The high-level government-appointed T.S.R. Subramanian committee that submitted its report on the evolution of a new education policy on Friday has recommended one-lakh scholarships for meritorious students from poor families and socially and educationally backward communities to pursue higher education.
Seeing both quality and inclusion as important, the panel has also recommended linking the autonomy of higher education institutions with their rating/performance, with those making it to the highest bracket having the freedom to choose their fee structure, curriculum and even the scales paid to their faculty members.
“The report has recommended one-lakh scholarships based on merit from among these sections. The focus of the report is on not just quality but also inclusion,” a highly placed official source told The Hindu .
The committee, headed by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian, included former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra, former Gujarat chief secretary Sudhir Mankad, former Delhi home secretary Sevaram Sharma and former NCERT director J.S. Rajput.
Elaborating on the proposed link between autonomy and rating of institutions, the source said, “The institutions being rated in the lowest category should close down. Higher the rating, more the autonomy. For those getting rated in the highest category, the report has recommended full academic autonomy.”
The panel also proposed greater professionalism in rating. As of now, NAAC under the UGC rates institutions across India.
An official said while a government body like the UGC should set standards, the inspection or assessment of institutions based on these standards needed greater professionalism, and agencies/companies that are trained to evaluate should be entrusted with the task.
The committee has also called for an ‘Indian Education Service’ with selections done by the UGC for pulling in greater talent into teaching, an official said.
It has also underlined the need for greater quality in school education, suggesting a no-detention policy only till Class V, instead of Class VIII at present.
However, it has opened other options for students. “Students not learning as per requirements should be offered remedial classes from class 1 itself, and online resources can also be used for this. A student failing the Class V exam should be given another attempt to pass. If he or she fails again, there should be an option to specialise in some vocation, so that vocational training can go alongside language and numerical skills,” said a source.
The report has also recommended the inculcation of values — peace, harmony, respect for diversity, equality, truth, dharma and non-violence among others — in students and has said that pride in the nation should be one of the values education should promote.