Government has taken up far-reaching education reforms to improve quality and access to education

New Delhi, April 04, 2018: The Government of India has initiated major reforms in the education sector to improve the quality and access to education. Aimed at expanding access to quality education, new premier higher education institutions have been opened across the country, marking the highest ever such expansion in the history after Independence.

SWAYAM MOOCs portal ( (Study Webs of Active learning for Young Aspiring Minds) is an indigenous MOOCs portal that provides high quality education – anyone, anytime, anywhere at no cost- has been made operational. The portal has courses by the best teachers in the country and offers video lectures, e-reading material, discussion forum and assessment system – resulting in award of credits to the successful learners. Sofar, more than 1000 courses are made available and more than 33 lakh users are registered in this forum. Upto 20 % credit transfer into the academic record of students, is allowed now, for the courses taken on the SWAYAM portal.

To reach high quality educational content to the most backward areas using satellite communication, 32 DTH channels have been made functional, under SWAYAM Prabha programme. These channels air 4 hours of new content every day.

The initiative of National Digital Library (NDL) is a virtual repository of learning resources with a single window search facility. It has already brought together 15 million digital books and journals and 31 lakh learners are using this facility. It supports all academic levels including researchers and life-long learners, all disciplines, all popular form of access devices and differently abled learners.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA) is a new initiative to make use the knowledge base in the higher educational institutions for plugging technology gaps in the rural areas. In this year, 750 institutions are being selected on challenge mode. This is expected to enrich rural India by way of customising existing technology as per local needs and also by improving the implementation of existing government schemes.

Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching (PMMMNMTT) scheme has been launched in Dec, 2014, to address the issues of supply of qualified teachers, attracting talent into teaching profession, raising the quality teaching in schools and colleges.

Recently, the Government has constituted a Committee to draft National Education Policy under the Chairmanship of eminent scientist Dr. K. Kasturirangan which is expected to submit its report by 31stMarch, 2018.

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme has been conceived by Hon’ble PM to promote mutual understanding between States & UTs in India which have diverse cultures, traditions, languages etc., through a process of sustained mutual engagement between the people. All States and UTs are paired with each other for a period of one year, after which the pairing would change. The objective is to break the inhibitions arising from diversity in culture through participative appreciation and engagement by people so that a spirit of oneness is created in the process for the nation.

Under Swachh Bharat programme the Department recognised the huge role that has to be played by HEIs in promoting Swachhta in the form of an attitude of zero tolerance to anything unhygienic. It has initiated Swachhta Rankings of Higher Educational Institutions and Swachhta Action Plans have been prepared.

Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) is an initiative launched on 30th November 2015 to garner best international knowledge and experience into the country’s higher education so as to enable Indian students & faculty to interact with best academic and industry experts from across the world. GIAN courses are short duration courses and as on date, 1075 courses have been conducted, in which more than 40,000 students gained enriched academic inputs and knowledge. These courses are also video recorded for subsequent use and some are also telecast live, depending upon the available infrastructure.

Government has embarked on building 20 Institutions of higher learning – 10 public and 10 private institutions as “Institutions of Eminence” (IoE), so that they are related among the global best institutions. These institutions to be declared in April, 2018, will have complete academic and administrative freedom and the public institutions will be given 1000 crore fund in next 3 years.

The best performing Institutions with high accreditation would be given autonomy in functioning. The Graded Autonomy Regulation introduced recently would provide liberal regulatory oversight so that the institution can plan for new courses and would strive for excellence.

IMPRINT India is an effort to direct research in the premier institutions into areas of social relevance. 10 such domains have been identified which could substantially impact the living standards of the rural areas . More than 2600 research proposals have been submitted by scientists in these areas.

The Uchchtar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) has been launched to promote industry specific need-based research so as to keep up the competitiveness of Indian industry in the global market. It is proposed to invest Rs. 250 crores every year on identified projects. The Industry is expected to contribute 25 % of the project cost.

Prime Minister Research Fellows (PMRF) scheme is launched to support 1000 bright undergraduate students every year, for direct admission in the research programmes in the reputed institutions like IISc, IITs. The fellowship carries a lot of social recognition and it ranges from Rs 70,000 to 80,000 per month for 5 year period.

Smart India Hackathon initiative is to promote innovation in the students by encouraging out of the box solutions for common problems faced by the society at large. In the first edition held in 2017, more than 40,000 students have participated to solve more than 600 problems. In 2018, the scope has been expanded to Hardware area also.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) is the biggest ranking exercise launched in 2015, in which more than 3,500 institutions participated. The first edition of India Rankings 2016 were released in April, 2016. The India Rankings 2018 , the 3rd edition, will be released on 3rd April, 2018. The India Rankings is one of the biggest efforts for bringing in accountability and transparency in the higher educational institutions. The ranks are released in the various categories of institutions namely Universities, Engineering, Management, Pharmacy etc..

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been approved by the Cabinet for creation of a fund with government equity of Rs. 1000 crores, to give a big push for building up robust higher educational institutions. The HEFA would finance the academic and research infrastructure projects through a 10 year loan.  It is expected to spend Rs. 1,00,000 crore in next 5 years, for creation of high quality infrastructure in premier education institutions.

Rashtriya Uchchatar Siksha Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme has been given extension by Cabinet recently to provide more assistance for infrastructure to Universities and Colleges, creation of Model Degree colleges, Cluster universitite3s, Upgradation of autonomous colleges and Vocationalisation of higher education.

Under the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme Phase III (TEQUIP-III) focus has been given to the backward States in central tribal belt and north-eastern region. Under this Rs. 2,600 Cr would be spent for improving the quality of teaching and research in the engineering institutions.

With a view to promoting autonomy for the premier institutions, the IIM Act has declared them as Institutes of National Importance and gave complete autonomy for deciding their dministrative and academic matters, without any Govt interference.

In accordance with the policy that education should be accessible for everyone, the National Scholarship Portal has been started. Apart from this, the Vidyalaxmi portal provides one-window clearance for the Education Loans with Interest Subvention.

SCHOOL EDUCATION

In order to focus on quality education, the Central RTE Rules have been amended on 20th February, 2017 to include reference on class-wise, subject-wise Learning Outcomes. The Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage have, accordingly, been finalized and shared with all States and UTs. These would serve as a guideline for States and UTs to ensure that all children acquire appropriate learning level.

A National Achievement Survey (NAS) was conducted on 13th November, 2017 through which the learning levels of around 22 lakh students of Classes III, V and VIII from 1.10 lakh schools across 700 districts in all 36 States and UTs were assessed. This competency based assessment was based on the Learning Outcomes developed by the NCERT. District and State report cards for NAS 2017 have been released by this Department and are available on MHRD website. Through NAS it is for the first time that the teachers have a tool to understand what exactly the child should be learning in various classes, how to teach this through activities and how to measure and ensure that children have reached the required level.

NAS for class X was conducted on 5th February, 2018 in a sample of around 15.5 lakh students in 45,337 schools.  The performance of students was assessed in five major subjects i.e. English, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and Modern Indian Languages (MIL), based on a district wise sampling of schools, to enable States to identify gaps in learning at district level and design strategies to address these gaps.

The RTE Act, 2009 was amended in 2017 to ensure that all teachers acquire the minimum qualifications prescribed under the Act by 31st March 2019 to reinforce the Government’s emphasis on improvement of quality of elementary education. The National Institute of Open schooling (NIOS) has been entrusted to conduct this training through Open Distance Learning (ODL) mode.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Second Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 11th August, 2017 to provide for a regular examination at fifth class and eighth class at the end of every academic year.  If a child fails in the said examination, he shall be given additional instruction and granted opportunity for re-examination within a period of two months from the declaration of the result.  In case the child fails in the second attempt, the appropriate Government may allow schools to hold back a child in the fifth class or in the eighth class or in both classes, in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.  The appropriate Government may also decide not to hold back a child in any class till the completion of elementary education.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to make class X Board Examination compulsory from the academic year 2017-18.

A four year B.Ed. integrated programme with multiple pathways and specialization for pre-primary, elementary, secondary and senior secondary teachers will be introduced from the academic session 2019-2020.

In pursuance of the proposal of the Union Budget, 2018-19, to treat school education holistically without segmentation from pre-nursery to Class 12, this Department has prepared an Integrated Scheme for School Education by subsuming the three Centrally Sponsored Schemes of SSA, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE) extending Central support across all levels of school education.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is undertaking an exercise to rationalize the curriculum/syllabus/subject contents from Class I to XII with the objective of all round development of students. Suggestions have been invited from various stakeholders till April 6th, 2018.

The Department plans to support ‘Operation Digital Board’ in all schools ( class 9 onwards ) and colleges as a joint effort of Centre, States, CSR and community initiatives to provide good quality education by effective use of technology and telecom services and convert every class room in the country (from class IX and above) into a digital class room.

Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) was launched by Government of India in March, 2009 envisaging inter-alia provision of a secondary school within a reasonable distance of any habitation and to improve quality of education imparted at secondary level by making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers etc. In 2013, secondary education the schemes of ICT, vocational education, Girls Hostel and IEDSS were subsumed under the umbrella of RMSA. Under the scheme, 12682 new schools and 37799 existing schools for strengthening have been sanctioned so far.

e-pathshala has been developed by NCERT (National Council for Educational Research and Training) for showcasing and disseminating all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other print and non-print materials. So far, 3,062 audios and videos, 650 e-books (e-pubs) and 504 flip books have been made available on the portal and mobile app.

This information was given by the Minister of State (HRD), Dr. Satya Pal Singh today in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.

PIB

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