to provide special support to historically disadvantaged groups. The Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), have a special status under the Constitution. Other disadvantaged groups needing special support are Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Minorities and also other marginalised and vulnerable groups which suffer from handicaps such as Persons with Disabilities, senior citizens, street children, beggars and victims of substance abuse.
Across social groups, the incidence of poverty has been most pronounced among the SCs and STs. Even though the incidence of poverty among these groups has declined over the years, the headcount ratio (HCR) for SCs and STs remains higher than the national average. However, it is encouraging to note from recent poverty estimates that poverty has declined at an accelerated rate between Social Inclusion 2004–05 and 2009–10 for SCs and STs.
The annual rate of decline of HCR for SCs and STs in the period between 2004–05 and 2009–10 has been higher than the overall annual rate of decline of HCR. For SCs, the annual rate of decline accelerated sharply from 0.80 percentage points per annum in the period between 1993–94 and 2004–05 to 2.25 percentage points per annum in the period between 2004–05 and 2009– 10.
Over the years several steps have been taken to bridge the gap between these marginalised groups and the rest of the population. But gaps still persist and further efforts are needed. The social justice objectives of the Twelfth Plan can be achieved with full participation in the benefits of development on the part of all these groups.
This calls for an inclusive growth process which provides opportunities for all to participate in the growth process combined with schemes that would either deliver benefits directly or more importantly help these groups to benefit from the opportunities thrown up by the general development process.
Scheduled caste Development
Expansion in education in general was a major thrust of the Eleventh Plan and this was accompanied by several schemes aimed specifically at educational development among SCs especially women and girl children.
Post Matric Scholarship
This is the single largest intervention by the Government of India for educational empowerment of SCs. It provides scholarships to about 48 lakh SC students for pursuing higher education in various courses beyond matriculation. Under the scheme, 100 per cent Central assistance is provided to States/ UTs over and above their committed liability
Pre-Matric Scholarship to Children of those engaged in Unclean Occupations
This scheme, being implemented since 1977–78, provides financial assistance to children of manual scavengers, tanners, flayers and sweepers who have traditional link with scavenging, to enable them to pursue pre-matric education. The scheme was revised in 2008 changing the Central share from 50 per cent to 100 per cent over and above the committed liability and increase in the rate of scholarships.
Scholarship @ of `110 per month is provided under the scheme to children studying in classes I to X. In addition, ad-hoc grant of `750 per annum is also provided to these children. However, children studying in classes III to X and staying in hostels are provided scholarship @ of `700 per month and also ad-hoc grant of `1000 per annum. About 7 lakh children benefit under the scheme annually.
Central Sector Scheme of Free Coaching
The scheme, being implemented since Sixth Five Year Plan, provides coaching to students belonging to Scheduled Castes and those coming from socially and economically disadvantaged sections to sit for competitive examinations. The examinations cover Group A and Group B categories in the Central/State Governments, Officers grade examinations for PSUs, Banks, and so on and soft skill development programmes for employment in private sector covering areas like call centres, BPO retail management, information technology, and so on.
The income ceiling under the Scheme is `2.00 lakh per annum. The scheme was revised in April 2007. The outlay for the Scheme in Eleventh Plan was `43.00 crore and the likely expenditure is of the order of `27.09 crore benefitting around 19500 individuals.
Economic empowerment of SCs is an important mechanism for achieving inclusion and education is obviously a key element of economic empowerment, but in addition, this objective is achieved through various programmes for economic support for SCs with a focused attention on women, manual scavengers and most backward communities. Review of the implementation of major schemes for economic development of SCs is presented below:
National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC)
NSFDC was set up in 1989. It provides financial and other support to beneficiaries for taking up various income generating activities. The Corporation has introduced an Education Loan Scheme since December, 2009. The authorised share capital of NSFDC is `1000 crore and cumulative share capital is `676.80 crore. As on 31.3.2012, the Corporation has disbursed `2302.91 crore benefitting 7.95 lakh SCs.
State Scheduled Castes Development Corporations
The Scheme of State Scheduled Castes Development Corporation (SCDC) was launched in 1979 with an objective of participating in the equity share of the Scheduled Castes Development Corporation (SCDC) in the ratio of 49:51 (49 per cent by MSJE and 51 per cent by the respective State Governments). The main function of SCDC include identification of eligible SC families and motivating them to undertake economic development scheme, sponsoring the schemes to financial institutions for credit support, providing financial assistance in the form of margin money at low interest rates and subsidy in order to reduce repayment liability and providing necessary tie up with other poverty alleviation programmes.
Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY)
This Centrally Sponsored Scheme was launched in March 2010 as a pilot scheme for integrated development of 1000 SC majority villages. The scheme is presently being implemented in five States viz. Assam (100 villages), Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu (225 villages each).
The objective of the Scheme is to ensure integrated development of the selected 1000 villages with more than 50 per cent SC population into ‘model villages’. Integrated development of selected villages is to be achieved primarily through implementation of existing schemes of the Central and State Governments. Each village covered was provided with `10 lakh as the Central assistance which was raised to `20 lakh in 2011–12.
Education will continue to be the most important instrument to uplift the status of the SCs as it will help maximise the participation of SC students in new economic opportunities. Access to and participation of SC students should be enhanced to ensure that they have access to quality education.
Special efforts need to be made to promote educational development by providing needed support in the form of scholarships for different levels of education; increasing the hostel facilities for boys and girl students; upgradation of Anganwadis by including high-quality pre-school institutions with qualified teachers; setting up a network of residential schools of high quality throughout the country so that all SC girls and boys are covered by them and receive quality education up to Class XII; ensuring that SCs are able to secure full quota of reservation and also enter the merit quota in higher education; and revising the rates of scholarships every two years, based on increase in cost of living index or Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Scheduled Tribe Development:
Because of the remoteness of location of most of the ST population, the extent to which they can benefit from general development programmes is more limited and the need for special programmes is greater than for SCs. The need for special efforts to ensure an adequate flow of benefits to the Scheduled Tribes has been recognised in all Plans beginning with the First Plan. Over time this strategy has evolved to a multi pronged strategy culminating in the objective enunciated in the Eleventh Plan that the benefits of inclusive growth must extend fully to the STs.
The Human Development Report 2011 candidly admitted that though the consumption expenditure of Scheduled Tribes has been rising overtime, the rate of increase was lower that the all India average. Further, while there has been a divergence in Monthly Per Capita Consumption Expenditure (MPCE) from the national average for STs and Muslims during 1999– 2000 and 2007–08, they are also diverging from the national average in terms of female malnutrition during 1998 from the national average in terms of female malnutrition during 1998–99 and 2005–06.
Only one-third STs and around half of SCs reside in pucca houses compared to 66 per cent for all India. Over time, ST households, due to a slower pace in improvement have experienced a growing divergence from the national average of households residing in pucca houses.
Poor implementation of existing schemes in the tribal regions has meant that not only poverty continues at an exceptionally high levels in these regions, but the decline in poverty has been much slower here than in the entire country.
Education continued to receive high priority in the Eleventh Plan to facilitate educational development among STs by providing educational facilities, incentives and support especially focusing the ST girls.
Post Matric Scholarship
The Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for ST Children is a centrally sponsored scheme providing financial assistance to the Scheduled Tribe students pursuing higher education beyond matriculation levels. The scholarships are awarded through the Government of the State/Union Territory where he/ she is domiciled and 100 per cent Central assistance is provided to States/UTs over and above their committed liability. For North-East States committed liability is not applicable.
The Scheme was revised in December, 2010. The income ceiling of parents for their children availing the scholarship has been raised from `1.00 lakh per annum to `2.00 Lakh. The Commercial Pilot License Course (CPL) is also included in the scheme and 10 Scholarships are to be given to the eligible ST students per year.
Hostels for ST Girls/Boys
The objective of the scheme is to facilitate ST students to continue their studies at distant places by extending hostel facilities to those who were otherwise unable to continue their studies due to remote location of their villages. The Eleventh Plan allocation for the hostels scheme was `272.96 crore. The scheme was revised on 1 April 2005 to provide 100 per cent funding for construction of hostels for both boys and girls in left wing extremism affected areas.
Evaluation studies have pointed out that infrastructure facilities in most of the hostels are poor; maintenance of the buildings is also not up to the mark; and construction of hostel buildings is often hampered due to non-receipt of proper/complete proposals of the States.
The scheme of Ashram Schools in Tribal Sub Plan areas spread over in 22 States and 2 Union Territories has been operational since 1990–91 and was revised in 2008–09. The objective is to promote and extend educational facilities to Scheduled Tribe students including PVTGs in tune with their social and cultural milieu. Ashram Schools provide education with residential facilities in an environment conducive to learning. The State Governments are eligible for 100 per cent Central Share for construction of Girls’ Ashram Schools and also for construction of Boys’ Ashram Schools in left wing extremism affected areas. For the other Boys’ Ashram Schools, the funding to State Government is on 50:50 basis.
In case of UTs, the Central Government bears the entire cost of construction of both Boys’ and Girls’ Ashram Schools. Ashram Schools are regular schools having the same curriculum as prescribed by the State Board of Secondary Education. The expenditure incurred on construction of hostels was `231.00 crore exceeding the Eleventh Plan outlay of `147.60 crore. The physical achievement in terms of number of seats in the Ashram School indicates nearly 5 fold increase (49334 seats) over the Eleventh Plan Target of 10000 seats only.
Strengthening Education among ST Girls
The Scheme of Educational Complexes in the Low Literacy Pockets was revised in 2008–09 and renamed as Strengthening Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts. The revised scheme is being implemented in 54 identified low literacy districts where the ST population is 25 per cent or more and ST female literacy rate is below 35 per cent. The revised scheme envisages convergence with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) schemes of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). It meets the requirement of primary-level students as well as middle/secondary-level students and provides residential facilities to ST girl students facilitating their retention in schools.
Besides formal education, the scheme also takes care of skill upgradation of ST girls in various vocations. Establishment of the District Education Support Agency (DESA) is also taken up in each low literacy district, which is required to make efforts to ensure 100 per cent enrolment and also play the role of a monitor and facilitator and support linkages with various institutions.
Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowships
The scheme of Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowships (RGNF) was launched in 2005–06 as a special incentive to extend scholarships to ST students to pursue higher studies and research degrees such as M.Phil and Ph.D. The scheme is implemented through UGC and the benefits are comparable to JRF and SRF of UGC. The scheme was revised in 2010–11 and number of fellowships has been increased from 1333 to 2000 to benefit more ST students.
Social Justice and Protection
Owing to their isolated existence, the tribals are not equipped to deal with the ever changing and complex socio-economic developments engulfing them. They are also susceptible to exploitation, atrocities and crimes, alienation from their land, denial of their forest rights and overall exclusion either directly or indirectly from their rightful entitlements. The PVTGs are the worst affected lot among the tribals.
The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, (PCR Act) and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, (POA Act) are two important legal instruments to prevent all types of social discriminations like untouchability, exploitation and atrocities. The National Crime Records Bureau Report 2007 states that highly endemic crimes/atrocities are being reported in the states like Madhya Pradesh (27.01 per cent), Rajasthan (20.01 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (13.06 per cent), Chhattisgarh (11.01 per cent), Orissa (7.01 per cent) and Jharkhand (4.08 per cent).
Forest Rights Act
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, popularly known as the Forests Rights Act (FRA), was enacted in 2007 through the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) to correct the ‘historic injustice done to forest-dwelling communities’. These communities were cultivating/occupying forest land and using forest produce since ages but had no tenurial security, as their rights of occupation and usage were not recorded during the settlement process.
The Act recognises and vests individual forest dwellers with forest rights to live in and cultivate forest land that was occupied before 13 Dec 2005 and grants community forest rights to manage, protect, regenerate the forest and to own and dispose minor forest products from forests where they had traditional access.
The progress of implementation of the Community Forest Rights (CFR) under FRA is abysmally low. In all states, the CFR process has not even got off the ground, due to lack of awareness, amongst communities, civil society organisations, or relevant officials. The main reason is that State Governments have not adequately publicisised the CFR provisions or even internalised their importance themselves. Most communities are not even aware of the groundbreaking CFR provisions in the FRA.
Today, project affected people are no longer in a mood to suffer passively. Consequently, there has been growing protest and militancy leading to tensions, conflict and violence. Unsatisfactory arrangements for their rehabilitation and resettlement creates opposition to acquisition of land and ultimately the costs involved in delayed acquisition of land is much more than the cost that would be incurred in case of a satisfactory compensation and rehabilitation.
A well intended, liberal and comprehensive resettlement and rehabilitation policy is therefore required not only to protect the interests of the displaced or adversely affected people but also in the public interest to ensure quick acquisition and faster access to such acquired land.
Condition of Tribal Women
Tribal women are among the most vulnerable people in India. They are faced with a double discrimination of being tribal and being women within the tribal households. In LWE areas women are battered and raped by both the government and the rebels and there is no system of security or redressal for the same. As tribal women move out of their households to find work as domestic workers, they are exploited in their work-space too.
The figures for literacy among tribal women are extremely low. The levels of awareness about government services, health issues like AIDS, avenues for employment and so on are also extremely low among tribal women and as a result of this, they neither are able to access the services available nor are they able to explore their potentials to the fullest.
Basic amenities are completely absent from tribal settlements. Absence of electricity and basic sanitation facilities impacts the women the most. Only 15.2 per cent of ST households have drinking water which further spells out the burden on the women.
A number of development projects viz. industrial, power or irrigation facilities are setup in the tribal areas. Though these projects offer tremendous opportunities for the economic advancement for the tribal people living in these areas, very little of the benefits actually accrue to tribals due to lack of adequate and eligible candidates for the jobs created Tribal youth must be equipped with necessary education and skill abilities to take advantage of job opportunities in their areas and elsewhere. Otherwise, the opportunities will go in favour of outsiders, leaving a feeling of deprivation and discontent among the tribal youth.
Although school coverage has increased, STs continue to lag far behind the rest of the population. A special problem is that the STs use a language which is typically different from that of the State and this hampers their ability to do well in the educational system. To deal with the low levels of literacy among tribals and to bridge the gap between dropout rates between tribals and non-tribals, there is a need to focus on elementary education.
Therefore, there is a need to start a scheme of Pre-Matric Scholarship for all ST children across the country. The objectives of the proposed scheme are to support parents of ST children for education of their wards studying in classes’ I–X so that the incidence of drop-out, especially in transition from the elementary to the secondary stage, is minimised.
The scheme of Vocational Training Centres in Tribal Areas is to upgrade the skills of the tribal youth in various traditional/modern vocations depending upon their educational qualification, present economic trends and the market potential, which would enable them to gain suitable employment or enable them to become self-employed. The scheme is exclusively for benefit of the Scheduled Tribes as well as PVTGs. Vocational training, including women’s training, should be an important complementary part of the elementary and secondary stages.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Post Matric Scholarship (PMS) to ST Students is the single intervention by the Government of India for educational empowerment of STs—involving 100 per cent central assistance to States over and above their earlier committed liability are awarded to all eligible ST students to pursue studies beyond matriculation and in all courses. The recommendations for the scheme’s continuance in the Twelfth Five Year Plan include:
Entrepreneurship among tribal youngsters should be developed. One of the reasons as to why tribal communities are not economically advanced in spite of their land holdings is that they have no skill in business. Efforts need to be made to encourage tribal entrepreneurship in small and large-scale businesses. Funds should be made available for them to set up enterprises in rural and urban areas. Export of tribal handicrafts should be encouraged by the government which will give more jobs to people thereby improving their economic condition.
Land is the primary livelihood asset of tribals, but over decades it has been going out of their possession because of their ignorance of laws and because of deceit, coercion and other methods followed by mis-appropriators of tribal land, all in violation of laws, often in collusion with elements in the official machinery and elements in the political leadership of State Governments.
The nodal Ministry needs to take necessary steps to ensure proper implementation of land alienation laws. Uncultivable land of tribals should be made cultivable under the affirmative action of MGNREGA. Irrigation is a critical input for higher productivity and higher production. Small and not-so-small irrigation projects (avoiding large projects) are required in tribal areas.
Geographical Exclusion and Human Resource Management:
Tribal Areas suffer from geographical exclusion which impacts upon the availability of physical and social infrastructure and quality of services rendered to the people. Social facilities do not function because service providers are unwilling to work in the area. Measures taken from time to time to incentivise these services have failed to change the situation.
The main reason for persistence of this problem is centralised recruitment to various posts and eligibility conditions for competing for the posts which enable non-tribals from urban/developed areas to compete and get recruited. However, as they have no inclination to work in remote tribal areas and a centralised cadre management of these service providers. The solution lies in identifying suitable individuals from tribal areas where services are deficient and sponsor them for courses in specialities required and recruiting them on successful completion of these courses.
Also, a change in the recruitment rules and eligibility criteria for this purpose is required so that local persons can acquire necessary qualifications and can get recruited.
Other backward Classes
Other backward Classes (OBCs) comprise the castes and communities which are found common in the lists of the Mandal Commission Report and the Lists of the individual State Governments.
The NSSO survey conducted during 2004–05 (61st Round), estimated that the OBC population constituted 41 per cent of the total population.
The Constitution does not make any specific provisions for OBCs, but Article 15 of the Constitution empowers the States to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Article 16(4) also empowers the State to make provisions for reservations in appointments in favour of any backward class of citizens which in the opinion of the States is not adequately representative in the services under the State.
The Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution (Article 46) also state that ‘The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.’ It also empowers the State to appoint a Commission to investigate into the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes (Article 340).
The National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) was set up in the year 1992. The Corporation provides additional channel of finance to Backward Classes for economically and financially viable schemes and projects for upgrading the technological and entrepreneurial skills of individuals or groups belonging to Backward Classes. NBCFDC assists a wide range of income generating activities, which include agricultural and allied activities, artisan and traditional occupations, technical trades, small scale and tiny industry, transport services and so on.
Entrepreneurs with annual income less than double the poverty line are provided concessional finance. The major focus of the NBCFDC would be, inter alia, to address the skill requirement needs of youths belonging to the OBCs. Accordingly, a window, in the form of a new scheme, will be opened up to provide funds to the Corporation by the Ministry for this new venture.
For ensuring educational development amongst OBCs, schemes for providing scholarships for pursuing Pre-Matric, Post-Matric and other higher education, supported with hostel facilities will be taken up on priority basis. Appropriate revision of the Pre-Matric Scholarship Scheme in respect of the sharing pattern of assistance (being raised from 50 per cent to 100 per cent), rate of scholarships and parent/guardian income limit for eligibility (from `44500 p.a. to `1 lakh p.a.) will be given priority in the Twelfth Five Year Plan. Hostel facilities for boys and girls which are at present very limited and inadequate would be increased substantially.
National Overseas Scholarship Scheme for OBCs could also be formulated similar to those for SCs and STs so that OBC students can also go abroad for educational and professional courses which are generally not available in the country.
To meet the marketing needs and to facilitate providing a marketing platform for artisans and handicraft persons belonging to OBCs, a Marketing Federation on the lines of TRIFED may be set up. The main activities of the Federation would include cluster development of the artisans engaged particularly in arts and craft, training for upgradation of their skills, exhibition of their products to showcase their work both in India and abroad, opening of marketing outlets to appreciate, reward and popularise successful models which can be replicated by others.
Empowering of minorities
The Indian Constitution is committed to the ideas of equality and protection and assurance of rights of minorities, which cover five religious communities, viz., Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis). These communities accounted for 18.4 per cent of the population in 2001. The largest proportion was Muslims (13.4 per cent), followed by Christians (2.3 per cent), Sikh (1.9 per cent), Buddhists (0.8 per cent) and Zoroastrians (0.0069 per cent).
Depending on their distribution across States, these communities may actually be a ‘majority’ in some States, for example Muslims are in majority in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as are Christians in Nagaland (90 per cent), Mizoram (87 per cent) and Meghalaya (70.03 per cent) and Sikhs in Punjab (60 per cent).
While India has experienced accelerated growth and development in recent years, not all religious communities and social groups (henceforth socio-religious communities—SRCs) have shared equally the benefits of the growth process. Among these, the Muslims, the largest minority in the country, are seriously lagging behind on all human development indices. There is also widespread disparity within different SRCs, supporting the view that each SRC is a differentiated category with multiple identities and different socio-political and economic aspirations
The high rate of admission at primary levels shows the intense desire of the minorities to seek modern education. Lower percentages at other levels show that the community starts lagging behind from the secondary level onwards. Scholarships should thus target this band and be top-heavy, while continuing to support the primary levels.
Neighbourhood schools and schools up to middle level need to be provided in minority concentrated blocks, large villages and urban minority concentrated settlements. In rural areas, schools for girls up to senior secondary level should be made mandatory to ensure that girls continue their education
As per the National Family Health Survey–3 (2005–2006), the Infant Mortality Rate by community is as follows: Buddhists/Neo-Buddhists (53), Muslims (52), Sikhs (46) and Christians (42). All the figures are better than the national average of 57. Christians and Sikhs have relatively low mortality rates at all ages under five years. With respect to Perinatal Mortality, the figures are 47 for Muslims followed by 40 for Christians and 31 for Sikhs. The figure is 49 for all-India.
With respect to pregnant and lactating women, the NFHS-3 report states that Muslim women are among the least likely to purchase iron and folic acid tablets. Births in a health facility are most likely among, Buddhist/Neo-Buddhist mothers (59 per cent) and Sikh mothers (58 per cent). Births to Muslim mothers (33 per cent) are much less likely to take place in a health facility.
Challenges for the Empowerment of Minorities
As stated earlier the eleventh Plan was the first plan to introduce a number of schemes aimed at improving the conditions of the minorities. In spite of considerable efforts made towards raising the socio-economic status of Minorities, many challenges remain which need to be addressed during the Twelfth Plan so that the lot of minorities can be improved in a time bound and effective manner
A programme is as good or as bad as its implementation and the quality of implementation is largely dependent on the institution implementing the programme/scheme. The planning should therefore consider systemic modifications to the existing system, which include participation of communities in planning and monitoring and the appointment of government ‘facilitators’ to improve access.
As in the case of other disadvantaged communities a three-pronged strategy is needed, which will focus on (i) social empowerment; (ii) economic empowerment; and (iii) social justice.
Non-availability of adequate resources and poor implementation has meant that scholarships are not provided to all eligible minority students. It is therefore imperative to ensure that financial allocations are made so that all eligible minority students are ensured much needed scholarships without any denial or deprivation.
India’s Education Policy
The National Policy on Education was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. Since then several changes have taken place that calls for a revision of the Policy. The Government of India would like to bring out a National Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry.
For the first time, the Government of India is embarking on a time-bound grassroots consultative process, which will enable the Ministry of HRD to reach out to individuals across the country through over 2.75 lakh direct consultations while also taking input from citizens online
It was prepared to improve the quality of education in the country and was focused on providing education facilities to all the citizens of the nation. The policy has been reviewed in the subsequent years. It was further updated in 1992 to spread knowledge and freedom of thought among the citizens of the country. Though education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution of India, the State Governments play an important role in the development of education especially in the primary and the secondary levels.
According to the National Policy on Education-1968, the government of India had formulated certain principles to promote the development of education in the country.
These principles are:
Free and Compulsory Education: According to Article- 45 (Indian Constitution), education should be free and compulsory up to the age of 14. Steps should be taken to ensure that child who is enrolled in the school should successfully complete the course.
Language Development: The policy had also emphasized on the development of Indian as well as foreign languages in the country. The three language formula should be introduced in which a student at the secondary level should know Hindi, English and the regional language of his state. The language Sanskrit has been included as an optional subject in secondary level.
Education Opportunity for all: Under this policy every child of the country should get education irrespective of caste, religion, region or whatever the case may be. Special emphasis should be given to backward classes, minority children, girls and physically challenged children to avail the education facilities.
Uniform Education Structure: The structure of education should be uniform throughout the country. It should be a 10+2+3 pattern from higher secondary to college level.
Uniform Education Structure: During the course of study each student should get an atmosphere for sports and games. He should also develop the quality of work experience and should also participate in programmes related to National construction and Community services.
To review the progress: The government should review the progress of education in the country from time to time and should present guidelines for future development.
The focus of the new National Education Policy (NEP) will be on girls’ education, strengthening public institutions with a thrust on traditional knowledge, special attention on language, sports and mathematics at the school level, and addressing regional inequality. It is learnt that school education could see a paradigm shift with changes like sports and other activities—which so far have been clubbed as “extra-curricular” or “co-curricular”— being treated as subjects in themselves. For higher education, the focus will be on affordability and access. The government is planning to put in place a “modern education policy” for the country before its term ends in May 2019.
The Teacher Education Policy in India has evolved over time and is based on recommendations contained in various Reports of Committees/Commissions on Education, the important ones being the Kothari Commission (1966), the Chattopadyay Committee (1985), the National Policy on Education (NPE 1986/92), Acharya Ramamurthi Committee (1990), Yashpal Committee (1993), and the National Curriculum Framework (NCF, 2005). The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which became operational from 1st April, 2010, has important implications for teacher education in the country.
Legal and Institutional Framework
Within the federal structure of the country, while broad policy and legal framework on teacher education is provided by the Central Government, implementation of various programmes and schemes are undertaken largely by state governments. Within the broad objective of improving the learning achievements of school children, the twin strategy is to (a) prepare teachers for the school system (pre-service training); and (b) improve capacity of existing school teachers (in-service training).
For pre-service training, the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), a statutory body of the Central Government, is responsible for planned and coordinated development of teacher education in the country.
The NCTE lays down norms and standards for various teacher education courses, minimum qualifications for teacher educators, course and content and duration and minimum qualification for entry of student-teachers for the various courses. It also grants recognition to institutions (government, government-aided and self-financing) interested in undertaking such courses and has in-built mechanism to regulate and monitor their standards and quality.
For in-service training, the country has a large network of government-owned teacher training institutions (TTIs), which provide in-service training to the school teachers. The spread of these TTIs is both vertical and horizontal. At the National Level, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), along with its six Regional Institutes of Education (REIs) prepares a host of modules for various teacher training courses and also undertakes specific programmes for training of teachers and teacher educators. Institutional support is also provided by the National University on Education al Planning and Administration (NUEPA).
Both NCERT and NUEPA are national level autonomous bodies. At the state level, the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), prepares modules for teacher training and conducts specialised courses for teacher educators and school teachers. The Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and Institutes for Advanced Learning in Education (IASEs) provide in-service training to secondary and senior secondary school teachers and teacher educators.
At the district level, in-service training is provided by the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs). The Block Resource Centres (BRCs) and Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) form the lowest rung of institutions in the vertical hierarchy for providing in-service training to school teachers. Apart from these, in-service training is also imparted with active role of the civil society, unaided schools and other establishments.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has implications on the present teacher education system and the Centrally Sponsored Scheme on Teacher Education. The Act inter alia provides that:
The Central Government shall develop and enforce standards for training of teachers;
1. Persons possessing minimum qualifications, as prescribed by an academic authority authorise by the Central Government, shall be eligible to be employed as teachers;
2. Existing teachers not possessing such prescribed qualifications would be required to acquire that qualification within a period of 5 years.
3. The Government must ensure that the Pupil-Teacher Ratio specified in the Schedule is maintained in each school
4. Vacancy of a teacher in a school, established, owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government, shall not exceed 10% of the sanctioned strength.