The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has on December 27 released its year-end review and called 2017 a landmark year in the field of education, saying that the vision 'Education For All & Quality Education' guided policy actions and decisions enabling transformation that emphasized upon making education Available, Accessible, Affordable and Accountable.
The year-end review of the MHRD highlights some of the major changes that were introduced to bring transformation in the education system in the country.
With focus on quality education, the rules to the RTE Act were amended in February 2017 to include — for the first time — the class wise, subject wise Learning Outcomes till Class VIII.
The MHRD has developed Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the elementary stage.
Over 21 states and UTs, including Jammu and Kashmir, have incorporated the Learning Outcomes in their State Rules and rest of the states are expected to complete it by the end of this year.
National Achievement Survey 2017-18
Known as the largest sample surveys of student learning achievement, around 22 lakh students from around 1,10,000 schools across 700 districts of the country (including rural and urban) were assessed under the National Achievement Survey (NAS) in the year 2017-18.
The NAS which was earlier based on textbook content is now a competency based evaluation.
Teacher Education programme
Many major reforms were taken by the MHRD under Teacher Education programme to improve the quality of education, teachers and teaching process.
A four-year B Ed integrated programme for pre-primary, elementary, secondary and senior secondary teachers was introduced.
The MHRD has in 2017 developed a guideline on strengthening of District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs). All the states were asked to do a district wise analysis before considering a reconceptualization of DIETs as per the models proposed in the MHRD Guideline on DIETs.
Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) was launched on September 5, 2017 with the objective to accelerate and amplify solutions, experiments and innovations in the areas of teacher training and professional development.
The Amendment to the Section 23(2) of the RTE Act to extend the period for training of untrained in-service elementary teachers to March 31, 2019 was passed by both the houses of Parliament on August 1, 2017 as the focus was on improving the quality of elementary education, quality of teachers and teaching processes.
Distribution of tablets in Kendriya Vidyalayas
To facilitate easy classroom interaction, the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan has initiated a project to connect students and their teachers through tablets preloaded with relevant e-content.
Under this project, students of Class VIII in 25 Kendriya Vidyalayas (one KV from each region) will be provided with good quality Tablets and about 5000 students and teachers will be involved in this project.
Enhanced allocation of SSA funds
The allocation of SSA funds to states and UTs was revised and enhanced 30 % in 2017 for components related to entitlements and promoting quality education in schools. It is expected this will further increase to around 40% by April, 2018.
Distribution of 6 crore NCERT textbooks
With the objective to facilitate individuals, schools, states and UTs to directly purchase textbooks, NCERT launched a portal in August, 2017 and has by December 11, 2017, received orders from 3524 schools for 1.56 crore copies. The NCERT expects to print and distribute over 6 crore textbooks by June, 2018.
New Education Policy
Keeping in mind the transformed landscape of education in the country, the MHRD is formulating a New Education Policy after nearly 30 years.
A Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy has been constituted by the MHRD to examine the outcome documents, recommendations and suggestions received and formulate a draft on National Education Policy as well as a Framework for Action.
National Academic Depository (NAD)
With the objective to bring administrative and academic reforms in delivering efficient services to all stakeholders, the MHRD has launched the National Academic Depository (NAD) July 9, 2017.
It is an online store-house of academic awards (degrees, diplomas, certificates, mark-sheets etc) lodged by the academic institutions / school boards / eligibility assessment bodies in a digital format.
National Digital Library (NDL)
Under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), the MHRD has established the National Digital Library (NDL) with the objective to host a national repository of existing e-content available across educational institutions in the country and e-content developed under NMEICT.
The objective of the project is to integrate all the existing digitized and digital contents across educational and cultural institutions/bodies to provide a single-window access to different groups of users ranging across the entire population.