CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government's attempt to bring state-owned education policy has come to an interesting stage where the high-level committee almost completed its formalities including getting feedback from the stakeholders.
However, the academicians and educationists, who came out with their suggestions and feedback, defer each other with a few factions wanting the state government to adopt National Education Policy (NEP-2020) by bringing a three-language policy while others demand that there should be an exclusive state policy.
The government, which formed a high-level committee recently, has asked the panel to work on ex-amination reforms, reforms in faculty recruitment and training, and suggest ways to incorporate life skills, soft skills, creative skills, language skills, and social justice values as part of the broad spectrum of education.
The committee has also been asked to suggest ways to improve the quality of research in Higher Education Institutions (HEI), and to suggest ways to tap resources from all funding agencies from India and abroad. Accordingly, the committee will submit a comprehensive report within a year and it is authorized to form a sub-committee during the time of drafting the state education policy.
Asserting that the state would adopt only a two-language policy, both School Education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi and Higher Education minister K Ponmudy also indicated that the good aspects of NEP will also be considered by the state government.
Job on hand for the expert committee
The expert panel, headed by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, D Murugesan, had organized public hearings in important cities including Chennai, Tiruchy, Madurai, Tiruvarur, and Tirunelveli at the respective collector offices. Similarly, feedback and suggestions were also received from various teachers' and faculty associations across the State.
A senior government official, who assist the panel, said the public hearing will also be taken and would be merged with the feedback and suggestion data for the final compiling of the draft policy.
Pointing out that once the public suggestions and feedback from the experts have been scrutinized, the panel members will first look into making school education policy, and then they would concentrate on higher education, the official said the final draft policy will be ready by this year-end.
He said the committee has also been asked to suggest ways to improve the quality of research in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and to suggest ways to tap resources from all funding agencies from India and abroad.
Pointing out that the final draft policy will be ready by this year-end, he said amendments will be made to the draft policy according to the requirements and the final policy document will be ready at the beginning of next year. The official said that the authorities were keen on implementing the State Education Policy perhaps from the next academic year.
Academicians defer each other in School Education policy
KR Nandhakumar, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Private Nursery, Primary, Matriculation, Higher Secondary, and CBSE Schools, representing his association, met the expert committee and demanded three-language formula since the students will have the choice to learn other languages. He also suggested that the authorities fully go through the NEP as it has several good aspects."If there is a separate state policy, the students here will be isolated from other state education", he said and claimed that students were keenly interested to learn a third language as per their choice.
Pitching in for a separate state education policy, G Rajasekaran, state president, of Tamil Nadu Correspondent Welfare Association for Private schools said that the state education policy should not inferior to NEP.
Stating that the welfare schemes should also be extended to private school students, he said a common education should be introduced for all boards. He said, "the state education policy should make the students, who want to pursue higher education, appear for the exams conducted by National Testing Agency". Rajasekaran said the state should give importance to the mother tongue in all the schools and the government should also ensure giving protection to private institutions.
State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN), general secretary, P.B Prince Gajendra Babu said the Uniform System of School Education Act (USSE Act) created a common syllabus styled as “Samacheerkalvi” for all the four boards of school education under the state control and the education policy of the state should be in this regard.
Stating that presently there is no scheme whereby a student is assisted in taking an informed decision while he is choosing a specific course at his higher secondary level, he said the policy should evolve into a system of counseling where the children are guided to select appropriate courses in their higher secondary stage and while joining higher education. "So that there is an equitable distribution of talents in all fields and no talent is wasted", he added.
Urging the State government to adopt NEP-2020, former Anna University Vice-Chancellor E. Balagurusamy has suggested that amendments could be made to NEP, that suit the state. "Adopting NEP will help the students from the state not to lag behind their counterparts in other states", he added.
He claimed that the national education policy does not insist that students learn a particular language. "Learning a third language will only benefit the students", he said. Balagurusamy also said that Tamil Nadu is the only state in the country that has been denying the students to learn other languages. He said learning only two languages will also affect rural students.
Opposing the NEP, Dr N Pasupathy, a member of the Association of University Teachers (AUT) only state education policy will suit the students in Tamil Nadu. "Apart from allocating more funds for the higher education sector in the State, the education policy should also set up new colleges and universities besides establishing research centers", he said the government shou