Academy award winning filmmaker Michael Moore remarked, “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event. If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy”.
Verily, it is in lieu with the similar dictum that the Government of India has invited suggestions for the New Educational Policy from the citizens, a first of its kind when it comes to policy formulation, which would meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regard to quality education, innovation and research and also tackle the dearth in manpower in the field of science, technology, academics and industry alike.
However, it’s the time-bound grassroots consultative process of reaching out to individuals through over 2.75 lakh direct consultation and online feedback system which bears impress and would enable the HRD ministry to adjudge the true requirements of the citizens and their educational aspirations.
Time and time again, Smriti Irani too took the topic in her visits to several instititions and often talked about publicly on the issue.
In fact, 29,109 suggestions had already been received by 31 October 2015. And with the last date being 31 July 2016, the number is expected to grow significantly by the end of July 2016.
The National Policy on Education was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. Several changes in population dynamics, taken place since then have called for revision of the Policy, and which this New Education Policy seeks to address.
The grass root consultation process envisaged by the central government aims at involving inclusive, participatory and holistic approach which would be initiated at block level, moving upwards to district and state level for themes of higher education. Out of total 33 themes identified for discussions, 20 are reserved for Higher education sector.
The objective of the Consultation process through various such approaches is to ensure that expert opinions, field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback, as well as lessons from best practices are utilized to implement the most effective policy.
The HRD ministry website has already uploaded all the relevant documents on its website on its website, which would inform a citizen about all the details of the New Education Policy such as list of Nodal Officers for school and higher education, summary record of the discussions on the consultative process an d Consultation Process for the Policy among few.
The documents are available in 13 Indian languages for School Education and 12 for Higher (with the notable exception being Sanskrit).
This ennobling gesture towards the citizenry may well lead to the implementation of an efficacious policy on education which is the need of the hour for this country.