New Delhi : On Wednesday, Dharmendra Pradhan was made the new education minister following a cabinet reshuffle, which saw both Ramesh Pokhriyal and his deputy Sanjay Dhotro stepping down from the ministry.
The minister, petroleum and natural gas minister and steel minister in the central government, is a senior BJP leader and is considered close to the top leadership in the government. After today’s transformation, he will be in charge of both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Skill Development and Enterprise (MSDE). In the previous tenure of the NDA government (2014-15) the minister was also the minister of MSDD for a few years.
The hands of the new Minister of Education will be filled as he will lead the ministry in preparing the educated and efficient future of Indians. The new ministers will play a key role in implementing education reforms as promised in the new National Education Policy (NEP).
In addition, the new minister will need to make new appointments to top universities and institutions. At least a dozen central universities are awaiting the appointment of full-time vice-chancellors and are seeking guidance to fill thousands of vacancies, both teaching and non-teaching positions.
In the crucial school education space, the new minister and his team will be key to placing the four National Curriculum Framework (NCF) being developed by NCERT – on school education, early childhood, teacher education and adult education.
The NCF will be crucial for the development of new textbooks and for the formation of pedagogy before the new education policy is implemented across India. And school textbooks are a hot topic in India as any change in textbooks raises debates around nationalism, secularism and regional identity.
Last developed in 2005, India has an NCF, which is the backbone of school policy, teaching-learning model and provides outlines of new books and pedagogy. To roll out four NCFs, the NCERT under the Union Ministry of Education asks the states to develop regional level curriculum structures by considering discussions from the above districts, which will join the NCF.
The new Cabinet Minister in charge of education and the Minister of State for Education will need to be busy from day one to bring about reforms, they will also have to manage the education that is facing Covid-19 disruptions, learning deficits. , Digital fragmentation and economic inequalities.
And experts and academics say the change is an improvement for the government after the ministry failed to deliver on several fronts. KL Shyam Sundar, a professor and development economist at XLRI Jamshedpur, said, “There has been public outrage over the mistakes made in the functioning of ministries like education in Kovid-19 years.”
“More than 13 central universities do not have full-time VCs. The appointment of directors in a few IITs was delayed by more than a year and some of them still have a full-time director left. “Delays not only disrupt institutions but also put a question mark on the transparency of the process,” said a senior professor at the university.
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