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Sibal begins consultation process on education reforms

HRD Minister Kapil Sibal meeting the school principals in New Delhi on Thursday.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal meeting the school principals in New Delhi on Thursday.
Principals of 30-odd private schools from Delhi called on Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and underlined the need for reforms in the education sector, which they said were long overdue.

The educationists were one in complimenting him for the reforms he had proposed for the sector, including the move to make the Class X Board examination optional for students in CBSE schools, in his 100-day agenda for his ministry.

The principals stressed that the focus of education should be on children and learning and not on examinations.

Mr Sibal said there was an urgent need for educational reforms, especially at a time when India is expected to have a surplus of 47 million students by 2020.

While the West is seeing negative growth in population, these Indian students must be empowered to take up the opportunity that would be created, he said.

For this, all stakeholders, including schools, whether public, private or municipal, had to be consulted, he said.

Asked if the government proposed to reserve 25 per cent of the seats in private schools for students from the weaker sections, Mr Sibal reiterated the government's commitment to the proposal. He said everyone had societal obligations which must be met.

Mr Sibal said today's meeting was the beginning of the consultation process that he planned to carry out. He said he would hold consultations with people in rural areas and in the smaller towns also. He also said that he would set up a group for interaction regarding education reforms and some school principals would be included in it.

The minister said flexibility of planning was required to ensure quality schooling for a greater number of students.

One of the ideas that he threw up today was handing over responsibility for some dysfunctional government schools to private management. The private management could two shifts, with one shift as a private school and the other with government school norms, he said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Arun Kapur of the Vasant Valley School, Ms Shyama Chona of the Delhi Public School (DPS), R K Puram, Mrs Abha Sehgal of Sanskriti School, Mrs Anjali Aggarwal, Chairperson of the Forum of Public School, Mr. Marc Parkinson, Director of the Shri Ram School, Mr M. Qayam-ud-din, Forum of Minority Schools, and Mr S S  Minhans of Guru Harkrishan Public School.

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