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We need Education for All, and a Drastic Policy Re-Think

06 Jan 2016

 
The All India Save Education Committee (AISEC) has presented a comprehensive critique of the New Education Policy (NEP) document released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India.  Established in 1989, AISEC, that has drawn in prominent educationists, jurists and representatives of mass movements across India, has been engaged in upholding the cause of education for the people of India, participated in protests whenever the cause of universal education was jeopardized. As a part of this mobilisation, AISEC had stood against the NPE’86 and even circulated a publication entitled Towards a People’s Policy On Education: An Alternative to NPE’86  as a mark of concrete and constructive protest against both the privatisation and commercialisation of education.

Serious questions have been raised about the professed broad-based consultative process. The entire text of the AISEC document can be found at https://www.sabrangindia.in/reports/proposed-new-education-policy-rings-death-knell-education-land-tradition-knowledge-and
 
The AISEC has, in this substantive policy intervention expressed concern that a National Policy is being formulated that does not define either the basic or the comprehensive outlook on School Education that it is being based. Theme 12, titled Comprehensive Education - Ethics, Physical Education, Arts & Crafts, Life Skills, professes that Education is concerned with all-round development of the child…. Our students need to have a holistic development which cannot be achieved only through information and instruction. But there is no further reference to ethics or character-building essence of education anywhere in the discussion beyond the title.

AISEC analyses that any serious effort at defining a comprehensive outlook must answer some fundamental questions:
  • What should be the basic outlook of school education: employability or preparing children to grow into a ‘man’? 
  • Are employability and skill generation the sole, even the main objects of education, more so of school education?
  • What are the present problems with school education in the country? 
  • Why instead of increasing, are the number of government–run schools decreasing?
  • Why instead, are private schools mushrooming?
  • How are these private schools helping the quality of school education of the country, or are they doing otherwise?
  • Why are students dropping out at an an alarming rate?
  • Why is quality going down not just in government schools, but even in private ones?
  • Is the teacher-student ratio in most schools, government or private, anywhere near its desirable mark? 
The ground reality locates the major problems in school education, among others, at the sharp decline in quality of both learning and teaching; alarming rise in drop outs which is directly related to poverty and the prohibitive rise in cost of education; the absence of adequate number of schools; absence of minimum requirements (in regard to basic  infrastructure, teacher-student ratio etc.) in government-run schools forcing students and their guardians to seek a berth in private schools  even going beyond their means or  to lie low, content with whatever they get, or finally, simply quit schools.

While preparing the said document for consultation, the writers, too, recognize these to a great or less extent.

The first theme (Ensuring learning outcomes in Elementary Education) for consultation pronounces that, ‘even with all (these) reforms’ ‘the learning outcomes for a majority of children’, remains an ‘area of serious concern’.  Because, ‘children are not learning the basic skills’ (emphasis added); even at grade (class) V children ‘cannot read simple texts and cannot do simple arithmetic calculations’.

If this is a simple and honest narration of facts, the theme sets the task. ‘There is a need to understand the reasons’ and ‘suggest ways and methods of improving the learning outcomes of school children’. And then  coming to the specifics, it is added, that there is need to address ‘on priority basis’ ‘quality issues’, ‘availability of trained teachers, good curriculum and innovative pedagogy’ and need to ‘assess the system of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation’.  (all quotes from page 3) If anybody makes the effor to go through the earlier policy documents, he or she would find virtually the same words contained even there. In fact, it has been the case with any attempt at so-called ‘reforms’ to reiterate that earlier efforts failed to reach the mark and to prescribe some antidotes.

However, from the accompanying questions (page 4) it is evident that the present policymakers seek answers as to how to ensure that children learn, how can technology be used for the purpose, if there should be dedicated teachers for classes 1 and 2 or improved training of teachers  etc. But these are really turning a blind eye to the problem or address some technicalities.

They admit that there are gaps in availability of trained teachers, good curriculum and innovative pedagogy; but do not proceed to find any real solutions to these crucial issues.

They admit there is the mushrooming of a pre primary/ play school industry (page 4) that is, private institutions in the country. But they do not commit any policy measure or drive against this rampant privatisation. 

They put questions on what should be the student assessment systems, but do not utter a single word on the disastrous effects of abolition of the pass-fail system. According to latest reports, under pressure from sharp criticism,  the HRDM may be thinking of reintroducing the pass-fail system;  yet it keeps on buying time on this or that plea, sending the matter afresh to one committee or another.

The policymakers stand for strengthening of a Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) for holistic development of students. (page 9) They may bring in some instance of successful use of the method in advanced western countries.

Have they kept in mind the fact that here is India, a country where barring a few privileged pockets and institutions, the infrastructure of educational institutions are at an all time wretched low,  not to speak of other factors like corruption at every point of the system and every stage of education process?

This is a country in which schools lack teachers (about 1,40,000 teaching posts are lying vacant in schools; only 1 teacher is there in 1,14,531 primary schools);

Government school buildings (in 1, 48,696 schools) are lacking, or have far from adequate class rooms, toilets (in 4, 55,561 schools) even for girls.

Surely, under these circumstances, it is delusionary to implement CCE as the only system of evaluation. 

As a part of this mobilisation, AISEC had stood against the NPE’86 and even circulated a publication entitled Towards a People’s Policy On Education: An Alternative to NPE’86  as a mark of concrete and constructive protest against both the privatisation and commercialisation of education.

The document circulated by the MHRD, besides, asks for general feedback of students, teachers and parents, regarding the no detention policy and the CCE.  The very hypothetical positioning of these two policy moves together, is baseless; for even in CCE there will remain the question of detention or no detention; If on the other hand one really means evaluation of how far a student might have learnt or not,  how well a teacher may have taught or not. 

Then again the Consultation Questionnaire includes one on International partnerships (page 4). With the state of infrastructure for the country as bad as illustrated in the statistics above, the shallow aspect of this draft questionnaire reveals cynicism at its worst. When poverty is the main cause for the reasons why students drop out, yet our policymakers suggest colourful furniture, rugs play way toys, charts, pictures (page 4) etc as special  attractive measures to draw students; games, art and confidence building measures (page 4) to retain them.

The government document, says in the Theme II (Extending outreach of Secondary and Senior Secondary Education):  Universal Elementary Education(UEE) becoming a reality (page5): Is Universal Education actually becoming a reality? No, the reality does not endorse the claim that elementary (pre-primary & primary) education has become universal. The document also claims that ‘initiatives such as RTE ….. would not only be increasing participation levels in elementary education but also substantially improve the internal efficiency of elementary education in the coming years’. Is this claim also based on surveys of the reality on the ground? No. This appears a clearly misplaced faith and confidence in the RTE, brought in by the Congress-led UPA government and which is now being also falsely placed a benchmark by the present BJP-led union government. 

The major contributions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 have been the following:

One. It does not cover all students, education at all levels even at the elementary stage.  Coming in sequel of another flopped “flagship programme”, SSA, and in the same way as it, the RTEA too pledges to universalise elementary education from Classes (Standards) 1 to 8 and does not bother for children   below 6 and above 14 years.  

Two. The RTEA 2009 thus abdicates the government from funding education at least at those stages.  Who then will shoulder that responsibility?  The RTEA straightaway paves the path for private investors to get into the scene for unchecked privatization of pre-6 year education of children; it legalizes privatization and commercialization of education. After bringing in a law that gives space to these private players, the policymakers are now shedding crocodile tears for mushrooming of pre primary/ play school industry.

Three. It follows the system of multi-grade teaching with the labels “child centered” and “activity oriented” approach stuck to them as stipulated in the DPEP and SSA, offspring programmes of the World Bank and IMF. Forget about the few shining Kendriya Vidyalaya of the metropolis and other cities. In the vast hinterland of the country, a single teacher, may be a para-teacher, appointed on contract basis, and figured as a ‘class room manager’ (mind it, not class teacher) would look after a number of classes, may  be  even in a single room. These teachers are supposed to work for 45 hours a week, and would have to work for, as and when required and compulsorily, to do census duty, election duty, disaster relief work etc.; would have to prepare midday meals for students, keep accounts of the groceries, fuel and such other items, even chase after students across fields to lure them back to school. It befalls on students to learn by themselves.

Four.  The RTEA, 2009 legalizes no pass-fail system up to the level of class VIII and   admission of students according to their age, a 14 year child to Class VIII, and not according to his or her prevailing academic  standard. 

Five. The RTE Act pertains to government- run or general aided -schools. The one under high-priced private control will be exempt from all government controls and restrictions, making room for only the rich to enjoy the best of facilities for education. They will get the best of amenities and will have the examination system for checking and improving performance. They will retain the class promotion system as usual. The RTE Act thus stands out as highly discriminatory giving way to catering to the Minimum Level Learning (MLL) education for a vast work force and Optimum Level Learning (OLL) education  for a handful of elites from private schools.

It (Right to Education Act) does not cover all students, education at all levels even at the elementary stage.  Coming in sequel of another failed “flagship programme”, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), and in the same way as it, the RTEA too pledges to universalise elementary education from Classes (Standards) 1 to 8 onwards. It is illogically silent on the basic, fundamental needs of educationfor children below 6 years and above 14 years of age.  

 The whole outreach programme for secondary level education in the proposed education policy (Theme 2), a programme for ‘near universalisation of secondary education’ as a ‘logical next step’ (page 5)  hinges upon such a deceitful, discriminatory measure of the RTE Act that is detrimental to students, teachers and education as a whole.  Theme 2 further adds RMSA as a new ingredient professing holistic education on the basis of a single comprehensive scheme; at this stage it can only be apprehended that the RMSA does not prove as another failed attempt just like the  earlier ones of DPEP, SSA! 
 
It is no denial a fact that teachers play a pivotal role in any education system. It has been earlier indicated how miserable the picture of our situation is, where taking the country as a whole, nearly one and a half lakh of  posts of teachers lie vacant in schools.

Yet the document  contains a Theme V on Re-vamping Teacher Education for Quality Teachers. It says that the quality of teachers has been ‘a major cause of worry’ or ‘Competence of teachers and their motivation is crucial for improving the quality’. They admit ‘issues of large number of vacancies’, problems of ‘untrained teachers’, ‘lack of professionalism in teacher training institutions’, ‘teacher absenteeism and teacher accountability’ and ‘involvement of teachers in non- teaching activities’ all need to be addressed. They say ‘several initiatives are being taken’ by the Central and State governments, through  different tests like the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) introduced by the CBSE or TETs by the state Governments are being held.

Then they pose questions inviting suggestions on how teachers can be recruited or their quality improved etc. They , however, do not spell out anything about  why  the government,   or other  initiatives have miserably failed in their efforts, so far  in the  past and even  in the present, ultimately giving  birth to the present situation; why the so-called recruitment Tests have now  become synonymous with and infamous for corruption; why teachers are being compelled to carry out non-teaching jobs like arranging for mid-day meals etc; who other than the governments engage teachers in such jobs; why rampant political or other interference and intervention take place, allegedly involving fat sums of money in the process  of  teachers recruitment under the very nose of governments etc.  etc.

Without any hint on these, rather maintaining a complete silence on these points, have made the above-mentioned quotes from the document not just totally baseless, even dubious. For any national education policy  to operate genuinely for people’s interest, it must be  pronounced unambiguously  that education institutions at all levels must be given the unstinted autonomy in every concern, starting from  the processes and policies on teachers and employees recruitment,  administration,  admission of students, academic affairs including framing of syllabus etc.

These affairs cannot remain merely in the hands of such agencies, government or not, exclusively made up of bureaucrats or their nominees, which, in our present situations, remain susceptible to political interference, corruption stemming from greed for pelf arising out of the privileged positions of power. 

Theme III is entitled Strengthening of Vocational Education . It laments that in India, general education and vocational education are exclusively separated. It asserts that knowledgeable and skilled workforce are the most important human capital required for the development of a country. Both vocational education and skill development are known to increase productivity of individuals, profitability of employers and national growth. ‘Given that only 7 to 10 per cent of population is engaged in formal sector of economy’, development of vocational education will provide skilled labour force for the informal unorganized sector and to inculcate self employment skills.  Based on this approach vocationalisation of secondary education scheme was revised in 2014 to address the issue. Efforts are now on to revamp the education system to make skill development an integral part of the curriculum at all stages, laying greater emphasis on integrating skills in education with a renewed focus on vocational education in secondary education.

So, this theme lays bare the outlook and approach of the policymakers towards education. Despite all tall talks of  ethics and value-based education and despite the HRDM herself calling upon students to follow the teachings of Swami Vivekananda for character development  (The Statesman Kolkata, February 13, 2015), the aim of education, they fix at  productivity of individuals, profitability of employers and national growth. This bluntly corporate-savvy that is pro-monopolist approach has no place in the transformative and emancipator role that education needs to play in any society.

We need Education for All, and a Drastic Policy Re-Think


 
The All India Save Education Committee (AISEC) has presented a comprehensive critique of the New Education Policy (NEP) document released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India.  Established in 1989, AISEC, that has drawn in prominent educationists, jurists and representatives of mass movements across India, has been engaged in upholding the cause of education for the people of India, participated in protests whenever the cause of universal education was jeopardized. As a part of this mobilisation, AISEC had stood against the NPE’86 and even circulated a publication entitled Towards a People’s Policy On Education: An Alternative to NPE’86  as a mark of concrete and constructive protest against both the privatisation and commercialisation of education.

Serious questions have been raised about the professed broad-based consultative process. The entire text of the AISEC document can be found at https://www.sabrangindia.in/reports/proposed-new-education-policy-rings-death-knell-education-land-tradition-knowledge-and
 
The AISEC has, in this substantive policy intervention expressed concern that a National Policy is being formulated that does not define either the basic or the comprehensive outlook on School Education that it is being based. Theme 12, titled Comprehensive Education - Ethics, Physical Education, Arts & Crafts, Life Skills, professes that Education is concerned with all-round development of the child…. Our students need to have a holistic development which cannot be achieved only through information and instruction. But there is no further reference to ethics or character-building essence of education anywhere in the discussion beyond the title.

AISEC analyses that any serious effort at defining a comprehensive outlook must answer some fundamental questions:
  • What should be the basic outlook of school education: employability or preparing children to grow into a ‘man’? 
  • Are employability and skill generation the sole, even the main objects of education, more so of school education?
  • What are the present problems with school education in the country? 
  • Why instead of increasing, are the number of government–run schools decreasing?
  • Why instead, are private schools mushrooming?
  • How are these private schools helping the quality of school education of the country, or are they doing otherwise?
  • Why are students dropping out at an an alarming rate?
  • Why is quality going down not just in government schools, but even in private ones?
  • Is the teacher-student ratio in most schools, government or private, anywhere near its desirable mark? 
The ground reality locates the major problems in school education, among others, at the sharp decline in quality of both learning and teaching; alarming rise in drop outs which is directly related to poverty and the prohibitive rise in cost of education; the absence of adequate number of schools; absence of minimum requirements (in regard to basic  infrastructure, teacher-student ratio etc.) in government-run schools forcing students and their guardians to seek a berth in private schools  even going beyond their means or  to lie low, content with whatever they get, or finally, simply quit schools.

While preparing the said document for consultation, the writers, too, recognize these to a great or less extent.

The first theme (Ensuring learning outcomes in Elementary Education) for consultation pronounces that, ‘even with all (these) reforms’ ‘the learning outcomes for a majority of children’, remains an ‘area of serious concern’.  Because, ‘children are not learning the basic skills’ (emphasis added); even at grade (class) V children ‘cannot read simple texts and cannot do simple arithmetic calculations’.

If this is a simple and honest narration of facts, the theme sets the task. ‘There is a need to understand the reasons’ and ‘suggest ways and methods of improving the learning outcomes of school children’. And then  coming to the specifics, it is added, that there is need to address ‘on priority basis’ ‘quality issues’, ‘availability of trained teachers, good curriculum and innovative pedagogy’ and need to ‘assess the system of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation’.  (all quotes from page 3) If anybody makes the effor to go through the earlier policy documents, he or she would find virtually the same words contained even there. In fact, it has been the case with any attempt at so-called ‘reforms’ to reiterate that earlier efforts failed to reach the mark and to prescribe some antidotes.

However, from the accompanying questions (page 4) it is evident that the present policymakers seek answers as to how to ensure that children learn, how can technology be used for the purpose, if there should be dedicated teachers for classes 1 and 2 or improved training of teachers  etc. But these are really turning a blind eye to the problem or address some technicalities.

They admit that there are gaps in availability of trained teachers, good curriculum and innovative pedagogy; but do not proceed to find any real solutions to these crucial issues.

They admit there is the mushrooming of a pre primary/ play school industry (page 4) that is, private institutions in the country. But they do not commit any policy measure or drive against this rampant privatisation. 

They put questions on what should be the student assessment systems, but do not utter a single word on the disastrous effects of abolition of the pass-fail system. According to latest reports, under pressure from sharp criticism,  the HRDM may be thinking of reintroducing the pass-fail system;  yet it keeps on buying time on this or that plea, sending the matter afresh to one committee or another.

The policymakers stand for strengthening of a Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) for holistic development of students. (page 9) They may bring in some instance of successful use of the method in advanced western countries.

Have they kept in mind the fact that here is India, a country where barring a few privileged pockets and institutions, the infrastructure of educational institutions are at an all time wretched low,  not to speak of other factors like corruption at every point of the system and every stage of education process?

This is a country in which schools lack teachers (about 1,40,000 teaching posts are lying vacant in schools; only 1 teacher is there in 1,14,531 primary schools);

Government school buildings (in 1, 48,696 schools) are lacking, or have far from adequate class rooms, toilets (in 4, 55,561 schools) even for girls.

Surely, under these circumstances, it is delusionary to implement CCE as the only system of evaluation. 

As a part of this mobilisation, AISEC had stood against the NPE’86 and even circulated a publication entitled Towards a People’s Policy On Education: An Alternative to NPE’86  as a mark of concrete and constructive protest against both the privatisation and commercialisation of education.

The document circulated by the MHRD, besides, asks for general feedback of students, teachers and parents, regarding the no detention policy and the CCE.  The very hypothetical positioning of these two policy moves together, is baseless; for even in CCE there will remain the question of detention or no detention; If on the other hand one really means evaluation of how far a student might have learnt or not,  how well a teacher may have taught or not. 

Then again the Consultation Questionnaire includes one on International partnerships (page 4). With the state of infrastructure for the country as bad as illustrated in the statistics above, the shallow aspect of this draft questionnaire reveals cynicism at its worst. When poverty is the main cause for the reasons why students drop out, yet our policymakers suggest colourful furniture, rugs play way toys, charts, pictures (page 4) etc as special  attractive measures to draw students; games, art and confidence building measures (page 4) to retain them.

The government document, says in the Theme II (Extending outreach of Secondary and Senior Secondary Education):  Universal Elementary Education(UEE) becoming a reality (page5): Is Universal Education actually becoming a reality? No, the reality does not endorse the claim that elementary (pre-primary & primary) education has become universal. The document also claims that ‘initiatives such as RTE ….. would not only be increasing participation levels in elementary education but also substantially improve the internal efficiency of elementary education in the coming years’. Is this claim also based on surveys of the reality on the ground? No. This appears a clearly misplaced faith and confidence in the RTE, brought in by the Congress-led UPA government and which is now being also falsely placed a benchmark by the present BJP-led union government. 

The major contributions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 have been the following:

One. It does not cover all students, education at all levels even at the elementary stage.  Coming in sequel of another flopped “flagship programme”, SSA, and in the same way as it, the RTEA too pledges to universalise elementary education from Classes (Standards) 1 to 8 and does not bother for children   below 6 and above 14 years.  

Two. The RTEA 2009 thus abdicates the government from funding education at least at those stages.  Who then will shoulder that responsibility?  The RTEA straightaway paves the path for private investors to get into the scene for unchecked privatization of pre-6 year education of children; it legalizes privatization and commercialization of education. After bringing in a law that gives space to these private players, the policymakers are now shedding crocodile tears for mushrooming of pre primary/ play school industry.

Three. It follows the system of multi-grade teaching with the labels “child centered” and “activity oriented” approach stuck to them as stipulated in the DPEP and SSA, offspring programmes of the World Bank and IMF. Forget about the few shining Kendriya Vidyalaya of the metropolis and other cities. In the vast hinterland of the country, a single teacher, may be a para-teacher, appointed on contract basis, and figured as a ‘class room manager’ (mind it, not class teacher) would look after a number of classes, may  be  even in a single room. These teachers are supposed to work for 45 hours a week, and would have to work for, as and when required and compulsorily, to do census duty, election duty, disaster relief work etc.; would have to prepare midday meals for students, keep accounts of the groceries, fuel and such other items, even chase after students across fields to lure them back to school. It befalls on students to learn by themselves.

Four.  The RTEA, 2009 legalizes no pass-fail system up to the level of class VIII and   admission of students according to their age, a 14 year child to Class VIII, and not according to his or her prevailing academic  standard. 

Five. The RTE Act pertains to government- run or general aided -schools. The one under high-priced private control will be exempt from all government controls and restrictions, making room for only the rich to enjoy the best of facilities for education. They will get the best of amenities and will have the examination system for checking and improving performance. They will retain the class promotion system as usual. The RTE Act thus stands out as highly discriminatory giving way to catering to the Minimum Level Learning (MLL) education for a vast work force and Optimum Level Learning (OLL) education  for a handful of elites from private schools.

It (Right to Education Act) does not cover all students, education at all levels even at the elementary stage.  Coming in sequel of another failed “flagship programme”, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), and in the same way as it, the RTEA too pledges to universalise elementary education from Classes (Standards) 1 to 8 onwards. It is illogically silent on the basic, fundamental needs of educationfor children below 6 years and above 14 years of age.  

 The whole outreach programme for secondary level education in the proposed education policy (Theme 2), a programme for ‘near universalisation of secondary education’ as a ‘logical next step’ (page 5)  hinges upon such a deceitful, discriminatory measure of the RTE Act that is detrimental to students, teachers and education as a whole.  Theme 2 further adds RMSA as a new ingredient professing holistic education on the basis of a single comprehensive scheme; at this stage it can only be apprehended that the RMSA does not prove as another failed attempt just like the  earlier ones of DPEP, SSA! 
 
It is no denial a fact that teachers play a pivotal role in any education system. It has been earlier indicated how miserable the picture of our situation is, where taking the country as a whole, nearly one and a half lakh of  posts of teachers lie vacant in schools.

Yet the document  contains a Theme V on Re-vamping Teacher Education for Quality Teachers. It says that the quality of teachers has been ‘a major cause of worry’ or ‘Competence of teachers and their motivation is crucial for improving the quality’. They admit ‘issues of large number of vacancies’, problems of ‘untrained teachers’, ‘lack of professionalism in teacher training institutions’, ‘teacher absenteeism and teacher accountability’ and ‘involvement of teachers in non- teaching activities’ all need to be addressed. They say ‘several initiatives are being taken’ by the Central and State governments, through  different tests like the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) introduced by the CBSE or TETs by the state Governments are being held.

Then they pose questions inviting suggestions on how teachers can be recruited or their quality improved etc. They , however, do not spell out anything about  why  the government,   or other  initiatives have miserably failed in their efforts, so far  in the  past and even  in the present, ultimately giving  birth to the present situation; why the so-called recruitment Tests have now  become synonymous with and infamous for corruption; why teachers are being compelled to carry out non-teaching jobs like arranging for mid-day meals etc; who other than the governments engage teachers in such jobs; why rampant political or other interference and intervention take place, allegedly involving fat sums of money in the process  of  teachers recruitment under the very nose of governments etc.  etc.

Without any hint on these, rather maintaining a complete silence on these points, have made the above-mentioned quotes from the document not just totally baseless, even dubious. For any national education policy  to operate genuinely for people’s interest, it must be  pronounced unambiguously  that education institutions at all levels must be given the unstinted autonomy in every concern, starting from  the processes and policies on teachers and employees recruitment,  administration,  admission of students, academic affairs including framing of syllabus etc.

These affairs cannot remain merely in the hands of such agencies, government or not, exclusively made up of bureaucrats or their nominees, which, in our present situations, remain susceptible to political interference, corruption stemming from greed for pelf arising out of the privileged positions of power. 

Theme III is entitled Strengthening of Vocational Education . It laments that in India, general education and vocational education are exclusively separated. It asserts that knowledgeable and skilled workforce are the most important human capital required for the development of a country. Both vocational education and skill development are known to increase productivity of individuals, profitability of employers and national growth. ‘Given that only 7 to 10 per cent of population is engaged in formal sector of economy’, development of vocational education will provide skilled labour force for the informal unorganized sector and to inculcate self employment skills.  Based on this approach vocationalisation of secondary education scheme was revised in 2014 to address the issue. Efforts are now on to revamp the education system to make skill development an integral part of the curriculum at all stages, laying greater emphasis on integrating skills in education with a renewed focus on vocational education in secondary education.

So, this theme lays bare the outlook and approach of the policymakers towards education. Despite all tall talks of  ethics and value-based education and despite the HRDM herself calling upon students to follow the teachings of Swami Vivekananda for character development  (The Statesman Kolkata, February 13, 2015), the aim of education, they fix at  productivity of individuals, profitability of employers and national growth. This bluntly corporate-savvy that is pro-monopolist approach has no place in the transformative and emancipator role that education needs to play in any society.

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