While the focus of The National Literacy Mission of Government of India initiated in 1988 was on eradicating illiteracy, by imparting functional literacy among non-literate population, it has now been extended beyond literacy and basic education (equivalency to formal education) to vocational education (skill development), physical and emotional development, sports, and recreation, Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health (ARSH) etc. through the Total Literacy Campaign (TLC), and ‘Saakshar Bharat’ — the new variant of National Literacy Mission (NLM). The ongoing Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has been aligned with the provisions of the RTE Act with a shift in focus from quantity to quality. All States have taken major initiatives to implement RTE Act. Various interventions were made for teacher development, infrastructure creation particularly science laboratories, ICT enabled education, curriculum reforms and teaching learning reforms to enhance secondary education quality. It is proposed to extend RMSA to cover higher secondary schools as well as Government aided schools from the XII FYP. Recognising the need for skilling India’s youth completing the eight year long elementary education cycle, a nation wide programme of Vocational Education and Training (VET) was launched in mission mode right from class IX and X in place of current provision from class XI onwards. In order to provide curricular flexibility, both lateral and vertical mobility, accreditation and certification, a National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) has been developed as a common reference framework for linking various vocational qualification and setting common principles and guidelines for a nationally recognised qualification system and standards. The Indian higher education sector, too, has grown phenomenally, both by way of size and diversity of service providers. However, still the gender and social gap in enrolments is high. This calls for continued expansion of higher education in the light of a growing middle class, the demographic bulge at lower age cohorts, increasing school graduates and a global demand for well educated and skilled workers in future. Assessment and accreditation of general and professional colleges by NAAC and AICTE, NCTE, DEC etc. in order to monitor quality is being accorded top priority. Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) Phase II, is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the assistance of World Bank from the year 2010-11. Faculty development by the Academic Staff Colleges is being undertaken on a priority basis in Indian universities and colleges. Teacher shortage calls for greater emphasis on teacher recruitment and development in the coming years. It is proposed to launch a National Mission on Teachers and Teaching in the XII Plan to address issues of teachers, professional development of teachers and teaching in the country. Academic reforms too were initiated as a quality upgradation measure so as to introduce choice based credit system, Continuous and Comprehensive evaluation, and regular curricula revision. Schemes were initiated to promote research and innovation in science, social science as well as technical streams with specific schemes for women and other disadvantaged groups. Vigorous attempts are being made to leverage and exploit the (ICT) information communication technology to reach out to the vulnerable sections and regions, to explore global sources and resources of learning and to make the Indian higher education system competitive to the global standards.
Current Policy Initiatives