Governance in India
- Government Agencies
- Policy and Plans
The Ministry of Human Resource Development consists of the Department of School Education, and Literacy and the Department of Higher Education. Its aim is to foster life long learning and development within the country, through the integration of the tools for which are needed to achieve this. It has control over institutional education, scholarships, languages and minority education. The Central Board of Secondary Education is the backbone of the institutional secondary education system of the country. It is in charge of conducting national examinations, and runs the schools accredited to the central education system.
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Tel: +91 11 2 338 3936
Minister: Smriti Zubin Irani
Secretaries: Rajarshi Bhattacharya (school education and literacy);
Ashok Thakur (higher education)
Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations
Tel: +91 11 2628 5170
All India Council for Technical Education
Tel: 91 11 23724151
Chair: Prof S S Mantha
Public spending on education was 3 per cent of GDP in 2011.
The Vision 2020 report – published by the Planning Commission in December 2002 – provides the framework for development planning. The Twelfth Five-Year Plan covers the period 2012-17 and was prepared in 2012 after nationwide consultations by organisations representing citizens’ groups, notably women’s, dalits’ and youth organisations.
When it came into force in April 2010, the Right to Education Act gave effect to the guarantee in the constitution of the right to free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of six and 14. The act requires government schools to provide free education to all admitted children, and private schools to admit at least 25 per cent of children free of charge. Differently from some 135 other countries where primary education is enshrined as a fundamental right, in India the onus is on government to see that all children are enrolled in and complete primary school. In 2011 there were calls for the right of free education to be extended to the secondary level, to the age of 16; and to preschool education.
Education was seen in the Twelfth Plan as the most important lever for social, economic and political transformation. The Eleventh Plan addressed the need for expanding the capacity of the school system and improving quality of education, as key instruments for achieving faster and inclusive growth. Spurred by the Right to Education Act, by 2012 there had been a sharp increase in school enrolment particularly in rural areas and especially girls, but in preparing the Twelfth Plan it was recognised that there remained the challenge of improving quality. The key to this was seen as better trained and more motivated teachers, and upgraded curricula. Following the increase of primary school enrolment, expansion of secondary-level capacity became a priority for the Twelfth Plan. In higher education, capacity was to be increased further and the state universities were to be revitalised.
India is one of the 35 countries implementing the UNESCO Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (2006-15), a strategic framework through which national governments, civil society, and bilateral and multilateral agencies collaborate to accelerate literacy programmes and support achievement of a 50 per cent improvement in national adult literacy rates by 2015.
India hosted the Second Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in 1962. Commonwealth education ministers meet every three years to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest.
An Indian primary education initiative, Udaan, was selected as a finalist in the 2006 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards. It was set up to provide accelerated learning for drop-out and never-enrolled girls in a remote region of Uttar Pradesh. It emphasised gender equity and diversity and was subsequently introduced in the formal school system.
In January 2009, the Mumbai Municipal Teachers’ Association’s Adolescent Girls Health Education Programme was selected as a finalist in the 2009 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards. The association had carried out a survey that revealed that one of the reasons for girls’ absenteeism from school was lack of information about their menstruation cycle and hygiene. The programme provided health education to 200,000 girls, aged 8-14 years, and reduced the high levels of absenteeism among adolescent girls in more than 1,100 schools
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