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Meet on educational reforms today

G. Mahadevan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ability and willingness of the government and the Opposition to forge a political consensus on redrawing the contours of higher education in the State will be put to test on Thursday at an all-party meeting convened by Education Minister M.A. Baby to discuss the reports of three expert committees set up by the Kerala State Higher Education Council.

At that meeting, leaders of parties which have representation in the State Assembly will discuss the reports of the U.R. Ananthamoorthy committee on a new education policy, the Anandakrishnan committee on reviewing the Acts of universities in the State and that of the Jacob Tharu Committee on revamping varsity examinations.

A late inclusion in the agenda is the report of the Lida Jacob committee for implementing the Right to Education Act in Kerala.

With elections to the State Assembly on the horizon, this could well be the last major pitch by the government for a consensus on educational reforms. For that very reason, the Opposition parties would not be under any pressure to reach an all-out agreement on the implementation of these reports. By all available indications the Jacob Tharu committee report is the one which may elicit an in-principle nod from the Opposition. It is also likely that the Opposition will ask the government to defer the implementation of the reports of the other committees.

“The Anandakrishnan and Ananthamoorthy committees have made some impractical suggestions. These reports need to be subjected to detailed discussions. This is truer in the case of the Lida Jacob committee report. Its recommendations will impact different stakeholders in Kerala's education sector. Naturally, they also need to be consulted. Only after such steps can any thought be given to implementing any recommendation,” a senior UDF leader told The Hindu.

The Education Minister's take on this is that politics should be kept out of discussions on improving the quality of education in the State.

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