Friday, April 22, 2011

One exam, less government interference: PM Advisor

The Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM) has suggested replacing multiple entrance examinations with a single national examination and minimising government intervention in educational institutes to improve the higher education scenario.

Listing what he called 'Essential Steps for Progress in Higher Education', Council chairman Prof. CNR Rao also suggested checking the uncontrolled increase in the number of government-supported institutes and a better deal to the teaching community.

Noting that a major quality upgrade was required, Rao pointed out that today, there was not a single educational institution in India that was equal to the best institutions in advanced countries. "It is important that in the next 10-15 years, several of our educational institutions are in the top 100 in the world." He said this could be done if at least 10 higher educational institutions were provided with all the support required to enable them compete with the best of institutions in advanced countries.

Criticising the 'menace' of multiple examinations, Rao said the government needed to re-look at the entire examination system, including final examinations, entrance examinations, qualifying examinations, selection examinations, etc. Calling for a single national examination that should be able to assess the eligibility of candidates, Rao cited the example of US institutions that take young people from India based on one GRE examination.

Calling for an overhaul of the administrative system in the education sector, the SAC-PM chairperson said unless direct government intervention was reduced, education quality would never improve. He said state governments should be persuaded to support higher education with greater care. He also said investment and administrative autonomy, dedicated budget for R&D and recruitment and promotion of faculty needed attention.

Rao warned against allowing too many institutes to sprout in the country, saying it could prove to be counter-productive. Focusing on the need to improve faculty quality, he called on the government to ensure good emolument and amenities to teachers to help draw young people into the profession and to provide high quality in service training to teachers to help upgrade their skills constantly.

Drawing attention to the need to provide opportunities to talented children in rural areas, Rao suggested that increasing the number of fully supported residential schools, up to the higher secondary level, in rural India will help.

Source: The Indian Express, April 22, 2011

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