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States agree to offer support on key education reforms

Human Resource Development Ministry’s meeting with the State
Education Ministers’ discussed key education reforms. Chaired by HRD Minister
Kapil Sibal the conference deliberated on issue of common entrance for
engineering stream, community college scheme and vocational education in the
country.

A presentation on the reforms proposed in the entrance
examinations for admission to engineering institutions was made by Dr Ramasami
and Prof Dhande.

States endorsed the proposal for a common national
examination with effect from 2013 with weightage to State Board results after
detailed deliberations. The States of Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha,
Puducherry and West Bengal sought more time to study the proposal in detail.
The States may decide on adopting the same pattern for admission to State-level
engineering institutions with appropriate weightages as States may think fit. It
was decided that the details for the common examination process would be
finalized in the next two months in consultation with States.

Welcoming the National Vocational Education Qualifications
Framework (NVEQF) and the concept of Community Colleges, States felt that both
the initiatives “NVEQF will be an important landmark in improving the skills
and employability of the youth of this country.”

The need to have a dialogue at the State level with School
Boards, Boards of Technical Education and universities to provide a seamless
pathway for vocational students was stressed. It was decided to start 100
Community Colleges on a pilot basis in 2012-13 and then scale up gradually. The
States were requested to identify local skill requirements linked to local needs
which could form the basis of opening community colleges and forward proposals
to the Central Government.

It was decided to constitute a Committee of State Education
Ministers headed by Archana Chitnis, Hon’ble Minister of School Education of
Madhya Pradesh, to finalise the scheme of community colleges. 

Deliberating on the state of Elementary Education in the
country, State Education Ministers agreed that a lot of age-inappropriate
material continues to form part of the textbooks and teaching learning material
used in classrooms.

In an effort address this issue, states have been asked to
initiate steps to formulate age-appropriate curricula and syllabi in keeping
with the principles of section 29 of the RTE Act and NCF-2005. Institution of
CCE along with Grievance Redressal mechanism has been decided.

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