Top education body CABE hasn’t met since 2019 & Modi govt won’t say why

New Delhi: The high-powered committee that advises the government on policy decisions about education has not met since September 2019. And there are no immediate known plans for a meeting either, ThePrint has learnt.

The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) is the highest decision-making body for matters relating to education. Its members include the Union education minister, the minister of state for education, the education ministers of various states, and the heads of bodies like the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), among others.

According to education ministry records, the general practice of the board has been to hold a meeting every year. While there have previously been years with no meetings, this is the first time in a decade that the committee has not met for a three-year period with no immediate plans for a future meeting.

The 2019 meeting also took place after a delay of over a year and a half. The main agenda for this meeting was the discussion of the draft of the National Education Policy (NEP). There has been no CABE meeting on the implementation of the policy.

Sources in the ministry cited Covid as the reason for the committee not meeting in 2020 and 2021. However, there was no meeting in 2022 either, despite schools, colleges and other educational departments fully resuming physical instruction.

ThePrint sent a detailed questionnaire to the education ministry’s spokesperson, but there was no response. There was also no response to questions on whether CABE has been dissolved or replaced by another body. The report will be updated once a response is received.

A source in the ministry, however, said that while CABE meetings might not have taken place, policy matters continue to be discussed. The source said the ministry conducts regular meetings with representatives of states and other government departments.

“The Project Approval Board (PAB) meeting is held on a regular basis where most of the policy matters are discussed with individual states,” said the source.

Unlike CABE meetings, where representatives of all the states and different intersectional ministries (like women & child development and social welfare) interact with education ministry officials on the same platform, a PAB meeting is a one-on-one interaction between states and the Union ministry.

Also Read: If it ain’t in ‘national interest’, can’t teach it — UGC’s foreign university rules stump academics

Past CABE meetings

The last CABE meeting was chaired by the then-union minister of human resource development Ramesh Pokhriyal. He said that discussing the draft NEP “in the spirit of cooperative federalism” would promote a “healthy and enriching” dialogue between the central and state governments.

The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2018-19 was also released during the meeting.

Issues discussed in the 2018 meeting included readying the launch of Operation Digital Board, wherein smart boards were to be installed in government classrooms, plugging regional disparities, and grading autonomy of higher education institutions.

(Edited by Theres Sudeep)

Also Read: Why Indian parents are shifting kids to govt schools, but spending more on private tutors


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