Report of the Menon Commission on Higher Education Reforms in Kerala

The report of the Shyam Menon Commission titled “Commission for Higher Education Reforms 2022” has now landed in the hands of the Kerala government.

The seven-member panel formed by the Kerala government under the leadership of former vice-chancellor of Delhi’s BR Ambedkar University has been tasked with exploring the possibilities of introducing reforms in step with the changing times .

Appointed in 2021, the commission included prominent scholars among its members to map higher education issues and suggest a roadmap for the future covering issues of knowledge, access and ease of doing education , an expression taken from the lexicon of the business world.

Bearing in mind the recent controversy between the chancellor and the state government, the Menon commission widely recommended insulating academic institutions from controversies arising from differences in interpretation of the federal character of the Indian constitution. The panel recommended many measures to improve the ecosystem of higher education institutions in Kerala.

The context

Kerala, to begin with, viewed the new education policy (NEP2020) with disagreements. After some time, the state government became somewhat receptive to some of the recommendations and decided to implement the reforms from the year 2023-24.

Previously, the Kerala State Board of Higher Education formed a committee under the leadership of the eminent economist, Professor Prabhat Patnaik, who suggested that the NEP, 2020 is retrograde and presents an exclusive view of the ‘education.

The committee expressed concern about potential challenges the program posed to access, equity, social justice and the reservation system.

While the union government has maintained that the NEP, 2020 is consultative in nature, the Kerala government has remained mindful of the carrot and stick approach of the UGC and decided to implement the NEP . Some of the recommendations of the Menon panel are listed below: