2019 Election Manifesto : Top Pro-Education Policies You Should Know


If a country wants to compete and excel at global levels, it must produce thinkers and innovators. And education is the key driver behind this path of growth and development of any nation. However, the paradox is that it seldom gets enough public and political attention. Will the focus on education intensify or just be restricted to elections fervour? check out what political parties promise to do for education in the election manifesto.

Will things change after this 2019 election – we will have to wait and watch.

Education Policies during Five-Year Plans (FYPs) in India

Five-Year Plans (FYPs) are centralized and integrated national economic programs. The first Five-Year Plan was implemented in the country from 1951-1956.

Since then, there has been a lot of fervour around education reforms in the country. At the end of the first five-year plan, five Indian Institutes of Technology  (IITs) were started as major technical institutions. The University Grants Commission (UGC) was set up to take care of funding and take measures to strengthen higher education in the country.

During the third five year plan, state secondary education boards were formed and States were made responsible for secondary and higher education. Primary education to all children in the country became one of the main objectives of the Ninth Five-Year Plan.

During the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, Manmohan Singh was the prime minister. The plan aimed to increase the enrollment in higher education of 18-23 years of age group by 2011-12. Empowerment through education and skill development was one of its key objectives.

In the Twelfth Five-Year Plan of the Government of India, it was decided to enhance access to higher education. It focused on distant education, a convergence of formal, non-formal, distant and IT education institutions.

The political manifestos of various national parties during several elections have proposed systemic reforms of the education sector with special focus on primary, secondary and higher education.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act), brought by Congress Party focused on reducing the number of school dropouts. School education, in particular, has received considerable attention from major political parties during election season and thereafter.

But is the focus on education reforms going to intensify or will the agenda just be restricted to election fervour, remains to be seen. So, let’s see what national political parties promise to do for education through their party manifestos in the political exercise this time.

2019 Election Manifesto: Top Pro-Education Policies You Should Know – What do political parties have in store for education in 2019?

It is important to be aware of future developments in education since we are key beneficiaries of the same as crucial stakeholders in the whole process.

Election manifesto is an important document for voters to know about the political vision of the parties who are going to govern the nation for the next five years. They indicate a party’s commitment to socio-political and economic reforms in the country.

The BJP’s educational vision in the 2019 Political manifesto  proposes five key reforms for improving the quality of education. The party has advocated teacher education reforms by setting up a National Institute for Teacher Training. It will provide four-year integrated courses setting the standards for quality teachers in our schools.

Under the “Prime Minister Innovative Learning Programme”, the party desires to allocate more resources for ‘talented’ children. The programme will bring together children for a certain period in a year in one place from all over the country and provide facilities and resources for them to excel. The programme intends to instil a culture of lateral thinking and innovation among them.

The Political manifesto assures to replicate the success of world-class Technology, Science and Medical institutions of the country for creating similar institutions of eminence in the areas of Arts, Culture, Dance and Music. It further hopes to open a state-of-the-art Hospitality and Tourism University and a Police University.

BJP’s manifesto also talks about promoting a programme for ‘Study in India’ which aims to attract foreign students for pursuing higher education in India. It aims to make India a major education hub for international students. The party wishes to encourage the use of technology in improving the teaching-learning process.

Lastly, the BJP intends to invest in human potential by focusing on the quality of primary/secondary schools as well as expanding the tertiary education capacity. In addition, it also aims to invest in a select set of universities and research institutions in order to make them world class.

The 2019 Political manifesto of Indian National Congress (INC) has also outlined some key focus points for reforms in the education sector. The issues their manifesto touches upon are related to technology in the classroom, committing 6% of the GDP to education, reforms in teacher education, regularization of contract teachers, allocating funds for improving school infrastructure and other facilities in educationally backward districts of the country etc.

The party hopes to widen the scope of the right to education. In school education, it seeks to bring greater access, equity and quality. It has proposed major institutional reforms in the sector under its 2019 election manifesto.

Both national parties have expressed the need for increasing the number of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), a system of alternative schools for gifted students in rural India. JNVs are fully residential and co-educational schools affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The Indian National Congress plans to empower the University Grants Commission. After coming to power, the Congress proposes that School Education be transferred to the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution while retaining the subject of Higher Education in the Union List.

Congress promises to attach the highest importance to learning outcomes. Vocational training will be a compulsory component of school education in Classes IX to XII under the party’s regime if it comes to power. Congress believes that the country needs more Universities. It hence promises to set up more public universities in the country, especially in disadvantaged areas.

Congress wishes to strengthen the University Grants Commission or its successor by providing sufficient funds for offering grants to colleges and universities on a need-cum-merit basis. Its manifesto seeks to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education from the current level of 25.8 to the level of at least 40 in a period of 5 years.

The political manifesto of Communist Party of India (Marxist), speaks about the problems in the public schooling system and the need for a common schooling system in India.

 Political Manifestos and the Foundation for a New Indian Education System

Needless to say that during general elections the focus of all national parties is to attract voters by making aspirational policy predictions on all fronts of governance

As far as the focus on education sector is concerned, all political parties must believe in modernizing the education system in India, so that the students can optimally benefit from it in a globalized environment. They should seek to ensure knowledge oriented outcomes for the students and work towards improving overall quality of learning.

In a technology driven era, due emphasis should be given to new and innovative mediums of delivering education. If the nation wants to take education system in India to the next level, the government in power must allocate major resources for imparting quality higher education and fostering the culture of research in academic institutions.

There is an immediate need for radical reforms in India’s education system. These changes should not just be restricted to syllabus and pedagogy, but should also reflect in our attitudinal shift towards the whole process if we are to take advantage of our vast demography.

The education system in India is presently facing several issues and challenges in transforming students into learners, innovators, scholars, researchers and trainers. Education reforms currently planned or implemented need to have a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of what is required to be done on the ground.

The emergence of a knowledge-based economy is pushing education reforms in the developed world. The same intensity and willingness to revamp the education system has to be replicated in developing countries like India.

Technological adaptation and innovation in teaching-learning have to be fast if we wish to compete on a global scale. The only right education can equip people with the skills and attitudes needed to be successful in the global economy.

Policies and strategies that drive robust educational reforms have to be put in place by creating formal structures in the system.

Education is the backbone of effective growth and development of a country’s overall Economy. The role of education is hence very crucial at all levels of policymaking.

Further Readings:

Noteworthy Digital Initiatives that are Redefining Rural Education in India

A Look at Key Indian Educational Policy Reforms and Initiatives in this Decade

Best Digital Initiatives for Promoting Girl Education in India