NEP Developments, Jan. 2015 – Oct. 2015
Beginning in 2014, the MHRD Minister, Ms.Smriti Irani, had reiterated on many occasions that the New Education Policy document would be based on extensive substate, and state consultations and would be ready by December 2015. With this ambitious goal and deadline in view, by April 2015 MHRD had prepared and circulated among the states a detailed plan – content and schedule of various types of consultations leading up to the production of the 2015 NEP document.
As delineated in the previous section, Official Documents, MHRD visualized a bottom-up approach to the development of the NEP, beginning with village level meetings and then moving upwards with meetings at block, district, state and ending with zonal level consultations. These meetings were to be complemented by other consultations to be organised by academic institutions and other expert bodies at state and national level. Details of this strategy, and also the largely pre-determined themes and content, framing these discussions were provided by MHRD and are delineated in the previous subsection, Official Documents.
From May 2015 onwards, after MHRD had released its official documents to structure and guide all the NEP consultations, and these NEP meetings within states and at the national level were in full swing, the content and process of policy formulation was critiqued by a number of organisations and individuals outside the government network.
These consultatations continued before and after the constitution of the Subramanian Committee for the Evolution of the New Education Policy on October 31, 2015. Within a fortnight of the Subramanian Committee being leaked and circulated to the public, MHRD released a document “Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016” for public comment in late June.
There are 4 distinct phases to the formulation of the NEP
- The approximately 6 months of grassroots, state and national consultations – May 2015 to October 2015 -before the constituting of the Subramanian Committee
- The period from beginning November2015 , when the Subramanian Committee was constituted, to late June 2016 by which time its Report had been submitted to MHRD, and MHRD had consequently released its own NEP document for public comments, “Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016”.
- The third phase following the release of the most recent MHRD document for public comments to be received by September 15, 2016, and afterwards.
- The fourth phase which is ongoing beginning in June 2017 with the formation of a new MHRD constituted committee to
In all the first 3 phases, there have been vigorous critiques from Civil Society of the content and process of NEP formulation. Both official and non-official bodies, as well as individuals, have also provided recommendations.
The next sub-section provides these critical views, including mine, relating to the first period of policy formulation from October 2015 – October 2015.