The National Education Policy 1986 required reformulation. A committee reviewed the NPE 1986 and came up with a detailed programme/plan of action. And the POA 1992 was framed to give suggestions in this regard.
The review committee included six education ministers, eight educationists under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri N Janardhana Reddy. Other than this, twenty-two taskforces including educationists and government officials were also constituted (for varied subject areas) along with a steering committee.
The Need and Goals of Programme of Action 1992
Education policies in India aim to reorganize the structure of education across different stages. Post the NPE 1986, the POA 1992 aimed at the realization of the long-term goals such as universal enrollment and retention.
Here’s a look at the main recommendations of the POA 1992:
Early Childhood Care and Education
In order to materialize the aims of the NPE 1986, the POA highlighted the need to strengthen the programs along with their components. It suggested a coordinated functioning of the government and non-government agencies to meet the goals of the ECCE programs. Under this POA, early childhood and care were given special importance. And it proposed special training (through training centers) for the Anganwadi workers to improve the quality of early childhood education.
Universalization of Elementary Education – UEE
Another aim of the POA was to achieve the targets for UEE. It suggested many innovations and revised schemes like the ‘Non-Formal Education’ for students who cannot attend full-time schools. Other than this, it also focused on 10 states (educationally backward), wherein the shared responsibility was between the center and state government in the ratio of 50:50.
Plan of Action 1992 acknowledged the need to further expand opportunities for secondary education. Like other education policies in India, the NPE had also envisioned better participation of the backward classes. However, the POA 1992 increased the autonomy of the Boards of Secondary Education and reorganized them.
This action plan also came up with a visionary idea to improve digital literacy and technological skills in students. And this vision was helpful for the future, as in the present times we do have full-fledged online schooling and digital learning options.
Navodaya Vidyalayas to Improve the Quality of Education
The POA 1992 envisaged opening of Navodaya Vidyalayas across the nation. These schools were planned to help the high achievers irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds.
This proposal was quite beneficial to improve the quality of schooling for the masses. Because almost 40.7% of the students were already below the poverty line.
Women education was also a top priority as per this programme of action. It suggested more development programs, and aimed at enhancing their legal literacy (about their rights).
It suggested running gender and poverty sensitization programs to curb issues like gender disparity. Besides, all teachers were to be trained through innovative training programs to be the agents of women empowerment. Through institutions and women organizations, it also envisioned creating new women study centers.
Adult Education and Micro-Planning
Under the Non-Formal Education initiatives, the committed suggested improving the educational opportunities for adults. Innovative programs like distance education and open school system were suggested for female students residing in remote, rural, and urban areas. For students living in tribal areas, educational micro-planning was suggested. Besides, there was also a special focus on the education of adult illiterate women.
Education for Students With Disabilities
For 12.59 million children with disabilities, the committee suggested some important steps. To meet the needs of special students, teacher training was to be reoriented as per the inclusive classrooms. And similarly, the need to reorient non-formal and adult educational programs was also highlighted.
How did the POA 1992 help in restructuring the Indian education system?
The Plan of Action 1992 was yet another important step towards the complex task of restricting the education system in India. Of all the previous education policies in India, this one focused the most on the development of scientific knowledge and preempted the need of 21st-century schooling. It aimed at a substantial improvement within our education system. And gave attention to the aspects that can determine the progress of our developing nation.
What Went Wrong?
Despite the vision of a more student-centric learning environment, POA 1992 did not suggest any concrete steps to help with this goal. It did not highlight the changes needed in the textbooks, pedagogies, and teacher training to create a more learner-centric schooling system. Even at the university level, there was no proper planning shared for resource mobilization as suggested in the POA. And once again funds mattered and these policies could not be 100% successful.
Final Thoughts on this Education Policy:
It is not an easy task to make educational reforms in a country. For decades now, our policy-makers have taken some great steps to improve the condition of education in India. With NPE 1986, India got some visionary ideas to work on the core of its educational system. And the Plan of action in the year 1992 did help in modifying these as per the changing needs of the times.
Let’s take up the National Curriculum Framework 2005 next!