As per the Constitution of India, the state had full control over the policies and implementation of education systems in their respective state as it was considered as a state subject. Due to this, the Government of India only had limited control to decide the standards of higher education in India. With the Constitutional Amendment of 1976, education came under the purview of the concurrent list. Due to this reason, the policies and programs governing school education are to be suggested from the national level by the Government to the State Government.
The National Policy on Education,1986 and the Programme of Action,1992 contemplates compulsory and free education to satisfy the quality of education for all children who are below 14years before 21stcentury. 6% of Gross Domestic Product is used up by the Government for education, half of which is used solely for primary education. The expenditure percentage increased from 0.7% in 1951-52 to 3.6% in 1997-98.
One Nation, One Education
School education in India as said earlier has been divided into 4 boards of education. The education provided under these boards is also different as they have their own syllabus. This creates a knowledge gap between students studying in the same standards of different syllabuses. The sole reason for bringing a single curriculum or syllabus is to curtail this knowledge gap between the students and thereby bringing syllabuses of every board at par.
Importance of a Syllabus
Syllabus for a course is a directional map for a student to proceed his way of learning. Basically, it is an instruction providing a standard of what is expected to happen during the entire course session. It mainly contains topics and concepts on which students will be tested for their final examination assessment. A syllabus helps a student to have a clear understanding of the course content and knowledge they will gain from that specific course.
It establishes a connection between a student and teachers by imparting the sole objectives and goals that will be achieved at the end of the entire course. It provides a rhythm for the course by streamlining the content of the course. It thereby helps in the academic success of a student as it informs the goal, course structure, and learning outcomes. Thus, a well-structured syllabus is important for a proper system of education as it entrusts teachers with the responsibility of the overall development of the students and success.
Advantages of a Common Syllabus
If there is a common syllabus then there will be no discrimination regarding the quality of the education provided based on caste, religious beliefs, or economic backgrounds. This surely provides an unbiased ground for the learning and development of the youth. This will be very beneficial in the future. In the scholastic level, if there is a common syllabus, it can be used for the development of the Uniform Civil Code.
In the current scenario, many state boards do not update their syllabus frequently as per the changes in society. This big problem can be solved if a uniform or common syllabus is introduced in India. The race for marks and grades will be given a fair look and even opportunity of a common syllabus is adopted. The probability of scoring different marks in different boards of education will be lessened if a uniform set of the syllabus is at play.
Disadvantages of a Common Syllabus
With the introduction of a new common syllabus, the only grave problem that a student will face is that they can no longer rely on previous year’s question papers while preparing for the examination. This is because most of the students depend on the previous year’s questions papers before appearing in an examination.
This change in the syllabus will affect the teachers as well as parents as this will bring more workload for them. This is because they will have to modify their old usual notes, prepare new questions especially during examination season, have to go through the new syllabus all over again to be familiar with it, and so on. These aspects will be a problem as they are time-consuming.
Legal Interpretation for having a Common Syllabus
In July 2020, in the case of Ashwini Kumar UpadhyayVs. Union of India2the court refused to entertain a plea seeking a uniform curriculum for school students between the age of 6-14 across the country instead of having different boards having different syllabus. The PIL filed by Adv. Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was dismissed by the 3-Judge bench comprising of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra, and KM Joseph. They believed that it does not come within the domain of this court under Article 32 of the Constitution to direct the National Education Council or National Education Commission. The court directed the petitioner to approach the Government with his prayer instead. As a consequence of this case, the Government came up with a new policy known as the National Education Policy [NEP] Act, 2020.
National Education Policy [NEP] 2020
It was on 29th July 2020, the new National Education Policy [NEP] was approved by the cabinet with an aim to introduce several changes to the existing education system in India.The NEP is said to replace the existing National Policy on Education which was formed in 1986 and was modified in 1992. Under this new policy UGC, AICTE and, NCTE are combined to form one regulatory body with an effort to bring unification in the system. This single body regulates all the higher education institutions except medical and legal colleges.
Even though, the Government is trying to bring equality in education, the barriers have been unavoidable up to date. A uniform curriculum may be a wise option but it is yet to be implemented in the entire country. Uniform education will achieve the code of common culture, depletion of discriminatory values in human relations, and elevate the thoughts of children.
Even though there are a few disadvantages in implementing a common syllabus, in the long run, all these hurdles can be crossed very easily as it benefits society at large.
- State of T.N. v. K. Shyam Sunder, (2011) 8 SCC 737
- Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 580
- One Nation One Education Board| SC refuses to entertain PIL; Says it’s not the function of the Court, 1st August 2020, scconline
- One nation, one education board, 31st July 2020,https://www.iasabhiyan.com/one-nation-one-education-board/