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Earlier a proposal for merging the IIT JEE and AIEEE and state joint entrance exams had been accepted by the IITs and the NITs of the country but five states had initially opposed the decision citing the difference in curriculum and marking schemes between the various central and state education boards as the reason. “Indian Statistical Institute has come up with a formula for calibrating the results of various state boards to equalize the results through a percentile system,” Sibal said.
“We have a system with main and advanced papers for the exam along with board exams on which emphasis is going to be kept. The autonomy is however left to institutions that whether they would consider the main or the advanced papers or both but only emphasis on board results will be made mandatory,” he said. Sibal, while occupying the podium at the seminar organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, harped on the idea of education being a “collaborative issue” requiring a “holistic approach” but because of “paralysis of policymakers” and “lack of flexibility” of educational bodies higher education poses a serious debacle for the future generations. “We had put forward as many as 14 legislations in the parliament but they have been lying there for almost two years because nobody wants to raise them or talk about them or even put them on the agenda,” he said. “Take the example of the educational malpractices bill which has faced tremendous opposition but all I asked in that bill was for the institutions to put up all the data about them on a website and if we ever find anything that does not match then that institution shall be penalized. "I wanted to do this because inspections are of no use because whenever a team goes to an institute they would rent furniture or teachers to satisfy our conditions,” Sibal said. Sibal reiterated the lack of academia interest and participation in the developmental processes “because each one us considers ourselves to be a recipient in the end” and asserted that “vested interests” of people in the governing councils of educational bodies resist changes. “The academic world needs to talk and come forward but no one is interested in doing anything other than blaming the government,” he said. “The university systems need to be flexible and there is a need to provide multidisciplinary education and for all this massive restructuring is required but the people in the councils, I am sorry to say, are guided by vested interests. They are more interested in maintaining the status quo,” Sibal remarked. On the topic of the “demographic dividend” of India in future Sibal asserted that most of such human resource “lies in areas like the Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the quality of education is the poorest.” “India will have one-third of the entire work force in the world but what will happen to these people if we cannot provide proper higher education or vocational training for them?,” Sibal said. Citing the need for skills development forged through industry and academia partnership Sibal urged the industry leaders “to be deeply involved with education.” “We need to develop a lot of skills for industries like infrastructure, hospitality and telecom. I know there has been a lot of initiative from industry with respect to hospitality industry but that is outside the framework. We need to bring that inside the framework,” he said. “We have had the industry frame the syllabus for the All India Council of Technical Education and I must say they have been very helpful and cooperative,” Sibal said. Sibal briefed the audience gathered on some of the novel initiatives taken up by the government to further the cause of skill development and educational progress. “I have set up a committee of State Education Ministers with the Bihar Education Minister as its head to identify special skills in their states which have been employing people for several generations so that we can bring them within the system of education,” he said. “We have created a National Knowledge Network so that information can easily flow from one university to another. In future I would like to bring this system to schools as well so that children can be spared of heavy bags of books and just carry the Akash to their classes,” Sibal said. Upon further query Sibal informed that the Akash is “in the testing phase” and depending” upon the reaction of students” the project shall be taken forward. Sibal denied having any knowledge on the “credit guarantee scheme” announced by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget which promises help for needy families to attain higher education.
Courtesy: India Blooms
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