Union Minister of Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan has said that the ministry will review the recommendations made in the ‘White Paper’ which focuses on reforms in education, yet-to-be released by Anant International University. The ‘White Paper’ devised by 27 delegates from 13 countries is expected to address critical challenges and plausible solutions to deliver high-quality education in India. “We invite recommendations on behalf of the government of India from the White Paper to build a better education model alongside the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020,” Pradhan said at the event ‘Future of Learning Collaborative’ organised by Anant International University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, USA.
Affordability and accessibility of high quality education were some of the key concerns discussed at the event. “In India, we have established E-Vishwa Vidyalaya, an educational model to make quality education available for all. Our premier institutes such as IIT Madras have started two courses – BS Data Science and Electronic System online. These courses are examples of India’s affordable quality education model,” Pradhan told FE Education Online.
Besides, the need to strengthen the regulatory framework in the education sector and the need to bring in transparency and credibility in the assessment systems were highlighted too. Recently, several reports flagged serious lapses in the functioning of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) that grades Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country. “We have set up a committee headed by Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, IIT Council Chairman and former ISRO chairman, who will submit a report on the issue.” The observations made by the previous panel led by J P Singh Joorel, director, Inflibnet will also be considered by UGC, Pradhan added.
Meanwhile, the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar pointed out the limited number of seats available for higher education in the country. According to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021 report, the number of colleges is 31, when mapped to per lakh eligible population between the age-group of 18 to 23 years old. “It is important to massify higher education. India has set a goal for itself to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50% by 2035. This in turn will build up better economic systems and help in investing public funds into educating more people,” he said.