Since its people are its most significant resource, India needs to nurture and care for its billion-strong population by providing all citizens with primary education to improve their quality of life. Building solid educational foundations will enable our citizens to flourish holistically.
While the country's school education and literacy are developed by the Department of School Education & Literacy, one of the largest higher education systems in the world, just behind the US and China, is overseen by the Department of Higher Education.
The Department of Education focuses on "universalizing education" and raising our young generation to be better citizens. For this, a variety of new programs and initiatives are frequently implemented, and recently, those programs and efforts have also begun to bear fruit in the shape of rising enrollment in schools.
The 174th amendment of the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, was passed on September 26, 1985, establishing the Ministry of Education (MoE).
The MoE currently operates through two departments:
Department of School Education & Literacy
The growth of school education and literacy in the nation is the responsibility of the Department of School Education and Literacy. Various institutions like the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV), and textbook development committees like the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), all come under the Department of School Education and Literacy.
Department of Higher Education
Secondary and post-secondary education is overseen by the Department of Higher Education. On the recommendation of the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India, the department is authorized to confer presumed university status to educational institutions under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956. For Indian students to be competitive worldwide, the UGC Department is working on setting up top-tier institutions for higher education and research in the country. After the United States and China, the Department of Higher Education is responsible for one of the biggest higher education systems in the world.
Objectives of the Ministry of Education
The main objectives of the MoE include:
- Creating the National Policy on Education and ensuring it is carried out entirely
- Planning development that includes opening more doors and raising the caliber of educational facilities around the nation, particularly those in areas where people lack convenient access to schools
- Focusing mainly on underrepresented populations like the poor, women, and minorities
- Encouraging international collaboration in the sphere of education, particularly close collaboration with UNESCO, other governments, and universities, to improve the country's educational opportunities
- Making scholarships, loan subsidies, and other forms of financial assistance available to qualified students from underprivileged backgrounds
Ministry of Education Innovation Cell
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) established the Innovation Cell, now known as the MoE's Innovation Cell, in August 2018 to systematically promote the culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and startups in all significant higher education institutions in India.
Some National Level Events conducted by the MoE:
- Smart India Hackathon (SIH)
- Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA)
- Institution’s Innovation Council (IICs)
- National Innovation and Start-up Policy for Students and Faculties in Higher Educational Institutes (NISP)
- Innovation Ambassadors Program
- MBA/PGDM program in Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Venture Development (IEV)
National Ranking Framework
In April 2016, the first rankings of Indian colleges under the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) were released. The system of ranking institutes was developed in 2015. The entire ranking exercise involved NBA, AICTE, and UGC. All the central government institutions, including all central premium universities like IITs and IIMs, participated in the first round of ranking.
Key Programs and Campaigns of the MoE
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign seeks to improve the status of girls and the sex ratio while encouraging their school enrollment. The Department of School Education and Literacy assisted in the campaign launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" Abhiyan has established an award for school management committees that successfully transition girls to all stages of schooling.
UDAAN is a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) initiative to help underprivileged girls and other SC/ST and minority students transition from school to post-secondary professional education, particularly in Science and Mathematics. With a focus on three factors—curriculum design, transaction, and assessment—the initiative seeks to narrow the quality gap between secondary education and engineering education admittance systems.
The E-Library is envisioned as an online resource that will democratize access to information by guaranteeing that top-notch digital content from renowned educational institutions and central universities is available to everyone. Students, professionals in the workforce, and researchers from throughout the nation can quickly access the content via laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
National Education Policy (NEP)
The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986, which had been in place for 34 years, was replaced with the NEP 2020, the first education policy of the twenty-first century. The NEP, based on the fundamental pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability, is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The NEP seeks to transform India into a thriving knowledge society and a global knowledge superpower by enhancing both school and college education and making it more holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, appropriate for the needs of the 21st century, and focused on bringing out each student's talents.
Important Objectives of NEP
- Ensuring access for all students at all levels of schooling
- Early Childhood Care & Education: New Methodological and Curricular Framework for developing Basic Literacy and Numeracy
- Changes to the pedagogy and curriculum in schools
- Develop proficiency in one language and also promote multilingualism
- Education that is equitable and inclusive
- Robust recruitment and career path for teachers
Implementing pan-India reforms is a difficult challenge in a democratic nation like India with such a diverse population because of its complex political, economic, and social circumstances. The aforementioned initiatives show that the Indian government considers education reform to be one of its top objectives. To ensure that everyone has equal access to education, efforts are being made constantly to improve the Indian educational system.