New Delhi: A sectoral Group of Secretaries was formed to look into ‘Education and Social Development’.
The terms of Reference of the Group was as follows:
(i) A Mid-Term Review of Major Policies/Programs/Schemes/Projects (including Flagship Schemes) of each Ministry/Department in the Group and suggest realignment of physical targets, financial outlays and implementation strategies up to the year 2018-19, wherever considered necessary. The implementation strategies may be framed keeping in view the different priorities and capabilities of various State Governments. In this context, focus may also be given to measures for reduction in regional disparities. The Group was expected to carry out a critical review of schemes with a view to preparing an Action Plan with corrective measures and monitoring mechanism;
(ii) Pinpoint the possibilities of convergence between programs/schemes of various Ministries;
(iii) Recommend new Tax and Non-Tax initiatives for the Budget 2017-18, with emphasis on creative, innovative and practical ideas for each Ministry/Department;
(iv) Suggest new policy initiatives in light of emerging trends & challenges in the sector and make specific recommendations for job creation, harnessing the demographic dividend and for meeting the rising aspirations of the weaker section of society;
(v) Review processes, procedures & institutions with focus on Citizen centric simplification / fast-tracking;
(vi) Review all autonomous Organizations within their fold in terms of their continuance etc.;
(vii) Review role of CPSUs, their JVs & Subsidiaries (excluding those which have been reviewed by NITI Aayog) and suggest appropriate actions in regard to them;
(viii) Review Implementation of Observations and directions given by Hon’ble Prime Minister/Ministries and PMO in the last two and half years;
(ix) Develop full proof mechanisms for eliminating parking of funds under various schemes. The Group of Secretaries made the following recommendation under the theme of ‘Promote English and Science in school education’ of School Education Sector:
(i) English to be a compulsory subject in schools from standard 6 onwards;
(ii) At least one English medium school in every block;
(iii) Science education facility to be ensured in a radius of 5 kilometers.
The Report of the Group of Secretaries on Education and Social Development incorporates recommendations of the Group made across all the themes. The excerpt from the report describing this recommendation and action points in particular on promoting English and Science in school education is as under:
(i) English to be a compulsory subject in schools from standard 6 onwards: English will be a subject from standard 6 to 10 in all schools.
(ii) At least one English medium school in every block: This proposal has been endorsed. (iii) Science education facility to be ensured in a radius of 5 kilometers: Guidelines have been issued under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) to all the States/UTs to facilitate them for establishment, maintenance and management of Integrated Science and Mathematics Laboratory for Secondary Stage (Classes IX and X).