Smriti Irani says won’t make education report public for now
New Delhi: Human resources development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani on Friday took a dig at former cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian who recently submitted a new education policy (NEP) report, saying she will not make the policy “the legacy of one individual”.
The five-member Subramanian committee submitted the report on 27 May to the HRD ministry, almost five months after it was set up.
Subramanian had written to the HRD ministry earlier this week, urging it to make the report public, and warned that he might do so himself.
Irani said she would not make the report public before sharing and receiving feedback from the states.
Reacting to questions during a press conference in New Delhi, she said: “I will only say that this education policy will not become a legacy of one individual who seeks a headline.”
Irani said her ministry had promised the states a say in the new policy. In fact, many states have already shared their views during the course of the report’s preparation.
“It is the property of 110,000 villages, over 5,000 blocks, over 500 districts, over 20 states that have given it to us with the confidence that any recommendation that comes to us will be shared with them before it is made a draft policy,” Irani told reporters.
Subramanian told the Press Trust of India after the minister’s press conference that the views of the states as well as the committee’s report were all inputs for drafting the education policy and added that “all of them should be in public space”. The new education policy report, among other things, recommends doing away with the no-fail policy in schools, at least partially, suggests reduction in regulatory hurdles, creation of an education cadre on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service, and better monitoring by private auditors, Mint reported on 28 May.
As the report is not public, any information about its contents is based on information from people familiar with the matter. Government officials say there are over 70 other suggestions in the report.
The new education policy, coming after a gap of almost three decades, is expected to give a new direction to the education sector in India, which has grown but suffers from quality concerns.
During her interaction with reporters, Irani spoke about several measures that her ministry has taken in the last two years. She said she is leveraging technology for enhancing quality of and access to education.
She said she has also spoken to foreign universities like the University of Pennsylvania, University of Edinburgh and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help state governments better their higher education syllabus if they so desired.