Outlining education reforms, Sibal says no need for Class 10 boards

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal

Sibal, who announced as many as 40 legal, policy and administative initiatives for the first 100 days of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, made a strong pitch to “de-traumatise education” and said there was no need for a Class 10 board examination.
"Schools will evolve a system of assessment. Because of the marking system, there is a lot of pressure on children, parents, especially mother," he said and added that he would have the marking system changed to grading formula in Classes 9 and 10 in the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) schools.

He would make efforts to have a single board exam in standard 12 across the country. "Right now different boards take different exams with different marking systems. Why not have a single board where all compete in the same system?" he said.
In a significant measure aimed at freeing the education sector from the clutches of the bureaucratic red tape, he said the government would bring in a law to set up an “autonomous, independent” agency for assessment and accreditation in higher education.

“This will have experts and scholars. The government will have nothing to do with it,” Sibal said. He said his ministry would explore the possibility for a similar agency for school education.

He pointed out: "At present there is no accreditation policy for schools. If any child goes to a school, he has no information how the school is. There is no agency in India to accredit them or give the school a rating."

While he announced several measures for higher education, the new minister's focus is more on the “89 percent of students who cannot reach the level of graduation”.
He said his mantra was “expansion, inclusion and excellence” and this was not possible “if you deny access to education to every single child in the country".

As a first step towards this, “in the coming budget session of parliament (from July 2), all steps will be taken to enact the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education bill”.
In yet another initiative of significance, Sibal said he would formulate a policy for “public-private partnerships” in school education. “Various models would be evolved” on how best to get private investment in schools.

“For instance, a municipal school building has two floors vacant. A private player can set up his classes and charge fees, while he imparts the same quality of education free to those studying in the municipal school,” he explained. There could be many such models, the minister said.
The ministry is also planning to permit foreign educational providers into India.
"We will bring a law to regulate foreign educational providers in India. It is not a license for them but a regulation. Why not the best educational institutions of the world come to India?"
There is also a legal initiative to weed out corruption from the system in Sibal's scheme of things.

"We are going to bring a law to prevent, prohibit and punish educational malpractices in the country. It is meant to make the system more transparent," he said. Anyone breaching the law should be punished, he added.

"Many a times, students going to Australia are being told that they are going for vocational training but when they land there it turns out to be something else. These things should be transparent," he said. “

"Similarly, here too, the prospectus says something and the reality is much different," Sibal said.

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