National Knowledge Commission (NKC) was envisaged by theGovernment as one of the key concurrent processes for the XI Plan (2007-12). Recommendations of NKC have been key inputs in formulating broadcontours of the XI Plan. Many of the recommendations of the NKC arealready in the implementation stage by different ministries of the Government. This includes areas such as Libraries, e-governance and translation. Some ofthe major areas under work are higher education, vocational education,entrepreneurship, school education etc. The action taken in Higher andTechnical Education includes:
1) To expand capacity and improve quality of higher education, theGovernment has sanctioned the setting up of 15 new Central Universitiesand 14 new Universities based on world-class standards.
2) The Government is in the process of setting up eight Indian Institutes ofTechnology (IITs), 10 National Institutes of Technology (NIT), 20 IndianInstitutes of Information Technology (IIITs) as far as possible in thePublic-Private Partnership mode, three Indian Institutes of ScienceEducation and Research (IISERs), seven Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) and two Schools of Planning and Architecture (SPA). This hasbeen a massive expansion.
3) The Committee for Rejuvenation and Renovation of Higher Education,set up for the review of UGC/AICTE has submitted its report.
4) The Science and Engineering Research Board Bill 2008 have beenintroduced in the Parliament.
5) The National Mission on Education through Information andCommunication Technology (ICT) has been launched to leverage thepotential of ICT in the teaching learning process with an aim to enhancethe Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education by 5 percentage pointsby the end of the XI Plan.Overall, the National Knowledge Commission made its impact felt.
The government of India, through a notification issued by the MHRDin February 2008, constituted ???????The Committee to Advice on Renovation andRejuvenation of Higher Education in India???????, headed by scientist Yashpal toreview the functioning of the UGC and the AICTE and critically assess theirrole and preparedness in providing institutional leadership to the emergingdemands of access, equity, relevance and quality of higher education/technicaleducation and the university system.The committee was aware of the work that has been done by variousother committees and commissions on this issue, the most recent being thereport of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) on Higher Education.The committee shares the concerns articulated by the NKC regarding severalissues on higher education. After much consultation with all the stakeholders,including students and teachers, the committee submitted its final report,???????Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education???????? to the Ministry of HumanResource Development (MHRD) on June 24. Major Recommendations were:
i) Universities to be self-regulatory bodies to be assisted by hassle-free andtransparent regulatory processes;
ii) Universities to be made responsible regarding the academic content ofprofessional courses.
iii) Creation of an all-encompassing Commission for Higher Education, acentral statutory body to replace the existing regulatory bodies includingthe UGC, AICTE, NCTE etc.
iv) Curricular reform to be the topmost priority of the newly created HEC.
v) Undergraduate programmes to be restructured to enable students to haveopportunities to access all curricular areas with fair degree of mobility;
vi) All universities to have the full range of knowledge areas. No singlediscipline or specialized university to be created;
vii) Institutions of excellence like the IITs and IIMs to be converted intofull-fledged universities, while keeping intact their unique features, whichshall act as pace-setting and model governance systems for alluniversities;Expansion of the higher education system to be evaluated and assessedcontinuously to ensure not only equity and access but also quality andopportunity of growth along the academic vertical.
The National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 and its Programmeof Action (POA) as updated in 1992 are based on review of the entireeducational process and has been formulated on the basis of a nationalconsensus. New Education Policy of 1986 gave more emphasis on humandevelopment. It aimed at promoting national progress, cultivating a sense ofcommon citizenship and culture and strengthening national integration andpays greater attention to science and technology, moral values and relateseducation to the life of the people. Its main Recommendations were:
I. Technical Manpower Information System should be developed andstrengthened to improve the situation regarding manpower information.
II. Programmes of computer literacy will be organised on wide scale fromthe school stage.
III. The development and expansion of vocational education will need alarge number of teachers and professionals in vocational education,educational technology, curriculum development, etc. Programmes willbe started to meet this demand.
IV. Training in entrepreneurship will be provided through modular or optionalcourses, in degree or diploma programmes to encourage students toconsider ???????self-employment??????? as a career option.
V. In order to meet the continuing needs of updating curriculum, renewalshould systematically phase out obsolescence and introduce newtechnologies of disciplines.
VI. The community polytechnic system will be appropriately strengthenedto increase its quality and coverage.
VII. For Promoting Efficiency and Effectiveness at all Levels:
??????? Institutions will be encouraged to generate resources using theircapacities to provide services to the community and industry. Forthis, they will be equipped with up-to-date learning resources, libraryand computer facilities.
??????? Adequate hostel accommodation will be provided, specially for girls.
??????? More effective procedures in the recruitment of staff
??????? Staff Development Programmes will be integrated at the State, andco-ordinated at Regional and National levels.
??????? The curricula of technical and management programmes will beprepared according to the needs of industry.
VIII. Professional societies will be encouraged and enabled to perform theirdue role in the advancement of technical and management education.(This is one area which is still neglected).
IX. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will beresponsible for planning, formulation and the maintenance of norms andstandards, accreditation, funding of priority areas, monitoring andevaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards and ensuringthe co-ordinated and integrated development of technical and managementeducation.According to the recommendation of the National Policy on Education1986, the AICTE became a statutory body through an Act of Parliament, inDecember, 1987.
Training Semi-skilled and Skilled workers
I. Further expansion of facilities of ITIs. The minimum admission ageshould be lowered to 14.
II. Training in ITIs and technical schools must be production oriented.
Education of engineers
I. Meritorious students from B.Sc. should be encouraged for some branchesof engineering such as electronics and instrumentation
II. Practical training should be provided to the students from the third yearof the course and with the help of the industry
III. Research design projects should be incorporated in the curriculum.
IV. Changing of syllabus continuously
V. Suitable salary should be offered to attract the highly qualified engineersfor teaching and research purposes.
VI. Manufacturing of prototype substitutes for imported items of equipmentshould be encouraged to avoid the wastage of money.
The unique feature of this report was that, it was the first report tohave a comprehensive review of the entire educational system. Thecommission was of the opinion that, education is the most powerful instrumentof national development. Many of the recommendations have been accepted& helped the government to make the National Education Policy (1964),which was only reviewed and redrawn after twenty years.
The Government of India appointed the University EducationCommission in 1948 under the chairmanship of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan tostudy the problems of Indian University education and to recommend remedialmeasures to suit the future requirements of the country. It aimed to improvethe quality of University education. It submitted its report on 25 August,1949.
Its main recommendations regarding the technical education are as follows:
I. To improve the quality of University education, improvement of secondaryeducation is necessary.
II. More vocational education institutions should be opened to reduce theburden of the university.
III. Duration of pass graduate for 2 years & honors graduate for 3 years.
IV. The curriculum for the 1st year for every discipline of engineering shouldbe the same.
V. Work experience should be given same importance alongwith the formaleducation.
VI. Before giving the recognition to a college, the status & capacity of thecollege for the student evaluation should be verified.
VII. Opening of new technological institutes.
VIII. The engineering students should be given practical training at theconcerned industrial centres.
IX. Provision for higher education and research should be made in the fieldof engineering.
This is a document of great importance as it has guided thedevelopment of University education in India since independence. Perhapsvery few reports on education laid down the aims and objectives of educationso comprehensively as done by this commission. Following therecommendations, the University Grants Commission (UGC) was formedand assumed a most important role in the coordination and development ofUniversities in India from 1956. The present higher education structure of10+2+3 was recommended. The UGC Act (1956) still governs the Universityeducation system in India.