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Sibal plans to make 10th exam optional

Last updated on: June 25, 2009 18:59 IST

As part of efforts to reduce 'trauma' of students and parents and make the admission process smooth, government favours a single school board at the all-India level and make 10th board examination optional.

Unveiling his 100-day plan, HRD minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday said a single board would replace various boards in the country and would hold a uniform examination for all students on the pattern of combined law admission test being organised for admission to law institutions.

"By a single board, a student can decide which university he wants to go. It is happening in the law (courses). The aim is to reduce the trauma," he told reporters. Noting that students and their parents are spending sleepless night at the time of board examination, Sibal said the government wants to make 10th exam optional for students wishing to continue in the same school.

"If a student wants to go for pre-university course, he may appear for 10th board exam. But in case of a student pursuing the course in the same school, he need not appear in the class-10 exam for promotion to class-11," he said, adding that an internal assessment would suffice. The government also plans to set up autonomous overarching authority for higher education and research based on the recommendations of Yashpal committee and the National Knowledge Commission.

"We must detraumatise students who sometimes commit suicide," Sibal said, emphasising the need for change in the system of marking. The government will introduce a system to replace the present assessment procedure of giving marks to awarding grades which will reduce stress, he said. The Central Board of Secondary Education will be the first board to introduce the grading system in the country. A proposal is pending in this regard. The government will explore the possibility of setting up an independent accreditation body for schools to ensure quality. At present, the schools are not accredited to any agency, Sibal said.

The minister said all steps should be taken to enact the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, which seeks to make education a fundamental right of every child in the age group of six to 14 years. "The bill should be passed in this session so that every child is given statutory right to education," he said.

The government also wants to set up an All India Madrassa Board which will award degrees equivalent to CBSE and other boards. The board will frame policy to impart secular and technical education to Muslims without interfering the religious teachings. "We will strive to evolve a consensus on this issue," he said, adding that efforts would also be made to amend the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act to further strengthen it.

Sibal said the proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research will subsume several other regulatory bodies like University Grants Commission, All India Council of Technical Education and Medical Council of India.

"It will be an independent authority and formulate policies on the entire gamut of higher education, including medical, law and engineering," he said, adding its nature and shape will be decided after due consultations with stakeholders.

Besides, a law will be enacted to prevent, prohibit and punish institutions resorting to educational malpractices. The assessment and accreditation in higher education through an independent regulatory authority will be made mandatory.

"Fly-by-night operators should not get away," he said.

Favouring the best foreign educational institutions to come to India, Sibal said a law would be enacted to regulate entry and operation of foreign education providers.

The government will also bring in a bill to set up educational tribunals to settle disputes between teachers, staff and management in higher education.

At present, the disputes are taken to central administrative tribunals and high courts.

The government has set up a committee under Higher Education Secretary R P Agrawal to suggest modalities for setting up educational tribunals on campuses.

In the backdrop of allegations of capitation fee and other irregularities by certain deemed universities, Sibal said the government would review the functioning of these institutions. There are about 125 deemed universities in the country.

"The process has started. The report will be ready in three months' time," he said.

The government will recast the National Literacy Mission with focus on female literacy, Sibal said. "But men will not be left behind. The focus will be on female literacy," he said.

As part of other policy initiatives, government will formulate a "brain gain" scheme to attract talents from abroad to the existing and new institutions.

The step assumes significance as educational institutions are facing severe dearth of teachers. Nearly 30 per cent of teaching posts are lying vacant in central universities and IITs currently.

There will also be a new policy on distant education. The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak, will set up a regional campus in Manipur, he said.

The government will introduce academic reforms like semester system, choice-based credit system and regular revision of syllabus in central educational institutions.

The government will also amend the Copy Right Act of 1957 and modernise copyright offices, Sibal added.