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Revised Education Policy Statement



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Administrative Note:
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Week's Agenda: Social Conditions

  Minimum Wage
  Rules regarding Safety of Personnel at work to be made clear
  Introduction of Social Security Net
  Introduction of identity card
  Removal of Age discrimination at work
  Creating conditions so that reservations will no longer be necessary
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I'm attaching the revised education policy statement. I hope the new
statement adequately represents a compromise between the various
positions put forward. Sanjeev, specifically, I've taken out the
"rights" language, and put in something else, and also incorporated some
other changes you suggested. 

As we have previously determined, every policy statement, however 
elaborately discussed it might be, remains open to criticism as well as 
suggestions for changes, and all IP members are requested to check out 
these statements from time to time to facilitiate this process of 
development. 

Puneet, I'm happy to write the summary for another topic when you should 
next need a person to do that. Please let me know before discussion on 
the chosen topic begins so that I can maintain my own internal log of 
the debates, that makes it easier for me to write the summary.

Regards,

Ash
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By acquiring skills needed to obtain challenging and rewarding 
positions, individuals strive to better their economic and social 
conditions. The primary purpose of education, therefore, is to help 
citizens obtain the requisite skills, so that they may empower and 
inform themselves for their personal gain.  Alongside this, education 
must also impart a sense of obligation, so that through their education, 
students receive not only the abilities to act in the greater interest 
of society, but more importantly the willingness to do so.

What role shall government play in achieving these ends? First, it must 
be recognized that it is the interest of the people that must guide the 
policies formulated and/or enacted by government. To this end, 
government must liberalize the learning process so that a fuller 
expression of the people's  interests is possible. And further to 
facilitating this, government shall also provide the organizational 
framework needed to ensure that the education system creates a confident 
and concerned citizenry.

The interests of the people lie in ensuring that:

(a) everyone has affordable access to the facilities for education

(b) the specific objectives they seek remain within their abilities to 
shape and further. Further, that the creativity and enterprise needed to 
remain competitive are not stifled.

(c) those who teach our children are competent, and that they 
continually strive to keep themselves informed of the latest 
developments in their disciplines. Further, that those who serve this 
ideal well be recognized for their efforts.

(d) those who are authorized to create policies/standards for these 
purposes remain answerable to parents as well as accountable for their 
performance to the entire society.

Consistent with the above interests, the following specific policies are 
sought to be adopted and/or implemented.

(a) - 6% of Gross Domestic Product should be targeted for spending on
education. School lunch programs be set up to offset poverty's role in
continuing illiteracy. Need-based loans to attend institutions of higher 
learning shall be made available.

- Schooling up to graduation from high school or its equivalent shall 
not be denied to any citizen on economic considerations alone. The 
government shall provide the funds necessary to cover the cost of 
education for all children in cases where economic hardhsip is a factor. 
The funds allotted a child's education may nevertheless be used for 
education in a non-government school. Further, every school shall be 
required to have the basic minimum facilities necessary for good 
education.

- Education shall be imparted in languages most appropriate to the 
matter being taught.  Education in English shall be encouraged in those 
disciplines where the competitive interest demands this, and education 
in native languages shall be preferred in other disciplines. The 
educational policies must take advantage of the languages already known 
to the people, to permit the fastest transition to a fully literate 
society.

(b) - Responsibility for providing education must lie as close to the 
people as possible. The states, and not the center, shall bear the 
responsibility to provide education. Further, the administration of 
school boards and individual schools be elected/appointed by local 
governments at the level of panchayats for specific and renewable terms.

- Education by private schools is not only permissible, but preferable. 
All schools, regardless of ownership, shall receive funding from the 
government. However, this does not vest government with the power to 
manage them in any way. Funds are to be provided to private schools only 
so that the obligation to fund every child's education at a minimum 
level is met.

- The creation of private universities must be encouraged. This is 
necessary not only to ensure creative and dynamic functioning at the 
highest levels, but also to enable government to downsize its huge 
commitment to higher education in favor of primary education.

- The educational process shall be modified to permit alternate streams 
of education.  i.e., vocational and technical institutions which are 
better suited to teach specific topics than formal schools and 
universities should be encouraged. Students in high schools should be 
made aware of their options, so that they may make their choices in a 
more informed manner.

- The conceptualization and creation of new programs shall be 
encouraged. Curricula in all programs shall be reviewed and updated at 
specified intervals. Input for this process shall be sought from 
industry as much as from academia.

(c) - Educators shall be recognized as guardians of the future, and 
their compensation shall reflect the responsibility we vest in them. 
Able teachers shall be recognized and rewarded in both material and 
honorable ways.

- Every opportunity shall be made available for teachers to better   
themselves. Programs that facilitate this process shall be encouraged, 
and incentives for participating in them shall be established or 
encouraged. Standardized teacher education programs shall be set up in 
all school districts.

- Educators who rise above the call of duty shall be especially honored 
and rewarded.  Participation in adult education programs, service in 
areas with poor track records in education, etc. must be encouraged.

- A process of repeated assessment be created to ensure that teachers 
remain interested in apprising themselves of the latest developments in 
their fields. Term-limited appointments which can be reviewed based on 
performance shall be preferred to lifetime employment or tenure. 
Term-limited appointments, to be viable, require a social security 
system, and may be deferred until one is in place.

(d) - The educational standards that schools be required to maintain 
shall be established with the full participation of parents, not merely 
by the authority of administrative bodies. Appointments to such 
standards-making bodies shall be made by state governments, the center, 
local governments, and parents' groups equally.

- The financial conduct of school boards and other entities providing
educational services shall be audited regularly and transparently. All 
funds used for education shall be accounted for by those entrusted with 
their proper use, and all such information shall be available publicly 
on the internet, and be made available to parents' groups by school 
management committees.

- Panchayats shall appoint supervisors who shall be accountable for the 
operation of schools within the jurisdiction of the panchayat. 
Contractual appointments shall be made to such supervisory positions.
 
The implementation of these policies will achieve the one objective on 
which everything else rests, the creation of a society whose members 
confidently interact in a democratic setting toward their own betterment 
and for that of their fellow-citizens. Ultimately, these policies will 
create a citizenry which, acting in its own interest and retaining 
control close to it, creates and manages the institutions through which 
it prepares for a better tomorrow.

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