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Major education reforms at advisory board meet

A meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest advisory body in the sector, here Saturday formed consensus on a bill for an apex regulator, considered a panel to remove hurdles to implemeting the right to education act and decided on a common curriculum for science and mathematics students across the country.



New Delhi: A meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), the highest advisory body in the sector, here Saturday formed consensus on a bill for an apex regulator, considered a panel to remove hurdles to implemeting the right to education act and decided on a common curriculum for science and mathematics students across the country.

The CABE met in the national capital Saturday with the National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) topping its agenda.
In a step ahead towards creating an apex regulator for higher education, a broad consensus on the issue appeared for the first time among the states.

"There is a broad consensus, not just on the structure but also on the purpose of the bill," Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal said.

Some states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana have expressed reservations to the bill. The central government has asked these states to submit their recommendations in writing in four weeks time.

The task force drafting the bill will take consider the recommendations, following which a final draft will be prepared and submitted to the government.

The NCHER bill aims at forming an apex regulator to oversee all streams of higher education, including those presently outside the scope of the HRD ministry.

While the bill already has medical and law education in its ambit, the task force has instructed the government to make necessary arrangements to include agricultural education as well.
Agriculture is presently out of the mandate of the bill as it is a state subject. Its inclusion in the NCHER can be done only after a constitutional amendment.

The CABE also decided to form a committee to look into the problems encountered by states in implementing the right to education act.

The states, meanwhile, demanded additional funds, citing financial difficulties.

"They have a problem of finance which will be considered," Sibal said.

The minister, however, added that the states were demanding the central government contribute upto 90 percent of the funds, which was not possible.

Among the major reforms introduced is a common curriculum for science and mathematics in Class 12 which will be introduced from the next academic session.

"A common curriculum for commerce will be submitted by Council of Boards of School Education in July," Sibal said.

The move aims at reducing the gap in education, especially between the state and central boards.
Other announcements made by the HRD minister included a bill for maintaining electronic records of degrees and a national framework for vocational education.

The minister said the bill for maintaining electronic records of degrees will be presented in the upcoming monsoon session of parliament.

The proposed National Vocational Qualification Framework will, however, be finalized only after consultations with all stakeholders.

"We will consult all stakeholders and submit the report back to CABE at earliest, so that it can be introduced in the coming monsoon session," Sibal said.

This was the 57th meeting of the board.

IANS

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