In line with the goal of nation building, India has been committed to providing free and compulsory education to all children. Towards this end, Indian Parliament has enacted a legislation making free and compulsory education a Right of every child in the age group 6-14 years which has come into force from 1st April, 2010. Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan has been launched recently as a step to universalize secondary education. Simultaneously, efforts are being made to create a robust and vast system of higher and technical education.
Building upon the existing capacities and recognizing the immense contribution to nation building that the large network of educational institutions has made in the post independent India; the country has embarked upon a second phase of expansion and establishment of centres of excellence in higher education. It is envisioned that strengthening the two ends of the spectrum, namely, elementary education and higher/technical education would help in meeting the objectives of expansion, inclusion and excellence in education.
The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) is the highest advisory body to advise the Central and State Governments in the field of education. Recent years have seen certain important committees and commissions deliberate on education. National Knowledge Commission (2006) Report on higher education supports a strong reform agenda through public investment. Recently, the report of the committee on renovation and rejuvenation of higher education (Yashpal Committee) has recommended protecting the intellectual autonomy of educational institutions and the creation of an all-encompassing National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) to replace or subsume the existing regulatory bodies. The report talks about the concept of a university as a place where research and teaching become two important pillars of the creation of knowledge and should go together. It should provide practical training to the people that should be based on new knowledge and in response to social and personal needs. Most importantly, university should allow for the diverse growth of knowledge and should not lead to fragmentation of knowledge. It is, therefore, recommended that normally, no single discipline or specialized university should be created. There is also an idea that undergraduate programs should be restructured to enable students to have opportunities to access all curricular areas with fair degree of mobility.
The government has already initiated steps in the direction of implementing some of the recommendations.