National Policy on Education, 1986
Statement by Shri Arjun Singh, Minister of Human Resource Development Regarding Modifications to the National Policy on Education (NPE) 1986
The National Policy on Education (NPE) was adopted by Parliament in May 1986. A committee was set up under the chairmanship of Acharya Ramamurti in May 1990 to review NPE and to make recommendations for its modifications. That Committee submitted its report in December 1990. At the request of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) a committee was set up in July 1991 under the chairmanship of Shri N. Janardhana Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, to consider modifications in NPE taking into consideration the report of the Ramamurti Committee and other relevant developments having a bearing on the Policy, and to make recommendations regarding modifications to be made in the NPE. This Committee submitted its report in January 1992. The report of the Committee was considered by the CABE in its meeting held on 5-6 May, 1992. While broadly endorsing the NPE, CABE has recommended a few changes in the Policy.
The NPE has stood the test of time. Based on an in-depth review of the whole gamut of educational situation and formulated on the basis of a national consensus, it enunciated a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in its entirety. That framework continues to be of relevance. However, the developments during the last few years and experience in the implementation of the Policy have necessitated certain modifications. The modifications required have been specified in the paper "National Policy on Education, 1986 -Revised Policy Formulations" laid on the Table of the House. I also lay on the Table of the House the report of the CABE Committee on Policy.
1.13 The growth of our population needs to be brought down significantly over the coming decades. The largest single factor that could help achieve this is the spread of literacy and education among women.
1.14 Life in the coming decades is likely to bring new tensions together with unprecedented opportunities. To enable the people to benefit in the new environment will require new designs of human resource development. The coming generations should have the ability to internalise new ideas constantly and creatively. They have to be imbued with a strong commitment to humane values and to social justice. All this implies better education.
1.15 Besides, a variety of new challenges and social needs make it imperative for the Government to formulate and implement a new Education Policy for the country. Nothing short of this will meet the situation.
The Essence and Role of Education
2.1 In our national perception, education is essentially for all. This is fundamental to our all- round development, material and spiritual.
2.2 Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, a scientific temper and independence of mind and spirit - thus furthering the goals of socialism, secularism and democracy enshrined in our Constitution.
2.3 Education develops manpower for different levels of the economy. It is also the substrate on which research and development flourish, being the ultimate guarantee of national self-reliance.
3.5 India has always worked for peace and understanding between nations, treating the whole world as one family. True to this hoary tradition, Education has to strengthen this world view and motivate the younger generations for international co-operation and peaceful co-existence. This aspect cannot be neglected.
3.7 Minimum levels of learning will be laid down for each stage of education. Steps will also be taken to foster among students an understanding of the diverse cultural and social systems of the people living in different parts of the country. Besides the promotion of the link language, programmes will also be launched to increase substantially the translation of books from one language to another and to publish multi-lingual dictionaries and glossaries. The young will be encouraged to undertake the rediscovery of India, each in his own image and perception.
Reorganisation of Education at Different Stages
Early Childhood Care & Education
5.1 The National Policy on Children specially emphasises investment in the development of young child, particularly children from sections of the population in which first generation learners predominate.
5.2 Recognising the holistic nature of child development, viz., nutrition, health and social, mental, physical, moral and emotional development, Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) will receive high priority and be suitably integrated with the Integrated Child Development Services programme, wherever possible. Day-care centres will be provided as a support service for universalisation of primary education, to enable girls engaged in taking care of siblings to attend school and as a support service for working women belonging to poorer sections.
5.7 [Provision will be made of essential facilities in primary schools. The scope of Operation Blackboard will be enlarged to provide three reasonably large rooms that are usable in all weather, and black boards, maps, charts, toys, other necessary learning aids and school library. At least three teachers should work in every school, the number increasing, as early as possible, to one teacher per class. At least 50 per cent of teachers recruited in/future should be women. The Operation Blackboard will be extended to upper primary stage also. Construction of school buildings will be a priority charge on JRY funds]*.
5.10 Effective steps will be taken to provide a framework for the curriculum on the lines of the national core curriculum, but based on the needs of the learners and related to the local environment. Learning material of high quality will be developed and provided free of charge to all pupils. NFE programmes will provide participatory learning environment, and activities such as games and sports, cultural programmes, excursions, etc.
5.11 [The Government will take over-all responsibility for this vital sector. Voluntary agencies and Panchayati Raj institutions will take much of the responsibility of running NFE programmes. Theprovision of funds to these agencies will be adequate and timely]. *
5.12 [The New Education Policy will give the highest priority to solving the problem of children dropping out of school and will adopt an array of meticulously formulated strategies based on micro-planning, and applied at the grass roots level all over the country, to ensure children's retention at school. This effort will be fully co-ordinated with the network of non-formal education. It shall be ensured that free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality is provided to all children upto 14 years of age before we enter the twenty-first century. A national mission will be launched for the achievement of this goal]. *
5.13 [Secondary education begins to expose students to the differentiated roles of science, the humanities and social sciences. This is also an appropriate stage to provide children with a sense of history and national perspective and give them opportunities to understand their constitutional duties and rights as citizens. Access to secondary education will be widened with emphasis on enrolment of girls, SCs and STs, particularly In science, commerce and vocational streams. Boards of Secondary Education will be reorganised and vested with autonomy so that their ability to improve the quality of secondary education is enhanced. Effort will be made to provide computer literacy in as many secondary level institutions as possible so that the children are equipped with necessary computer skills to be effective In the emerging technological world. A proper understanding of the work ethos and of the values of a humane and composite culturewill be brought about through appropriately formulated curricula. Vocationalisation through specialised institutions or through the refashioning of secondary education will, at this stage, provide valuable manpower for economic growth]. *
Higher education provides people with an opportunity to reflect on the critical social, economic, cultural, moral and spiritual issues facing humanity. It contributes to national development through dissemination of specialised knowledge and skills. It is therefore a crucial factor for survival. Being at the apex of the educational pyramid, it has also a key role in producing teachers for the education system.
In the context of the unprecedented explosion of knowledge, higher education has to become dynamic as never before, constantly entering uncharted areas.
There are around 150 universities and about 5,000 colleges in India today. In view of the need to effect an all round improvement in the institutions, it is proposed that, in the near future, the main emphasis will be on the consolidation of, and expansion of facilities in, the existing institutions.
Urgent steps will be taken to protect the system from degradation.
In view of mixed experiences with the system of affiliation, autonomous colleges will be helped to develop in large numbers until the affiliating system is replaced by a freer and more creative association of universities with colleges. Similarly, the creation of autonomous departments within universities on a selective basis will be encouraged. Autonomy and freedom will be accompanied by accountability.
Courses and programmes will be redesigned to meet the demands of specialisation better. Special emphasis will be laid on linguistic competence. There will be increasing flexibility in the combination of courses.
State level planning and .co-ordination of higher education will be done through Councils of Higher Education. The UGC and these Councils will develop coordinative methods to keep a watch on standards.
5.33 [Research in Indology, the humanities and social sciences will receive adequate support. To fulfil the need for the synthesis of knowledge, inter-disciplinary research will be encouraged. Efforts will be made to delve into India's ancient fund of knowledge and to relate it to contemporary reality. This effort will imply the development of facilities for the intensive study of Sanskrit and other classical languages. An autonomous Commission will be established to foster and improve teaching, study and research in Sanskrit and other classical languages.]*
5.42 The new pattern of the Rural University will be consolidated and developed on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi's revolutionary ideas on education so as to take up the challenges of micro- planning at grassroots levels for the transformation of rural areas. Institutions and programmes of Gandhian basic education will be supported.
Technical and Management
6.1 Although the two streams of technical and management education are functioning separately, it is essential to look at them together, in view of their close relationship and complementary concerns. The reorganisation of Technical and Management Education should take into account the anticipated scenario by the turn of the century, with specific reference to the likely changes in the economy, social environment, production and management processes, the rapid expansion of knowledge and the great advances in science and technology.
6.7 In order to increase the relevance of management education, particularly in the non corporate and under-managed sectors, the management education system will study and document the Indian experience and create a body of knowledge and specific educational programmes suited to these sectors.
Management Functions and Change
In view of the likely emergence of changes in management systems and the need to equip students with the ability to cope with them, effective mechanisms will be devised to understand the nature and direction of change per se and to develop the important skill of managing change.
In view of the integrated nature of the task, the Ministry of Human Resource Development will co-ordinate the balanced development of engineering, vocational and management education as well as the education of technicians and craftsmen.
Professional societies will be encouraged and enabled to perform their due role in the advancement of technical and management education.
Making the System Work
7.1 It is obvious that these and many other new tasks of education cannot be performed in a state of disorder. Education needs to be managed in an atmosphere of utmost intellectual rigour, seriousness of purpose and, at the same time, of freedom essential for innovation and creativity. While far-reaching changes will have to be incorporated in the quality and range of education, the process of introducing discipline into the system will have to be started, here and now, in what exists.
7.2 The country has placed boundless trust in the educational system. The people have a right to expect concrete results. The first task is to make it work. All teachers should teach and all students study.
7.3 The strategy in this behalf will consist of -
a. better deal to teachers with greater accountability;
b. provision of improved students services and insistence on observance of acceptable norms of behaviour;
c. provision of better facilities to institutions; and
d. creation of a system of performance appraisals of institutions according to standards and norms set at the National or State levels.
Reorienting the Content and Process of Education
The Cultural Perspective
8.1 The existing schism between the formal system of education and the country's rich and varied cultural traditions need to be bridged. The preoccupation with modern technologies cannot be allowed to sever our new generations from the roots in India's history and culture. De-culturisation, de-humanisation and alienation must be avoided at all costs. Education can and must bring about the fine synthesis between change-oriented technologies and the country's continuity of cultural tradition.
8.2 The curricula and processes of education will be enriched by cultural content in as many manifestations as possible. Children will be enabled to develop sensitivity to beauty, harmony and refinement. Resource persons in the community, irrespective of their formal educational qualifications, will be invited to contribute to the cultural enrichment of education, employing both the literate and oral traditions of communication. To sustain and carry forward the cultural tradition, the role of old masters, who train pupils through traditional modes will be supported and recognised.
8.3 Linkages will be established between the university system and institutions of higher learning in art, archaeology, oriental studies, etc. Due attention will also be paid to the specialised disciplines of Fine Arts, Museology, Folklore, etc. Teaching, training and research in these disciplines will be strengthened so as to replenish specialised manpower in them.
8.4 The growing concern over the erosion of essential values and an increasing cynicism in society has brought to focus the need for readjustments in the curriculum in order to make education a forceful tool for the cultivation of social and moral values.
8.5 In our culturally plural society, education should foster universal and eternal values, oriented towards the unity and integration of our people. Such value education should help eliminate obscurantism, religious fanaticism, violence, superstition and fatalism.
8.6 Apart from this combative role, value education has a profound positive content, based on our heritage, national and universal goals and perceptions. It should lay primary emphasis on this aspect.
Education and Environment
There is a paramount need to create a consciousness of the environment. It must permeate all ages and all sections of society, beginning with the child. Environmental consciousness should inform teaching in schools and colleges. This aspect will be integrated in the entire educational process.
[Population education must be viewed as an important part of the nation's strategy to contain the growth of population. Starting at the primary and secondary levels with inculcation of consciousness about the looming crisis due to expansion of population, educational programmes should actively motivate and inform youth and adults about family planning and responsible parenthood.}*
Science education will be strengthened so as to develop in the child well defined abilities and values such as the spirit of Inquiry, creativity, objectivity, the courage to question, and an aesthetic sensibility.
Science education programmes will be designed to enable the learner to acquire problem solving and decision making skills and to discover the relationship of science with health, agriculture, industry and other aspects of daily life. Every effort will be made to extend science education to the vast numbers who have remained outside the pale of formal education.
[As a system, which promotes an integrated development of body and mind, Yoga will receive special attention. Efforts will be made to introduce Yoga in all schools. To this end, it will be introduced in teacher training courses.]*
The Role of Youth
Opportunities will be provided for the youth to Involve themselves in national and social development through educational institutions and outside them. Students will be required to participate In one or the other of existing schemes, namely, the National Service Scheme, National Cadet Corps, etc. Outside the Institutions, the youth will be encouraged to take up programmes of development, reform and extension. The National Service Volunteer Scheme will be strengthened.
9.1 The status of the teacher reflects the socio-cultural ethos of a society; it is said that no people can rise above the level of its teachers. The Government and the community should endeavour to create conditions, which will help motivate and inspire teachers on constructive and creative lines. Teachers should have the freedom to innovate, to devise appropriate methods of communication and activities relevant to the needs and capabilities of and the concerns of the community.
The Management of Education
10.1 An overhaul of the system of planning and the management of education will receive high priority. The guiding considerations will be:
a. Evolving a long-term planning and management perspective of education and its integration with the country's developmental and manpower needs;
b. Decentralisation and the creation of a spirit of autonomy for educational institutions;
c. Giving pre-eminence to people's involvement, including association of non-governmental agencies and voluntary effort;
d. Inducting more women in the planning and management of education;
e. Establishing the principle of accountability in relation to given objectives and norms.
10.2 The Central Advisory Board of Education will play a pivotal role in reviewing educational development, determining the changes required to improve the system and monitoring implementation. It will function through appropriate Committees and other mechanisms created to ensure contact with, and co-ordination among, the various areas of Human Resource Development. The Departments of Education at the Centre and in the States will be strengthened through the involvement of professionals.
Indian Education Service
10.3 A proper management structure in education will entail the establishment of the Indian Education Service as an All-India Service. It will bring a national perspective to this vital sector. The basic principles, functions and procedures of recruitment to this service will be decided in consultation with the State Governments.
12.1 The future shape of education in India is too complex to envision with precision. Yet, given our tradition, which has almost always put high premium on intellectual and spiritual attainment, we are bound to succeed in achieving our objectives.
12.2 The main task is to strengthen the base of the pyramid, which might come close to a billion people at the turn of the century. Equally, it is important to ensure that those at the top of the pyramid are among the best in the world. Our cultural well springs had taken good care of both ends in the past; the skew set in with foreign domination and influence. It should now be possible to further intensify the nation-wide effort in Human Resource Development, with Education playing its multifaceted role.