Q 1. What is the problem represented to be in the policy?
Q.2 What presupposition lies behind this representation of problem?
Q.3 How has this problem representation come out?
Q.4 What is left unproblematic in this problem representation? Where are the silences? Can the problem be thought about differently?
Q5. What is the effect of this representation of the problem?
Q.6 Where has this representation of the problem been produced, disseminated and defended? How it could be questioned or replaced?
Education in India is provided by both public sector and private sector. Though the funding comes from central, state and local level, still India still lags behind in expense of education. Another drawback is that despite enrollment of student in different educational courses, no major improvement in skills and talent required for productivity is seen. This reflects that quality of education is not up to international standard. All this also indicates that the educational policies implemented so far has not been successful. Series of issues needs to be addressed by means of appropriate policies so that Indian education system is strengthened. Recent policy are responding to the issue of inequity in education and looking to promote education among all people (Indian Education System – Issues And Challenges – Byjus, 2017). Identifying strength and impact of previous policies will helps to determine improvement in new policies. On that basis, it can be said that the Rasthriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan was an important policy that looked to improve the quality of education in India. The purpose of this report is to analyze this policy initiative by use of appropriate framework and evaluate its impact on educational leadership. This would help to understand how the policy constructs identities for leaders.
Identification of the policy:
The first policy formulated for promoting the education among Indian citizen was the National Policy on Education. The policy was first implemented in 1986 and modified again in the year 1992. The main vision of the policy was to improve the education scenario of India. It was planned to review the progress of the policy and work out new policies and programmes. It was also planned to widen access to the secondary schools and make it universalized. With this initiative, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) was formulated in 2009 for the development of secondary education. The main objective of this policy was to enhance access and improve the quality of secondary education. The scheme was implementer from 2009-2010. The initial target was to achieve enrollment rate in secondary schools by 75% by providing reasonable access to secondary education to all people. Other secondary goal of the RMSA policy was to eliminate gender and socioeconomic barrier in the attainment of secondary education and comply to prescribed norm of secondary school. The time set for the achievement of the universal access goals was 2017 and it was intended to achieve full universal retention by 2020 (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) | Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, 2017).
Through this policy initiative, several secondary schools in India gained access to important physical facilities such as additional class rooms, libraries, drinking water provisions, residential facilities for teachers in remote areas and additional toilet blocks. This basic facilities promote better engagement of teachers and increase in enrolment rate. The scheme provided support to people with disability by establishing inclusive education for disabled at secondary stage from 2013-2014. On the other hand, some of the important quality provisions provided by the scheme were special focus on science, maths and English education, curriculum reforms, teaching reforms and ICT (information and communication technology) enabled education (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (Integrated) | Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, 2017). The ICT enable education was a means to combine technology and education to support and optimize learning process in schools. There is also evidence worldwide that ICT has the potential to make students better learners and enhance the teaching process. Integrating technology with school curriculum has been associated with positive impact on student’s achievement level (Fu, 2013).
Description of the analytical framework:
The WPR approach framework will be analyzed for detailed critical analysis of the MRSA policy. It is called the ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ approach which facilitates critical interrogation of public policies. It is based on the premise that proposal to do something reflects people’s perception on problematic areas which needs to changes (Bacchi, 2009).. Therefore, the main goal of WPR analysis is to analyze how problem is represented in policies and then evaluated the problem and its solutions explicitly.
WPR analysis focuses on the identifying the unexamined assumption presents within problem representation. On that basis, different premise of knowledge hidden in public policies can be identified such as psychological premise, biomedical premise or developmental premise. During the formulation of the WPR approach, only four questions were used to analyze the policy, however with the most recent modification, 2 more questions were added (Question 3 and 6). These two questions were included to determine the impact of power involved in shaping policies. The following is the list of 6 questions of the WPR framework and the purpose of each:
Question 1- What’s the problem represented to be in specific policies?
With this question, the aim is to aware about problem presented in the policy
Question 2- What assumptions underpin the representation of problem in policies?
This helps in identifying the underlying premise in the perception of problems.
Question 3- How the problem representation has come out?
The answer to this question can be given by analyzing the problems and process through which this problem has been identified.
Question 4- What are the gaps in problem representation?
The purpose of this question is to carefully scrutinize limitations of policies in policy representation.
Question 5- What is the impact of this form of problem representation?
This is the most important point for assessment of policies where relevant solutions to the problem is evaluated by means of policy initiative.
Question 6- How has the problem been produced, disseminated and defended. How it has been replaced?
This helps to determine the progress of the policy and any modifications with time.
WPR framework has been chosen for the evaluating the MRSA policy because it utilized a broader approach to analyze compared to other framework. Furthermore, this analytical approach has found application in wide range of fields such as public policy, law, health science and others. WPR offers an innovative way to analyze policy. The conventional view was that public policies respond to problems that are not yet identified in policy process and that are not yet solved. However, the WPR approach challenges this approach by arguing that policies represents problem that they appear to address (Bacchi & Goodwin, 2016). With this view, the goal of this approach is to critically scrutinize problem representations in policies. Therefore, through the application of the six questions, the RMSA policy will be critically analyzed.
Application of the framework to the analysis of the policy:
The performance of the RMSA policy and its problem representation is analyzed by the application of the six questions of the WPR in policy analysis. The following is the detailed analysis of the policy with respect to the six questions?
1.From the objectives of the RMSA policy, it is understood that India lacks behind in quality education and the enrollment of student in secondary school education. The policy objectives reflect this problem in the Indian education system. High quality of education is needed to develop skills and talent, however India has lagged behind in productivity due to gap in skills. This weakness is attributed from gaps in school level education because modern means of teaching and learning is not utilized in India. Large difference exists in among schools in access to different kinds of educational technology (Klemencic & Fried, 2015). Very few schools integrate ICT in the education and learning process. Students going to high minority schools have less access to useful technologies compared to other schoold. This has been the reason why MRSA policy planned to introduce ICT enabled education in schools.
Another problem in Indian education represented in the policy is that of poor participation rate of children in secondary school education particularly in rural areas. Enrolment rate was low because of local barriers like larges distance between home and school and poor facilities in school. That is why the Government sought to systematically remove the barrier in accessing secondary school education by means of providing secondary school within a reasonable distance of habitation and planned of improving physical facility provision through the MRSA policy (Klemencic & Fried, 2015). The policy also represents poor professional development in school teachers in rural area. 65% of the population resides in rural areas and poor skills development in teachers act as a barrier in achieving the universal education goals. Currently, young learners of India are not future ready because of problems and issues experienced by teachers. They are provided unsatisfactory training and often engaged in non-teaching duties. This has been the reason for demotivation in the job too. Digital aid is also needed to improve the scenario of secondary school education (Featurephilia, 2017).
2.From the analysis of the MRSA policy, it can be said that the main assumption behind the representation of the problem is the lack of universal and high quality education system in India. Although innovation is seen in urban education, however rural learners and disabled persons remains neglected (Pritchett, 2013). Hence, this group needs much more attention to promote education in India. MRSA policy looked to address gender, socio-economic and disability barriers in educations. This reflects that the policy has the presupposition that educational performance is poor due to this barriers present within the system. One news article gives insight into the gender disparity to literacy in India by stating that gender barrier has blocked the gateway for development. The difference is understood from the 2011 census data according to which male literacy rate was 80.89 % and the female literacy rate was 64.64%. This might also be contributing to slow pace of educational development in the country (Gender disparity a barrier to literacy in India : Private Jobs, 2017). On the other hand, socioeconomic barrier and inequity in learning process in rural and urban areas is the reason behind the supposition that India is performing poorly in terms of quality of education.
3.This problem representation has come out by means of many government level actions to improve the educational performance of India. The MRSA policy mostly focused on secondary education because this is the foundation on which higher educational goals can be laid. If the quality of secondary education is exceptional, it will support an individual in preparing for higher educational goals too. This would enhance their skill globally and facilitate better recruitment opportunities in job market (O'Flaherty & Phillips, 2015). Apart from the MRSA policy, the need for improvement in the secondary education was also proposed by many National Education Commission. With increased focus on ICT as a tool for enhancing learning worldwide, India also planned to integrate it in curriculum. Banerjee, Mandal, & Dey, (2014, April) gave insight into the need of ICT enabled education by affirming that knowledge and technology is essential in the age of innovation and productivity. The adoption of ICT at all levels has been proposed to enhance productivity and growth of countries. In the context of education, it facilitates infrastructure development as well as learning process. Therefore, government took several initiative to improve educational facilities in India and promote high quality learning.
4.The MRSA policy recognized the disability and socio-economic barriers in universal access to secondary level education, however it failed to give detail on specific facilities for available to support children with disability in education. Although the MRSA policy proposed inclusive education for disables at secondary stage, however no insight was given regarding the resources that would have helped in maximizing learning in this group of children. The physical facilities provisions under the scheme mainly focused on general schools without considering the disabled students. Recognizing the learn skill and skill acquisition of this group is important because they are most vulnerable to live in poor condition. Poverty and disability might be a barrier in enrollment in schools (Cortiella & Horowitz, 2014). Hence, in order to achieve the objective of universal access to secondary education, the policy must have paid more attention to learning needs of this group. In addition, no assessment criteria has been provided for the progress of quality in secondary education which is the silences of the MRSA policy.
This problem can be thought differently by looking for sources that can maximize resources for people with disability in order to achieved high quality of education at all level. It would also act a means to alleviate poverty and promote economic growth.
5.The overall impact and progress of RMSA policy cannot be clearly stated now because it visions was to achieve the goals by 2020 and the policy initiative and action is still in progress. However, it is likely to bring positive results for the whole society because youth is the future for economic development of the country. The focus on quality of education has the potential to enhance quality in learning process and build confidence of students. Indian citizens will be prepared to contest and compete globally in all areas (Stromquist & Monkman, 2014). With better acquisition in learning and appropriate learning resources, more and more number of people are likely to continue education and engage in higher educations. This will make their career prospects bright and help to yield economic benefits for the country too. Effect will be also be seen in the area of disparities as it looked to enhance all barriers in the achievement of educational goals.
6.The problem in education system is produced in the MRSA policy by formulating objective to enhance access to education and improve its quality. The resolution for the problem as represented in the RMSA policy is disseminated by State/ UT government action. They are implementing several programmers' and strategies for state allocation to provide physical resource to schools. However, the policy is defended by several challenges by funding issue and achieving gender parity. Although the Government of India has released share, however the appropriate utilization is low because of corrupt practices (Kapur & Misra, 2015).
The problem presented in meeting the objective of the MRSA policy can be questioned by Ministry of Human Resource Development in India because its utilizes the potential of young people and takes interest in secondary school level issues. MHRD is also involved in strengthening lives of young people to lead a better life (Gupta, Raman, & Krisanthan, 2016).
Leadership professional identities and practices constructed in the policy:
The success of educational policy is understood from its emphasis on the role of school leaders. This is important because they are the person who plays a direct role involved in learning process and developing skills of children. The MRSA policy also realized the role of school leaders as it proposed teaching learning reforms, in-service training for teachers and providing hostels to teachers in remote areas. By this strategy, school leaders got adequate opportunities to enhance their professional skills and overcome all barriers to provide children high quality of education. Furthermore, with the proposal of ICT enables teaching, it provided teachers with additional support to optimize teaching and learning process. This would develop interest in learning and more and more children will enroll in classes too.
The essay focused on the critical evaluation of the RMSA policy to determine its importance in bringing improvement in education system of India. The use of the WPR analytical framework helped in the identification of the problem that the policy represented and how it proposed to solve the limitations in the education system. The MRSA policy aimed to achieve quality in secondary education and for this it propose many actions. The evaluation of the policy helped in understanding the assumptions of the policy and the manner in which it is disseminated by the government to initiate effective actions related to the policies. As the policy is still going, positive results is likely to be seen by 2020.
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