Interview With : T.S.R. Subramanian, Former cabinet secretary
Updated on: 30 Jun 2016
Head of the panel that has drafted the new education policy, T.S.R. Subramanian on quality education, recommendations and other things.
A former cabinet secretary, he heads the panel that has drafted the new education policy, a manifesto promise of the BJP. Before this, he submitted a controversial report on the environment, which was rejected by the parliamentary standing committee. Last month, after a delayed submission of the draft education policy, he made quite a buzz by asking the HRD ministry to make it public. Predictably, the ministry refused. In a conversation with Anoo Bhuyan, T.S.R. Subramanian reads out sections from the draft and speaks on matters such as quality of education and, specifically, on various policy recommendations concerning the right to education, detention in school, private universities and vocational training.
Why did you write to the government asking that your report be made public?
The notifications on this have all been open. We consulted 500 people and told them to speak freely. How can this be confidential now? I was one of the founders of the RTI (Right to Information). The acid test for this document is this: if you ask for it through RTI, will you get it?
What is the report about?
We have talked about problems and achievements, identifying quality and inclusiveness as a weakness that needs attention. It is a running theme in every recommendation. The principle we are applying is a 90-90 principle: 90 per cent of every class should learn 90 per cent of the material taught. On inclusiveness, we see that students are unable to compete and cope because of social and economic weaknesses. This brings quality down. A child from rural areas is suddenly confronted with ties and shoelaces. Our system is impersonal and needs compassion. We analysed why the policy of 1986-92 did not achieve the desired goal. Ultimately, you need political will.
No wonder, in the section on why previous policies were not effective, the conclusion pointed to lack of political will.