New Delhi, Oct. 29: M.M. Pallam Raju has carried over into his new job as human resource development minister a pet project from his earlier one: making NCC training a marks-carrying elective subject in schools and colleges.
One fallout of the idea, which Raju had floated in July as junior defence minister, is the introduction in general colleges of a whole gamut of credit-carrying, elective extra-curricular subjects of which NCC will be one. The proposal entails:
The introduction of marks or weightage points for NCC in schools, where the training now remains an entirely voluntary exercise that not many schools offer. Under the new proposal, NCC will be one among several elective extra-curricular subjects such as physical education, literary creative skills, science clubs, painting, drama, dancing and music, of which students must pick two.
A suggested 70 to 30 split in college credits between academic and extra-curricular subjects in general streams. Now, academic subjects account for the entire credits.
Raju was bothered that students have not been opting for NCC in schools and colleges because it cuts down their time for study in an era of extremely competitive entrance exams in higher education. India now has only 13 lakh NCC cadets from its student pool across 40,000 colleges and over three lakh secondary and senior secondary schools.
On July 5, the Central Advisory Committee on National Cadet Corps met under then junior defence minister Raju’s chairmanship and accepted his proposal to attract more students to NCC training.
A committee of defence and HRD ministry officials is now working on a mechanism to implement it. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has agreed in principle to adopt the proposal in its 10,000 affiliated schools.
The CBSE has introduced Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in Classes IX and X for students who do not wish to take the Class X board exam, which Raju’s predecessor Kapil Sibal had made optional.
Under CCE, a student has to clear four formative assessments (FAs), including two extra-curricular subjects. The NCC course can be introduced as one of the elective extra-curricular FAs. However, the CBSE is yet to take a formal decision.
Madhulika Sen, principal of Tagore International School in Delhi, said it was a good idea.
“NCC can be offered as one of the extra-curricular activities and students can be awarded marks. It’s a feasible idea,” Sen said. She, however, added that most schools in Delhi do not provide for NCC training because of a lack of time and infrastructure.
Higher education regulator University Grants Commission has mooted trying out the proposal as a pilot project in 25 of the country’s nearly 400 autonomous colleges that have the freedom to devise new courses.
The commission has suggested that the principals of these autonomous colleges and the vice-chancellors of the universities they are affiliated to be called to a meeting next month to discuss the idea.
The NCC headquarters here has prepared the syllabus, integrating components of physical training and social service.
Raju is expected to formally take over his new charge on Wednesday while Jitin Prasada assumed office today as one of his junior ministers. Prasada said his priorities would be to properly implement the Right To Education Act and promote minority education.