The Parliament has 40 days to debate on the proposals. The members of the Parliament may question the Education Minister on the proposals and may demand the withdrawal of any proposal presented by him.
Thus, the Education Minister has to honour the wishes of the Parliament. In fact, it is the Parliament which controls the educational organisations of the country. But the Parliament has no right to pass any rule to bring about changes in the curriculum, text books, and methods of teaching and related matters. This responsibility lies with the Local Educational Authorities, principals and teachers.
The Act of 1944 has defined the educational powers of the Education Minister. Below we outline the Education Minister’s duties which he performs according to the accepted democratic traditions as laid down in the Education Act of 1944:—
The Education Minister should formulate a national educational policy for England and Wales. All the educational institutions and Local Educational Authorities that come under him have to work-out this policy.
The Education Minister has to see that the same is implemented. In the performance of his duties, the Education Minister is influenced by his political party. He seeks advice from the Prime Minister and other Minister-colleagues about his educational policies.
Although, the Education Minister is the final formulator of the educational policies, but he has to seek advice from the Chancellor of the Exchequer who is the Chief of the Finance Department. The Education Minister consults other officers of his department, Local Educational Authorities and representatives of teachers.
Thus, ultimately he places his proposals before the Parliament. The Education Minister is the head of the Education Ministry and for the implementation of the proposals passed by the Parliament; he is responsible to the government.
In the country the Education Minister represents the Parliament. His powers are limited to secondary education alone. He cannot interfere in university affairs. The universities in England and in Wales are independent in their affairs and do not look to the Education Minister for financial grants.
They derive direct grants from the Chancellor of Exchequer. Besides the universities, Juvenile Delinquents Schools, Elder Delinquents Schools and Armed Forces and Auxiliary Services Schools are also beyond his control. The Armed Forces and Auxiliary Services Schools are directly controlled by admiralty, war-office and air-force.
The Education Minister does not interfere in day-to-day working of the schools. He has no concern with the appointments and resignations of teachers. He has nothing to do with selection of text-books and material-aids meant for schools.
The Education Minister neither controls public libraries, museums and art-galleries nor recommends financial grants. But, such public institutions as museums which are considered of national importance are placed under his control and he recommends financial grants for them. Bethnal Green Museum in East London, the Science Museums of South Kensington and Victoria and Albert Museums are under him.
The committee appointed in 1951 lays down the following six subjects which come under the direct control of the Education Minister:—
1. The Education Minister should pay special attention to the organisation of educational facilities.
2. He has also to see that all the educational institutions are functioning smoothly. For this he should provide them with the necessary educational implements.
3. He should see that only those teachers and medical officers should be appointed in schools who can look after the needs and the interest of students satisfactorily.
4. He should pay adequate attention to maintaining reasonable standards of education.
5. The Education Minister should see that students are charged reasonable fees and teachers are given adequate dearness-allowance and salaries.
6. The Education Minister should see that teachers, guardians and other persons related with educational affairs enjoy appropriate freedom.
The government has accepted the above recommendations and the Education Minister acts accordingly. The Education Minister is responsible for formulation of the following nine rules:—
1. Rules for determining educational standards within the school limits.
2. Rules for primary and secondary institutions.
3. Rules for Further Education.
4. Rules for Local Educational Authorities.
5. Rules for facilities for milk and lunch in schools.
6. Rules for education of the handicapped children.
8. Rules for scholarships and other benefits.
9. Rules for teachers’ training.
Besides, the Education Minister may form some other rules as well. Hence, he makes about 20 other rules which include affairs pertaining to registration of students and state scholarships. The Education Minister can modify his own rules.
He issues circulars for clarifying his rules and policies. The educational institutions and education officers are not compelled to follow the points in these circulars because they are not issued as orders. They are just ‘advices’.
However, the decisions taken by the Education Ministry are to be followed by the educational institutions. But, such decisions are not published in the circulars issued by the Education Minister.
In addition to the above circulars the Education Minister issues some administration memoranda as well. These contain direction for the daily routine of schools. The decisions taken by-the Ministry of Education are also published in there.