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The Tamil Nadu budget had said that a panel of experts and educationists will be constituted to formulate a state education policy that takes into account Tamil Nadu’s historical traditions, current situation, and future expectations. With the state government fiercely opposing the national new education policy, the panel constituted today to formulate the state policy will be headed by T Murugesan, former judge of Delhi high court. Justice Murugesan headed the panel that came up with the 7.5% reservation for government school students.

L Jawahar Nesan, educationist who served in the AK Rajan panel on NEET, is serving in this committee, too. He has written a book that has critiqued the new education policy of the Union government. He recently wrote an article in inmathi.com critiquing the Union government’s move to create a flexible credit system.

Former computer science professor at MatScience Institute at Taramani Ramanujam, member of state planning commission Sultan Ismail, professor Rama Srinivasan, Aruna Rathnam who has served in the Unicef, writer S Ramakrishnan, chess champion V Anand, musician TM Krishna, school principal Thulasidasan, professor S Madasamy and Agaram Foundation’s Jayasree Damodaran are among those nominated to the panel. The committee will submit a report within a report to the state government on a new education policy for the state.

Education policies are drawn up at Union and state level to cater to new demands, expectations and to kindle scientific thinking and creativity among students. These policies quickly become outdated since today’s technology-driven world changes rapidly and education has to keep up with rapidly changing society. Recognizing these aspects, the state government has said that new model of education are needed for which such a panel is needed.

The panelists will bring their own inputs into creating a holistic policy that will be tuned to the state’s needs. They will likely not go in the general direction of central policy that seeks to promote private initiatives as well as provide a diffused and individualistic thrust. R Ramanujam worked extensively in the total literacy movement in the early 1990s. TM Krishna has challenged brahmin dominance in Carnatic music and has tried to take the art form to children from tribal and underprivileged sections. Madasamy too played a key role in the total literacy movement. Agaram Foundation has been supporting students from underprivileged sections. R Srinivasan, former registrar of Madras University, brings a keen data-driven approach and objectivity to broader policy goals.

Education policies are drawn up at Union and state level to cater to new demands, expectations and to kindle scientific thinking and creativity among students. These policies quickly become outdated since today’s technology-driven world changes rapidly and education has to keep up with rapidly changing society. Recognizing these aspects, the state government has said that new model of education are needed for which such a panel is needed.

Education is on the concurrent list. The state government has a significant role in education although there has been a tendency by the Union government to centralize education. NEET is a prime example that is a big issue in Tamil Nadu. The state governor has not forwarded the revised state legislation on NEET to the president for approval.

Following NEET, many other centralized tests are coming up making them compulsory for higher education in various institutions. Cucet is one such example. A state-level education policy will seek to counter that trend and offer an alternative. Strengthening public schools and the concept of neighbourhood schools will be a priority for the policy makers. The new policy will seek to help the state in establishing its rights and take forward state priorities in higher education.


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