On National Education Day, here’s a look at the recent reforms in India

On National Education Day, here’s a look at the recent reforms in India

Today, India celebrates the National Education Day 2019 to mark the birth anniversary of the country’s first Education Minister Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad.

In September 2008, the Human Resource and Development Ministry declared November 11 as the National Education Day.

Maulana, who shaped the scientific research and education system believed that schools are laboratories that will shape the future of the country.
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He established the country’s first elite engineering college — Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He also founded the University Grants Commission (UGC), Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) among others.

Here are the educational reforms that India witnessed in the recent times.

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1. MBBS doctors will no longer need extra exams for licences, or for PG admissions

1. MBBS doctors will no longer need extra exams for licences, or for PG admissions

The Union Cabinet passed the National Medical Commission Bill (NMC) in July 2019. Under this, the students will be admitted based on score in the common final year MBBS exam, which will be known as National Exit Test (NEXT). This means that the medical aspirants will no longer have to go through a separate examination to secure a licence to practice medicine, or to enroll in postgraduate programmes.


NEXT will also be considered as a screening test for foreign medical aspirants.

2. Scholarship for minority students

2. Scholarship for minority students

Indian government introduced ₹50 million scholarship for minority students — catering to all students in the economically-weaker sections. Half of the total amount of scholarship will be dedicated to girls.


Under this, the government will provide free coaching to students to prepare for competitive exams in — railways, banking and Staff Selection Commission.

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3. Indian schools to set-up vegetable gardens for experiential learning

3. Indian schools to set-up vegetable gardens for experiential learning

The government has asked schools — both in rural and urban areas — to set up nutrition gardens to promote experiential learning at schools and instill the habit of growing vegetables and fruits in students.


This will also help turning mid-day meals more nutritious.

4. Common entrance test for 15 central universities

4. Common entrance test for 15 central universities

The National Testing Agency (NTA) will conduct the national-level examination for 15 central universities across Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka among others. The test will be conducted for over 300 undergraduate, postgraduate courses and Ph.D. programmes.


Earlier, the Central University Common Entrance Test (CUCET) was conducted by the University of Rajasthan every year. And 10 central universities accepted the scores.

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5. NCERT proposes ‘no exams’ for preschoolers

5. NCERT proposes ‘no exams’ for preschoolers

To ease the burden on the youngest of students, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) announced that preschool children should not be made to sit for examinations — written or oral. The assessment should not be categorised as ‘pass’ or ‘fail,’ it said.


It insists on using anecdotal records, checklists, portfolios and interactions with students to track performance.

6. India increased the school education budget in 2019

6. India increased the school education budget in 2019

Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman allocated ₹938 billion towards the education fund this year — for schools and higher education programmes.It increased the school education budget this year with a ₹500 billion fund.


However, the higher education budget allocated for prominent institutions including Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) saw a drop.

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7. ‘Study in India’ programme,’ focussed to bring foreign students to study in India’s higher education institutions.

7. ‘Study in India’ programme,’ focussed to bring foreign students to study in India’s higher education institutions.

In July 2019, the government announced a ‘Study in India’ programme which will be focussed to bring foreign students to study in India’s higher education institutions. It will focus to impart skills in technologies like — Virtual Reality, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data,and Robotics — to promote higher remuneration.


Under this, the government will infuse ₹400 crores to build world class institutions, which is three times the revised estimates of the previous year.

8. The draft New Education Policy

8. The draft New Education Policy

The draft National Education Policy proposes to bypass M. Phil degree programme and allow students to pursue PhD directly after a four-year undergraduate. “Undertaking a Ph.D shall require either a master’s degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree with research," Mint reported citing the final draft.


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But more needs to be done…

But more needs to be done…

Indian universities are yet to mark its presence on a global scale. While the number of institutions on the list increased compared to last year, the international rank of Indian institutions slipped further, with only six universities ranking in the top 500.


Among the Indian institutions are Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indore and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, according to Times Higher Education (THE) rankings.