The Union health ministry has opposed the human resource development (HRD) ministry’s proposal on having a common entrance examination for all universities.
In the draft education policy, the HRD ministry has proposed a single entrance exam for all universities.
A senior health ministry official said, “In medical education, each segment has to have its own examination. Doctors and nurses cannot have the same examination.”
The official stated the education policy will have to be modified based on the National Medical Commission (NMC) Act, which was passed by both Houses of Parliament in the session that just concluded.
While the HRD ministry deals with education as a whole, medical education comes under the ministry of health and family welfare. In a Parliament session that just concluded, the NMC Act mandates an exit entrance for all students at the end of their undergraduate course.
This exit test will be conducted so that doctors across the country pass out with the same standard. This exit test will be the basis for post-graduate admission to medical courses.
The draft education policy has been opened for stakeholder comments. The policy proposes to streamline the education sector. The draft proposes creating a new regulator replacing the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
It also proposes streamlining pre-school education by bringing in Anganwadis to schools and extending the scope of the Right to Education (RTE). The government is planning to ensure RTE from the age of four.
Normally, a child is sent to kindergarten at four years of age. Currently, under the Act, children from eight years of age and above have the right to education under which they can claim admission in any school.
However, this proposal is just being discussed. An amendment to the Act will be necessary for this to happen.
Those in the HRD ministry say that while children do have access to school under the Samagra Shiksha programme, which subsumed the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, it is not a matter of right for children unless they are at least eight years old.
Experts say that if this happens, it could help strengthen pre-school education. The draft education policy envisages streamlining this segment. They feel that bringing Anganwadis to the education ministry could streamline pre-school.
The draft education policy states that a robust system should be created for education before formal education. It has been planned to bring in Anganwadis to local schools.
Experts in the education space say that the system should change to make sure that students entering class I have robust knowledge of numbers and letters. But those framing course structures feel that it is important to work on motor skills than introducing formal education.
Meanwhile, the National Centre for Education Research and Training (NCERT) is working on a mathematics framework. A senior NCERT official said that one of the weak points of students in India is geometry. The NCERT is working to make it more interesting and interactive.
The draft also talks about creating school complexes which experts feel would only be successful in urban areas as it is in these areas that adequate teachers are available.