Regulatory authority for educational sector

Kapil Sibal moots greater private investment and entry of foreign universities


Kapil Sibal file photo

Replying to a debate on the demands for grants for his ministry in the Lok Sabha, he also made a strong case for greater private investment and entry of  foreign universities with regulatory mechanism in the sector.

“Whosoever crosses entry barriers should be allowed to set up university,” the minister said. He added that children should have choices in higher education.

Sibal also questioned the rational of having “deemed universities” in the country. He said the regulatory authority would be insulated from political interference.

Commercialisation

Earlier, participating in the debate, former HRD minister and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi warned the nation against “commercialisation” of education and stressed the need to shape up the country’s education on the pattern of foreign universities. 

Joshi said the Kothari committee’s two key recommendations on having “neighbourhood school scheme” have not been implemented even after decades.

The implementation would have brought children of a particular neighbourhood—be they of any caste, religion or of any economic strata— in one school. “This would have provided a genuine platform for national integration and an example of unity in diversity,” he said.

The BJP leader called for allowing genuine autonomy to the educational institutions.  He said governors have often played a partisan role in the appointment of  vice-chancellors of  universities. Autonomy also means full play of different thoughts and ideals.

He also called for “de-politicisation of education.”   

In his reply, Sibal said autonomy would translate in real terms only when there are  plenty of institutions to choose.

Model schools

The minister said model schools would be set up in the country. The Centre had already received proposals from 16 states. He also announced that the government would introduce Right To Education Bill in the current session of Parliament.

Sibal allayed apprehensions on the Centre’s approach towards education boards, saying: “We are not cancelling state boards.”

He, however, emphasised the need to raise the standard of the state boards.

Referring to the wide variations in the pass percentage of  different boards,  the minister said there was a need to harmonise them with the university education.

“In 40 countries in Europe, students could go to any other country to study.  Is there no diversity in Europe,” he asked.

The minister was responding to the  concerns raised by  some members that Indian “diversity” should not be tampered with while experimenting with the current education system.

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