Delhi's own school education board will be operational from next year onwards, says Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday. However, unlike other states, its rule will not be imposed on public schools, he said.
Sisodia also said that the board will be up-to-date with the latest National Education Policy which was released a few days back. The board will focus on continuous evaluation instead of the earlier practice of year-end exams.
Sisodia explained the plans for setting up the state education board in detail. "We have recently set up two committees for working on the proposed board as well as curriculum reforms. An ideal situation would be that we make it operational by next year. Initially, around 40 schools will be affiliated to the board, which could be either government or private," Sisodia told PTI.
"What happens in other state boards is that the private schools are free to make their choice whether they want to opt for CBSE, ICSE or state board, while government schools follow the state board. We will have no imposition. It will be optional for both government and private schools. We want to make the board so enriching and useful, that there is demand for it," he added.
Last month, the Delhi government had constituted two committees to prepare the scheme and framework for the formation of the education board and curriculum reforms.
The AAP dispensation had announced the plan to set up a separate board of education for the national capital in its annual budget in March.
Sisodia, who is also Delhi's Education Minister, said his government is studying the recently announced new education policy in detail.
"We are studying the policy in detail. We have already been working on some of the reforms proposed in it. There are a few anomalies but there are a few good things too. I have told the two committees that our board will be in sync with the NEP because as a nation we are together but the focus will not be on evaluating students once a year and encouraging rote learning in process," he said.
Asked about teaching in mother tongue or regional language proposed by the NEP, Sisodia said, "I totally agree that the medium of instruction should be the home langauge in the initial years so that foundation is strong but I believe it should be limited to foundation years or pre primary stage. Taking it up to class 5 is not a good idea."
Sisodia also came down heavily on the proposal of a common entrance exam for universities to be conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
"Why do we need this duplication? We already have so much focus on board exams and immediately after that we will have another exam? The focus only on exams will no way take the emphasis away from the rote learning. In my view, it has to be either of the exams," he said.
The NEP approved by the Union Cabinet last month replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education framed in 1986 and is aimed at paving the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems to make India a global knowledge superpower.
Teaching up to class 5 in mother tongue or regional language, lowering the stakes of board exams, a single regulator for higher education institutions except for law and medical colleges and common entrance tests for universities are part of the sweeping reforms in the new NEP.
Replacing the 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to age groups 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years respectively, scrapping M.Phil programmes and implementing common norms for private and public higher education institutions are among other salient features of the new policy.
Choice between 3 or 4 year undergraduate courses, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, adding 3.5 crore seats in higher education institutions, which will now have a single regulator, discontinuation of M.Phil programmes and fixation of fees are among the higher education reforms outlined in the new NEP.