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General Overview

Before 1976, education was the exclusive responsibility of the States. The Constitutional Amendment of 1976, which included education in the Concurrent List, was a far-reaching step. The substantive, financial and administrative implication required a new sharing of responsibility between the Union Government and the States. While the role and responsibility of the States in education remained largely unchanged, the Union Government accepted a larger responsibility of reinforcing the national and integrated character of education, maintaining quality and standards including those of the teaching profession at all levels, and the study and monitoring of the educational requirements of the country.

The Central Government continues to play a leading role in the evolution and monitoring of educational policies and programmes, the most notable of which are the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and the Programme of Action (POA), 1986 as updated in 1992. The modified policy envisages a National System of education to bring about uniformity in education, making adult education programmes a mass movement, providing universal access, retention and quality in elementary education, special emphasis on education of girls, establishment of pacesetting schools like Navodaya Vidyalayas in each district, vocationalisation of secondary education, synthesis of knowledge and inter-disciplinary research in higher education, starting more Open Universities in the States, strengthening of the All India Council of Technical Education, encouraging sports, physical education, Yoga and adoption of an effective evaluation method, etc. Besides, a decentralised management structure had also been suggested to ensure popular participation in education. The POA lays down a detailed strategy for the implementation of the various policy parameters by the implementing agencies.

The National System of Education as envisaged in the NPE is based on a national curricular framework, which envisages a common core along with other flexible and region-specific components. While the policy stresses widening of opportunities for the people, it calls for consolidation of the existing system of higher and technical education. It also emphasises the need for a much higher level of investment in education of at least six per cent of the national income.

The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest advisory body to advise the Central and State Governments in the field of education, was first established in 1920 and dissolved in 1923 as a measure of economy. It was revived in 1935 and had continued to exist till 1994. Despite the fact that in the past, important decisions had been taken on the advice of CABE and it had provided a forum for widespread consultation and examination of issues relating to educational and cultural development, it was unfortunately not reconstituted after the expiry of its extended tenure in March 1994. CABE has a particularly important role to play at the present juncture in view of the significant socio-economic and socio-cultural developments taking place in the country and for the review of the National Policy on Education which is also due. It is a matter of importance therefore, that the Central and State Governments, and educationists and people representing all interests, should increase their interaction and evolve a participative process of decision making in education, which enhances the federal structure of our polity. The National Policy on Education, 1986 (as modified in 1992) also envisages that the CABE will play a pivotal role in reviewing educational development, determining the changes required to improve the system and monitoring implementation, and will function through appropriate mechanisms created to ensure contact with, and coordination among, the various areas of human resource development. Accordingly, the CABE has since been reconstituted by the Government in July 2004 and the first meeting of the reconstituted CABE was held on 10 and 11 August 2004. The Board consists of nominated members representing various interests in addition to elected members from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and the representatives of the Government of India, State Governments and UT Administrations.

In the meeting of the reconstituted CABE held on 10 - 11 August 2004 some critical issues had emerged needing detailed deliberations.

Accordingly, seven CABE Committees were set up to examine:
  • Free and Compulsory education Bill and other issues related to Elementary Education
  • Girls Education and the Common School System
  • Universalisation of Secondary Education
  • Autonomy of Higher Education Institutions
  • Integration of Culture Education in the School Curriculum
  • Regulatory Mechanism for the Text Books and parallel text books taught in schools outside the Government system, and
  • Financing of Higher and Technical Education.

The above mentioned Committees were set up in September 2004. The reports of these Committees were discussed in the 53rd Meeting of the CABE held on 14-15 July 2005 at New Delhi. Necessary steps are being taken to identify the action points emerging from all these reports and to prepare a road map for action on them in a time bound manner.

In the meeting it has also been decided, inter alia, to constitute three Standing Committees of the CABE, viz.,

  • A Standing Committee on Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs to oversee the implementation of the new education policy on this subject.
  • A Standing Committee on Literacy and Adult Education to guide the National Literacy Mission.
  • A Standing Committee for looking at the integration and coordination of efforts for children's development, taking into account different schemes of education, child development, nutrition and health aspects.

On the recommendations made by the CABE, in its meeting held on 6-7 September 2005, a monitoring committee has been setup to oversee the preparation of syllabus for the textbooks by NCERT. Measures have been taken to reform the functioning of the accrediting and affiliating institutions by introduction of steps to receive and process the applications on-line and also bringing in the reforms in other processes by making things transparent.

Consultation process has been initiated to consider the setting up of a National Commission on Higher Education for overseeing generation of new ideas and monitoring the reforms in the higher education sector.

In order to facilitate donations including smaller amounts from India and abroad for implementing projects/programmes connected with the education sector, the Government has constituted ''Bharat Shiksha Kosh'' as a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It was launched officially on 9 January 2003 during the celebrations of Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. The Kosh will receive donations/ contributions/endowments from individuals and corporate, Central and State Governments, Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin for various activities across all sectors of education.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 19-01-2011