Prakash Javadekar
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi | Atul Yadav
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New Delhi: Officials in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) appear to be making the most of a break in work, thanks to the EC’s model code of conduct. They are set to take off for an outstation retreat-cum-conference with a singular aim — to discuss the “future of higher education”.

According to sources in the ministry, about 15 officials of the rank of joint secretary and above are going to Mussoorie in Uttarakhand on a three-day official retreat, where they will discuss higher education and come up with an action plan that the next government can follow.

The three-day trip has been planned from 21-24 April, said a senior official in the ministry who didn’t wish to be named.

“After we are back from the retreat we will release a plan on development of higher education that the next government can follow,” said the official.

Also readGovt plans higher education revamp — study at one university, get your degree from another

Plans under discussion

The official said that one of the plans to be discussed at the conference is ‘EQUIP’ — Educational Quality Improvement Programme — under which the government wants established educational institutions that are doing well to mentor new and non-performing institutions.

“The plan is still at the discussion stage and cannot be implemented for two months. But what we intend to do under the scheme is make established institutions handhold upcoming and non performing institutions and help them set up,” said the official.

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“For instance, the Hyderabad University is currently mentoring the University of Tribal Affairs that we are setting up in Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, under this plan, more such institutions will follow the lead,” added the official.

Once back from the retreat, the ministry is likely to announce a roadmap for the plan.

The retreat

Sources in the ministry said officials are also allowed to take their family on the retreat.

While retreats like these are not unheard of within the government set-up, they happen rarely and mostly during the lean period of government functioning.

In the HRD ministry, the last instance of an event like this was in 2017 when assembly elections were on in some states and a number of officials from the school education department had taken off for a retreat.

Also read: The Modi govt’s education reforms that could have been


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