Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia, is currently making headlines for his thought-provoking comment on the educational scenario of the country. He demanded that a law be made functional allocating 6% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the education sector.
Manish Sisodia was speaking at the Special Meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education convened by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to discuss and finalize the National Education Policy. While speaking about transforming the face of education in India, Manish Sisodia stressed on three major points – improving the quality of education at government schools; non-existence of a private education board; introduction of ethics and socio-emotional learning in schools.
While speaking on the introduction of a policy that allocates 6% GDP to the education sector, Sisodia said that it was the sole responsibility of the government to provide a quality education through government schools. He stressed the importance of forming a law on the 6% GDP allocation as a mere policy would not be effective enough.
Manish Sisodia spoke about equaling the standard of education at government schools with that of good private schools. The National Education Policy should aim at making private schools just options for children and parents. Currently, owing to the lack of quality education in government schools, opting for private schools has become a necessity.
Sisodia pointed out that only 5% of students in India have access to quality education. The rest are managing with average to poor quality education. The government needs to play an active role in solving this issue.
Sisodia also addressed other issues at the special meeting. While speaking on the proposal of forming a ‘Private Education Board’, Sisodia called it a ‘dangerous idea’. He said that a private education board will only promote private schools, diluting the prospect of bettering government-owned schools.
He praised the idea of 3-year preschool education but also enquired about the roles of the Education Department and the Woman and Child Development Department in it. He spoke of the Delhi Government’s Chunauti & Mission Buniyaad – an endeavour for imparting foundational literacy and numeracy.
He spoke on the Happiness Curriculum of Delhi Governmental Schools – a policy of merging socio-emotional learning with regular academic curriculum. He also spoke about the higher education sector and praised the idea of ‘research institutions’. However, he expressed his disapproval about autonomous colleges awarding degrees at their own discretion.
Speaking about higher education institutions, Sisodia said that institutes like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are niche institutions, unparalleled in their specialization. He concluded that the growing trend of ‘hyper specialisations’ should not dilute the importance of these institutions.
Manish Sisodia pointed out the fact that the Indian education sector is extremely under-funded. Increasing budget allocation for the sector itself will change a lot of things in a positive way. Allocating 6% of GDP to the education sector is not a small step. What the governmental at the Centre thinks about this idea is not yet known.