The Government has indicated that the subject of one nation, one election is likely to be discussed in the coming special session of Parliament. Assembly polls in five states are scheduled in the country ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.
In a rapidly evolving world, it is essential for nations to modernise their education systems. One such step toward educational transformation is the ‘One Nation, One ID’ initiative of the centre, which seeks to introduce the Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry (APAAR). This programme holds the potential to revolutionise the academic journey of students, enhance access to opportunities and streamline administrative processes for educational institutions. However, as with any ground-breaking initiative, there are pertinent questions and concerns that warrant attention. On the surface, the APAAR initiative seems like a significant leap forward. It offers students a centralised platform to access and manage their academic records, from pre-primary to higher education. This is a crucial move towards making education more organised and accessible for millions of students in India. One of the most compelling aspects of APAAR is its potential to simplify administrative processes for educational institutions. Standardised data and a reliable repository can reduce errors in databases and variations in data formats. This can lead to more efficient operations and better management of academic records. For schools and colleges already grappling with a multitude of tasks, this could be a welcome change. Furthermore, the system can improve students’ access to a range of opportunities. With their academic data readily available and reliable, students may find it easier to secure scholarships, job placements and enrolment in educational programmes. This has the potential to level the playing field, allowing students from all backgrounds to access opportunities that may have been elusive before.
However, as we delve deeper into the APAAR initiative, some crucial concerns emerge. Privacy and data security are paramount. Its stated objectives allude to the sharing of students’ academic data with entities involved in various educational activities. While this might be beneficial in many cases, it opens a Pandora’s box of privacy and security concerns. The data could end up in the wrong hands and students’ personal information could become vulnerable. Moreover, the consent process needs a closer look. There is evidently a lack of clarity about the implications of consent and an apparent effort to make it mandatory, covertly if not overtly. Informed decision-making is vital. Students and their parents should be fully aware of how their data will be used and shared. They must also have the choice to opt out with their data secure. This lack of transparency could create apprehension among those being asked to sign the consent form because transparency and clarity in the consent process are non-negotiable. Students and their academic records are too precious to be mishandled. Finally, there are implementation challenges to consider. Educational institutions, particularly those with well-established databases, might face difficulties in integrating this new system. Overhauling existing procedures and data management systems is no small feat and this transition must be as smooth as possible to avoid disruptions.