Special Subject Group on
A POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR REFORMS IN EDUCATION
Summary of the report by Shri Mukesh Ambani (Convenor)
and Shri Kumarmangalam Birla (Member) for the
Prime Ministers Advisory Council on Trade and Industry
Education is universally recognised as an important investment in building human capital, which is a driver for technological innovation and economic growth. Education is becoming even more vital in the new world of information, where knowledge is rapidly replacing raw materials and labour as the most critical input for survival and success. India has to see education not just as a component of social development, but as a means of securing her future in an information society, resplendent with knowledge, research, creativity and innovation.
The challenge in education in India is to bridge the large divide between the education have nots and the haves, while simultaneously, radically upgrading education content, delivery and processes. Given the magnitude of the challenge and the complexities involved, this will call for a national mission unprecedented in the history of mankind.
Presently, literacy rates are not only low, but are also highly skewed on gender, state wise spread and urban-rural spread. Programmes and schemes launched by government to improve the education system have had varying degrees of success. India has excellent examples of institutions at all levels of education to demonstrate its capability, but below this elite crust there is not much to speak of. In the universe of education in India, one world includes a fortunate few with access to modern institutions and facilities. A second world of teachers, administrators, textbook publishers and students wants to maintain status quo. A third world struggles with fundamental issues on access to and availability of basic educational resources. India cannot hope to succeed in the information age on the back of three such disparate worlds.
The vision for education in India should be to create a competitive, yet co-operative, knowledge based society.
To achieve this vision, several reforms have to be initiated.
Looking into the future, the recurring expenditure on education in the year 2015 would be Rs 1,80,000 crores, at current prices. The capital expenditure would be Rs 88,900 crores spread over the next 15 years. These projections are three times the current expenditure. The total number of teachers in all sectors would have to more than double from the existing 49 lakhs.
The education sector in India needs not just reforms, but a revolution an information revolution. Just as the green revolution in agriculture ushered in high productivity and prosperity through the use of technology, a revolution in education that embraces information and communications technologies, fosters freedom and innovation and induces a market oriented competitive environment is vital for progress and prosperity in the information era.