DECENTRALIZING EDUCATION (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity/Education)

News-CRUX-10     1st July 2024        
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Context: The NEET-UG exam has faced controversies over grace marks, allegations of paper leaks, and other irregularities. Additionally, the government cancelled the UGC-NET exam post-conduct, and postponed the CSIR-NET and NEET-PG exams.


Historical Background of Education 

  • Federal Structure: The Government of India Act, 1935, created a federal structure, distributing legislative subjects between the federal legislature and provinces.
  • Education in the Provincial List: Education, an important public good, was placed under the provincial list during the British rule and continued in the State list post-independence.
  • Emergency and the Swaran Singh Committee: During the Emergency, the Swaran Singh Committee recommended placing ‘education’ in the concurrent list to evolve all-India policies on the subject.
  • 42nd Constitutional Amendment: The 42nd CAA 1976 implemented this recommendation, shifting ‘education’ from the State list to the concurrent list without detailed rationale or adequate state debate.
  • 44th Constitutional Amendment Attempt: The Former government attempted to reverse this through the 44th amendment (1978), but the proposal to bring ‘education’ back to the State list passed in the Lok Sabha but not in the Rajya Sabha.


International Practices

  • United States: State and local governments set educational standards, mandate tests, and supervise institutions, with the federal department focusing on financial aid, key issues, and equal access.
  • Canada: Education is completely managed by provinces.
  • Germany: The constitution vests legislative powers for education with landers (States).
  • South Africa: Governed by two national departments for school and higher education, with provincial departments implementing policies and addressing local issues.
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