Odisha to formulate own education policy

BHUBANESWAR: The Naveen Patnaik-led BDJ government in the state is going all out to be one step ahead of the NDA government at the Centre by working on formulating its own education policy even as consultations are on in Delhi for a new policy at the national level.

A nine-member state-level committee under the chairmanship of Fakir Mohan University (FMU) vice-chancellor S P Adhikary met here for the first time to evolve the draft policy on Monday.

Adhikary said the major thrust of the state policy would be to create enabling provisions to ensure quality of education in all spheres including medical and technical education and from schools to post-doctoral studies.

“Today’s discussion was a preliminary one. A workshop will be held shortly for wider consultation with all stakeholders including academics, education entrepreneurs and students,” he said.

Directors of higher education and technical education besides academics and administrators from both government and private sectors are members of the committee.

Adhikary said he hoped the committee would give final shape to the draft policy within the next three months. He said the state policy would be within the broader perspective of the proposed national policy. However, specific needs of the state, keeping in mind the socio-economic and cultural situation of Odisha would be given importance in it, he said.

Just like the national policy, the state policy too would lay greater thrust on job creation, research and financial self-reliance of campuses, he said.

Sources said the meeting discussed 20 major points. It emphasized on resource generation for the colleges and universities, promotion of research and compulsory periodic training of teachers to ensure quality faculty members.

The panel members also discussed how there could be policy intervention to create more scope for campuses to explore getting funds from outside, perhaps from corporate bodies through tie-ups and funding agencies for specific research instead of depending solely on the government.

According to the preliminary discussion, the draft policy would suggest broadly uniform syllabi for various study programmes offered by varied institutions. Scholarships for students would be wider and more institutionalized. Greater emphasis would be laid on the job prospects of graduating students, the sources said.

The state draft policy is likely to be ready before the draft national policy, which is expected by the year-end, government sources said.

Since the central education policy, likely to be implemented next year, is anticipated to bear the larger saffron family footprint, it would be interesting to see if the Naveen government’s policy tries to de-saffronize it to bolster its secular credentials, said an academic who did not want to be named.

A member of the committee, however, said he didn’t think there was any political motive from the BJD in bringing in the new policy. “The central policy may not fit into the state’s scheme of things in its entirety. The state policy would be in sync with the Centre’s with some variations to suit state needs,” he said.

The committee will give final shape to the draft policy within the next three months. The state policy will be within the broader perspective of the proposed national policy. However, specific needs of the state will be given importance.

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