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National education panel to be headed by PM unlikely now as states oppose it

Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog was proposed in National Education Policy draft as an apex body for education that would replace Central Advisory Board of Education.

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New Delhi: Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (RSA), an overarching education body proposed in the National Education Policy (NEP) draft — which was supposed to be headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is unlikely to see the light of the day after opposition from various states, ThePrint has learnt.

The RSA was proposed as an apex advisory body for education, which would have replaced the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest decision-making body for all matters related to higher and school education.

The proposal for RSA in the NEP draft says that every state will have its own Rajya Shiksha Ayog (RJSA), which will report to the RSA. 

A source in the HRD Ministry told ThePrint that during consultations with state governments, none of them agreed to the formation of the RJSA, which will make them subservient to the RSA. 

“States are not agreeing to the creation of RSA because it is meant to be an overarching body. The states said that once RSA comes into place, they will not have the freedom that they have currently,” said a senior HRD ministry official.

“Education being a concurrent subject, the states are free to take their own decisions. They felt RSA will change that.”

It seems unlikely now that the plan will materialise, the official said, adding that a number of other plans suggested in the draft are also not going to remain the same.

R. Subrahmanym, secretary, higher education, told ThePrint, “The matter is under consultation and not yet final.”

‘CABE was unable to keep up with radical changes’

According to the NEP draft, the CABE was needed to be replaced because it was unable to keep up with the radical changes, and it was an “ad hoc body that was unable to meet regularly”.

The RSA was supposed to do the job that CABE could not do. It was proposed that the RSA would have eminent educationists, researchers and leading professionals from the field of arts, science, business, health, agriculture and social work from India and abroad as its members.

The RSA was also supposed to be responsible for developing, articulating, evaluating and revising the vision of education on a continuous and sustained basis, and in close collaboration with the corresponding apex bodies of the states.

The committee headed by eminent scientist K. Kasturirangan, which formulated the NEP draft, had suggested that RSA be headed by PM Modi, but after consultations, the HRD ministry suggested that the HRD Minister should head the body.

According to the final NEP document, “The RSA will be chaired by the Minister of Education (HRD minister) and shall consist of 30 members.”

This document is yet to be approved by Cabinet.

Also read: Liberal arts universities on par with IITs, IIMs are next on Modi govt’s education plan


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