The Congress came to power with big promises this year (as all governments post all elections), and much to the credit of the academic party that it is, I am proud to say that I see hope for India, believing, rather optimistically, that Kapil Sibal’s proposed education reforms will be implemented.
I must confess that I am an Indian news channels’ addict, despite the trash that they feature and hype, and have followed all day, the vision of Kapil Sibal, India’s HRD minister and a Harvard alumni. My rants on education finally find some relief, at least in acceptance of the fact that our education system is a breeding ground for stress, due to its superficial emphasis on results. The man who led India’s first expedition to the Arctic and represented the country at the Davos economic forum, has now become the harbinger of relief in the Indian student life.
In an NDTV exclusive with Barkha Dutt, Kapil Sibal proposed the following:
- Scrap the compulsory class 10 board exam, for it is merely a source of unneeded pressure for both students and parents. For a student studying within the same institution, an internal assessment is sufficient to determine the subjects he must pursue further. However, a provision will be made for an optional all-India exam for students entering pre-university / junior college after class 10.
- Invite FDI in the education sector as India becomes an attractive economy. However, even big names like Harvard and Wharton must adhere to Indian norms, both in terms of fee, and reservations, strategically termed affirmative action by Mr Sibal. The latter is an argument I must reserve for a post which shall be featured soon.
- Improve the quality and standard of primary education in government schools, which by the Right to Education bill is meant to be free for all.
I am already smiling. When a learned man hits the nail right on its head and promises to bring about change, we know that the future of a nation is in safe hands. I am tempted to forget all the empty assurances ever given to us by our various governments, and watch in pride as our country is steered upon this new path.
This is only the beginning.