HRD Ministry ropes in experts for 5-year education plan


New Delhi: At a time when the political class is busy with Lok Sabha elections, the bureaucracy is busy readying sectoral blueprints for the next government, including 100-day governance agendas that each ministry has started presenting to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The human resources development ministry is going a step further by preparing a five-year action plan with the help of experts such as former revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, principal scientific advisor K VijayRaghavan, Rediff founder Ajit Balakrishnan and former InfosysNSE 1.57 % CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan, people familiar with the development said.

The project, ‘Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme’ (Equip), that seeks to bring “transformational change in the system over the next five years”, has already got rolling, the sources said.

Ten expert groups, led by the likes of Kant, Adhia and Gopalakrishnan, have presented draft plans on various issues specific to higher education after a three-day brainstorming boot camp at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Mussorie from April 22-24, they told ET.

A working group will now compile the reports of the ten groups to create an ambitious five-year education plan by June 2019.

B Venkatesh Kumar, national coordinator for Rashtriya Ucchtar Shiksha Abhiyan, is the coordinator for Equip.

The core group headed by Adhia, who is also chancellor of Central University of Gujarat, focused on ‘expanding access’ and has drawn up a plan to double gross enrolment ratio to 52 by 2024. It also stressed on doubling and trebling enrolment of SCs and STs, respectively, and ensuring geographically backward groups catch up with the national average.

The group led by Kant has devised a plan for internationalisation of institutes, so as to facilitate admission of at least 10% international students across premier institutes, firming up policy for foreign universities in India, and promoting international academic collaborations.

Gopalakrishnan is heading the group on ‘Financing higher education’, which has drawn up a roadmap on strategies for the same including increased private sector participation.