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Education Policy Statement

Further to the point that Arvind raised, I have put together the 
following statement which represents macroscopic interests and devotes 
little space to the minutae of how the policy might be broken down. 
Review Board members please vet. Perhaps, at a later stage, 
sub-committees can create extensive guidelines from these policies to 
provide more specific statements. I tend to agree with Arvind that at 
this stage, the policy must reflect a position we take more than 
anything else. Here goes. 

IndiaPolicy Institute Education Policy Statement, September 1998

By acquiring skills needed to obtain challenging and rewarding 
positions, individuals strive to better their economic and social 
conditions. The primary purpose of education, therefore, is to help 
citizens obtain the requisite skills, so that they may empower and 
inform themselves for their personal gain.  Alongside this, education 
must also impart a sense of obligation, so that through their education, 
students receive not only the abilities to act in the greater interest 
of society, but more importantly the willingness to do so.

What role shall government play in achieving these ends? First, it must 
be recognized that it is the interest of the people that must guide the 
policies formulated and/or enacted by government. To this end, 
government must liberalize the learning process so that a fuller 
expression of the people's interests is possible. And further to 
facilitating this, government shall also provide the organizational 
framework needed to ensure that the education system creates a confident 
and concerned citizenry.

The interests of the people lie in ensuring that:

(a) everyone has affordable access to the facilities for education

(b) the specific objectives they seek remain within their abilities to 
shape and further. Further, that the creativity and enterprise needed to 
remain competitive are not stifled.

(c) those who teach our children are competent, and that they 
continually strive to keep themselves informed of the latest 
developments in their disciplines. Further, that those who serve this 
ideal well be recognized for their efforts.

(d) those who are authorized to create policies/standards for these 
purposes remain answerable to parents as well as accountable for their 
performance to the entire society.

Consistent with the above interests, the following specific policies are 
sought to be adopted and/or implemented.

(a) Education shall be among the fundamental rights of all citizens, and 
schooling up to graduation from high school or its equivalent shall not 
be denied to any citizen.. Further, every school shall be required to 
have the basic minimum facilities necessary for good education.

    6% of Gross Domestic Product shall be allocated for education. 
School lunch programs be set up to offset poverty's role in continuing 
illiteracy. Need-based loans to attend institutions of higher learning 
shall be made available.

    The funds allotted a child's education may nevertheless be used for 
education in a non-government school.

    Education shall be imparted in languages most appropriate to the 
matter being taught. Education in English shall be encouraged in those 
disciplines where the competitive interest demands this, and education 
in native languages shall be preferred in other disciplines. The 
educational policies must take advantage of the languages already known 
to the people, to permit the fastest transition to a fully literate 

(b) Responsibility for providing education must lie as close to the 
people as possible. The states, and not the center, shall bear the 
responsibility to provide education. Further, the administration of 
school boards and individual schools be elected/appointed by local 
governments at the level of panchayats for specific and renewable terms.

    Education by private schools is not only permissible, but 
preferable. Despite this, government remains obliged to provide 
education in all areas where no private parties are forthcoming to 
assume the responsibility.

    All schools, regardless of ownership, shall receive funding from the 
government. However, this does not vest government with the power to 
manage them in any way. Funds are to be provided to private schools only 
so that the obligation to fund every child's education at a minimum 
level is met.

    The creation of private universities must be encouraged. This is 
necessary not only to ensure creative and dynamic functioning at the 
highest levels, but also to enable government to downsize its huge 
commitment to higher education in favor of primary education.

    The educational process shall be modified to permit alternate 
streams of education. i.e., vocational and technical institutions which 
are better suited to teach specific topics than formal schools and 
universities should be encouraged. Students in high schools should be 
made aware of their options, so that they may make their choices in a 
more informed manner.

    The conceptualization and creation of new programs shall be 
encouraged. Curricula in all programs shall be reviewed and updated at 
specified intervals. Input for this process shall be sought from 
industry as much as from academia.

(c) Educators shall be recognized as guardians of the future, and their 
compensation shall reflect the responsibility we vest in them. Able 
teachers shall be recognized and rewarded in both material and honorable 

    Every opportunity shall be made available for teachers to better 
themselves. Programs that facilitate this process shall be encouraged, 
and incentives for participating in them shall be established or 
encouraged. Standardized teacher education programs shall be set up in 
all school districts.

    Educators who rise above the call of duty shall be especially 
honored and rewarded. Participation in adult education programs, service 
in remote areas with poor track records in education, etc. must be 
    A process of repeated assessment be created to ensure that teachers 
remain interested in apprising themselves of the latest developments in 
their fields. Term-limited appointments which can be reviewed based on 
performance shall be preferred to lifetime employment or tenure.
(d) The educational standards that schools be required to maintain shall 
be established with the full participation of parents, not merely by the 
authority of administrative bodies. Appointments to such 
standards-making bodies shall be made by state governments, the center, 
local governments, and parents' groups equally.
    The financial conduct of school boards and other entities providing 
educational services shall be audited regularly and transparently. All 
funds used for education shall be accounted for by those entrusted with 
their proper use, and all such information shall be available publicly.
    Panchayats shall appoint supervisors who shall be accountable for 
the operation of schools within the jurisdiction of the panchayat. 
Contractual appointments shall be made to such supervisory positions.

The enactment and implementation of these policies will achieve the one 
objective on which everything else rests, the creation of a society 
whose members confidently interact in a democratic setting toward their 
own betterment and for that of their fellow-citizens. Ultimately, these 
policies will create a citizenry which, acting in its own interest and 
retaining control close to it, create and manage the institutions 
through which it prepares for a better tomorrow.

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