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In our view, the first and foremost reform that India needs is a complete overhaul of the education system. We have the following solutions to offer, with a caveat.
 
Caveat: We have discussed this issue with a number of people from various walks of the life. While a majority of people who actually participate in the education system as contributor or beneficiary, did largely agree with our views, most of the policymakers, elite, and policy influencers found these too radical to implement.
 
Suggestions
 
1.    The Right to Education (RTE) law should be transformed into a more comprehensive Right to Uniform Education. It should be a fundamental right of all children to receive an equal and uniform opportunity to receive education.
 
2.    The government should establish and fund all educational institutions up to graduation level. All private institutions meeting the prescribed standards should be nationalized forthwith. All other should be shut down.
 
3.    All education till primary level should be in mother tongue, with Hindi and English as electives. From secondary level, all students should be given an option to choose their medium of instruction.
 
4.    Like the taxation system, the education and examination system should also be uniform across the country. All regional boards should be abolished. A central autonomous regulator should be established to administer and regulate the education system. The regulator should have six members, one from each region (North, South, East, West, Central and North East) and one Chairman. The members should be retired vice chancellors of the top university in each region. The chairman could be a top scholar.
 
5.    Up to secondary level the examinations should be to identify the strengths of the children rather than emphasizing in their failings. The post secondary course for the students should be chartered based on their strengths rather than ambitions of their parents.
 
6.    A strong vocational training network should be integrated with the post secondary education system. This network should be managed and funded by the industry under their CSR initiatives. The students should be assigned to this network based on their aptitude. The government's role in this network should be to make sure that the society honors the dignity of labor and no one is discriminated based on their profession.
 
7.    The examination system post secondary level should be purely job oriented. The Central regulator should conduct various examinations that would qualify the students for applying for various specialized courses and jobs. A student joining IIM soon after completing his stint at IIT and becoming a banker soon after is travesty of the system.
 
8.    The government should create an open source National Portal for Learning (NPL).
 
All working teachers should be required to upload at least one lecture per month on the portal. All teachers receiving pension should be encouraged and motivated to upload lessons and lectures related to any subject and standard.
 
Similarly, all class one bureaucrat should be mandatorily required to upload lessons on policy making and administration.
 
All professionals (e.g., doctors, engineers, CAs, lawyers, lecturers, etc.) should be required to earn certain continuing education credits. They may earn these credits by uploading lectures, lessons, case studies based on their real life professional experience etc.
 
Besides, all citizens should be encouraged to contribute to the portal. This way, the government can create a learning portal, having education and training material for all standards, professions, vocations in all languages. Anyone in the world can use this portal for learning anything they wish.
 
A system of evaluation (online tests etc.) could be integrated with the system to help people who can't attend regular schools due to age, inability or any other reason, to obtain formal qualifications.
 
9.    The NPL should be supplemented with a National Corps of Volunteers (NCV) who want to volunteer their time and skill for teaching and training Indian citizens. The regulator should approve their training/teaching program and provide necessary facilities (like class room in schools post normal school hours and required teaching material) to each such volunteer, who can then teach/train the interested participants. For example, if a retired English teacher wants to teach English to construction labor, rickshaw pullers, elderly parents etc., he can be provided a class room (post school hours), books and writing material for students. Similarly, if a Hotel chef wants to give cooking classes to people, he can be provided necessary facilities.
 
10.  The government should create six Exclusive Education Zones (EEZ), one in all regions of the country. These zones should be designated as neutral land for taxation, labor, education and currency law purposes. All reputed global education institutions should be invited to set up their integrated campus in these zones. The only conditions should be 20% admissions to Indian students and 40% jobs to Indian.
 
Every years billions of dollars worth of precious foreign currency is spent by Indian students travelling abroad for higher studies. Through these zones, we may be able to save much of these forex outgo. Besides, many foreign students who cannot got to advanced countries like US and UK for higher studies, can come and study here.
 
Besides, our teachers will get opportunity to collaborate with their global counterparts in research and development activities. And global best practices in education could be imported into our education & training system. We have seen tremendous of this in auto industry
 
11.  Accomplished people in every field should be encouraged and funded to establish their own Academies of Excellence (AoE) to promote excellence in their own field. For example, Padma Vibhushan in classical music may be encouraged to establish a residential music academy to train students in classical Indian music. Similarly, top professionals from medical, engineering, fine arts, yoga, languages, etc, could be invited to contribute positively to the nation building.
 
These are just a few suggestions. There is lot more that could be done.
 
If the readers are wondering, how this gigantic transformations will be funded. That is no problem at all.
 
The government may just exit all industrial and banking activities. The resources raised from these exit should be more than enough, besides the education surcharge, to pay for this endeavor. For next ten years, the corporates may be required to spend their mandatory CSR allowance only for this initiative.
 
The households will save billions, they pay for coaching and admissions of their children. This will be the biggest boost to private consumption and hence tax revenue.
 
NLP, if managed properly, can become a valuable asset as single point global source for all education and training needs. We would imagine it to be more valuable than Wikipedia, Whatsapp and Facebook put together, in less than a decade.
 
Are worried about the unemployment of millions of people engaged in the business of coaching? Well we too! :-)
Silkrose Fiscal Serviecs LLP & Adroit Research Team 
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