Editorial of The Recent Issue

The Signage, within a short span of three years, has established its reputation among the academia, as a distinct journal of education and social sciences. Now it is being well received by a large galaxy of professional researchers, educators, social scientists and educational activists across the country. The editorial board of the journal decided to bring out a special issue on educational policy and its implications in different sectors of education and the board has assigned me the task to edit the special issue. I accepted the responsibility reluctantly only after getting the assurance of all supports and helps from the regular editor. I don’t have any hesitation to say that the present volume in your hand is the outcome of untiring efforts and academic zeal of the regular editor of the Signage.

Education in general and formal education, in particular, has to travel a long journey in transforming its character from a privilege to a need and so a right for everyone. In the context of education it was an extraordinary historical event for the mankind when under the article9 of the UN Declaration of Human Right, education was included as a right. Today education is no more a privilege for a few or a liability but it is indispensable for everyone. Thanks to technology that humans have overcome to their two greatest limitations viz, time and space this has made the world not only very compact but human societies more interdependent and interrelated with each other and therefore survival and growth of any society, no matter how remote it is, is almost without imagination. There was a time when information was scarce but with the advent of ICT through one click we have access to ten thousand references and so we are living in an age where information is abundant. We have entered into a new era where a new economic order has emerged and terms like ‘Knowledge Economy’ and ‘Knowledge Society’ entered into our working vocabulary. In a knowledge society, Knowledge became the most important capital and that can be treated as a business product having a potential to give the high-value return. In a Knowledge-driven economy, a knowledgeable human resource is accepted as the most powerful tool for prosperity and well-being of the people. All these development at global stage has brought the education at front seat and education and schooling are no longer considered to be an act of a few to utilize their free time in intellectual hedonism.

A number of scholars across their disciplinary affiliation have highlighted the new challenges and new stresses that the present century (21st century) has brought in its fold. For example, in the words of Bernett (2000) we are living in the age of super complexity and by super complexity, he doesn’t mean merely complexity of higher order but the simultaneous existence of many frameworks of meaning. Similarly, the third industrial revolution brought some radical changes and more uncertainties. Kimon Valaskakis is aptly right when he describes the present society as’ We live in a most interesting and most dangerous period marked by dualities and paradoxes’. It is a known fact that we are the citizen of the world which is healthier, richer, more educated and more empowered but on the other hand, we are more stressed people living in a more corrupt world, spending more for war and violence against humanity particularly against marginalized, women and minorities. The statistics available both at global and national level support this fact.

In this backdrop of international scenario now look at some distinctive features of our own country. According to the population estimate based on 2011 census, India has the population of about1.34 billion populations, constituting 17.85 of % of world population. Out of which, more than 50% of the population is below the age of 25 years and over 65 % of Indian population is below the age of 35 years whereas only 9% of the population is above the age of 65 years. These figures highlight a very distinctive feature of India that it is a very young nation and it is going to be younger in near future when compared with other developed countries as indicated by the average age of the many states. However, this advantageous position of India can be fruitful only if this human taskforce is transformed into an intellectual capital through proper education.

In the words of Sam Pitroda, Indian society is too large too complex and too diverse. In fact, all kinds of diversities are present in our society and it is pluralist in all sense. Besides 22 official scheduled languages (as included in a VIIIth schedule of Indian Constitution) as per the 2001 census Indians speak 122 major languages besides 1599 other languages as their mother tongues. There are about 2000 castes and 600 tribes in Indian society. India has the followers of almost all great institutionalized religions of the world besides that of many other tribal religions. Each sections of Indian society because of various combinations of region, language, caste, religion their own identity and their own culture. But in spite of such diversities, there is an inherent unity that binds them into a single identity of Indianness. The basis of Indian identity is mutual trust and respect for each other and a firm belief in the principle of unity in diversity

India after getting freedom in 1947 came out from the fold of colonial rule and reflected its aspiration and vision to establish itself as a sovereign nation-state through its constitution. It has decided to build the new nation on secular, socialist and democratic ideals. It became imperative since then that all the policies and practices (of government and public must be aligned with these constitutional ideals.

It is good that after getting power at centre the present government decided to formulate a new national policy. The MHRD constituted a five-member committee for an evolution of the new policy. The MHRD circulated 33 broad areas related to new policy about which any stakeholders (individual, NGOs or Institutions) can send their views. The committee has drafted its report on 30th April 2016. But in the meantime in June 2017 a new nine-member committee under the chairmanship of a space scientist Mr. Krishna Swamy Kasturitangan was announced for the purpose. Since then any report about the progress of the working of the committee is not in the public domain. Moreover, the report of the earlier committee has little relevance when a new committee has taken up the responsibility. But there are certain issues that must be taken seriously while drafting the new policy. It is unfortunate that the present policy is not being drafted after a serious evidence-based analysis of earlier national education policy. Though the educational scenario and social dynamics both at national and international level have drastically changed, no commission was set up to study the entire education system in a comprehensive manner since after the Kothari Commission. A new national policy if formulated after getting the relevant input from such a commission, it may provide the correct roadmap to resolve the complex educational problems of the country and may be capable to prepare competent human capital to lead the country in right direction. It is also expected that only such policy will lead to evolve an inclusive system of education suited for a welfare state like India. In the present scenario the roles of academicians and researchers have extra relevance. Their intellectual contributions and rational activism can help the policy makers in bringing a sound policy documents. In the present issue of the journal sincere efforts have been made by the contributors to provide an impartial, objective and frank analysis of the problems and prospects of different sectors of education in policy perspectives.

References

Valaskakis Kimon (2001) Futurology : A Self-Criticism in Binde Jerome(Ed.) Keys to the 21st Century Paris, UNESCO Publishing

Bernett Ronald (2001) Managing Universities in a Super Complex Age in M. Cartwright(Ed.) Chaios Theory and Higher Education NewYork

Prof. Aejaz Masih
Professor, DES; Ex Head and Dean,
Faculty of Education, Jamia Millia
Islamia, Jamia Nagar Delhi