Ancient India in focus at key education panel meeting

Ashikavinod | Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:19 AM IST

Scientific knowledge should be available in Indian languages, and while Sanskrit is a great unifying factor for India, education should help inculcate pride in the country’s heritage, ancient achievements and value system, Minister of State for HRD Mahendra Nath Pandey said on Tuesday.

Addressing state ministers during the concluding session of the meeting of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), Pandey also emphasised the importance of military education for students. Even if 2,000 out of 10,000 students of Nalanda University had undergone military education they could have foiled Bakhtiyar Khilji’s plan to plunder and raze the ancient university.

Several important resolutions, including one on dilution of the no-detention policy under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, were passed at the meeting.

Congratulating the Madhya Pradesh government for launching an undergraduate engineering programme in Hindi, Pandey said, “Hamare desh mein language ki jo poor position hum azaad toh ho gaye lekin azaadi ke baad bhi apni — meri baat ko koi galat mat samajhiye — apni mansik daridrata se ubhar nahin paye hain. Humne apne science and technology ki cheezon ko…theek se apni matri bhasha main uska nirman nahin kiya (Our languages are in a poor state. We are an independent country but we are still slaves to our impoverished mentality. We have created little scientific knowledge and content in our own languages)”

The MoS, however, clarified he is not opposed to English. “Angrezi ke hum virodhi nahin hai. Angrezi ki zaroorat hai desh aur duniya main. Usko pura sthan dena chahiye (We do not oppose English. The country and world needs it. It should get the space it deserves)

Pandey also said that while modern education is important, we shouldn’t let our ancient education system and originality be eclipsed. During the meeting, the Tamil Nadu education minister objected to the alleged imposition of Sanskrit by the Centre. Referring to this, Pandey said that Sanskrit is a great unifying factor for the country.
Calling for education to become an instrument to inculcate pride and nationalism in students, Pandey said, “Hum aap jab (kisi) vivah pe jate hain, kahin apne ko present karte hain, agar aapke purva khandaan ka naam jo hai bahut acha hai toh usko zaroor batate hain. Hamare case ka jo ateet hai woh adhik behtar hai. Uska garv se naam lene ka bhaav rakhna chahiye. Usmein koi sankoch nahin hona chahiye. Woh mazbooti hai. Uske liye Japan udahran hai, China udahran hai… aur isse vyaqt karne ke liye shiksha se bada rasta nahin hai (Say at a wedding, if we hail from good family, we proudly associate ourselves with the family name. In the case of our country, our past is rich and glorious. We should be proud of it. Japan and China are a good examples of that. There can be no better instrument than education to achieve this).”

He also suggested that government school teachers should not be roped in for non-teaching jobs such as census and election duty.

CABE, the highest advisory body on education, passed a resolution urging the HRD ministry to amend the RTE Act to dilute the no-detention policy. As per the proposal, CABE wants students to be promoted compulsorily up to Class V, after which each state would have the freedom to decide if it wants to hold a student back or not. Under present rules, no child can be failed up to class VIII.

The resolution also states that learning outcomes should be clearly codified in the rules of the Act. CABE also urged the Centre to extend the deadline to train untrained teachers, under the RTE Act, by five years until 2020. The law currently prohibits the government from hiring teachers who do not possess the minimum qualification laid down by National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE). The state governments, as per the Act, had time will March 2015 to train all untrained teachers.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that his ministry would set up a new committee to look into the suggestions received on the new education policy. According to sources, the state governments have requested him to appoint their representatives on the panel this time. The five-member committee earlier set up by his predecessor, Smriti Irani, had four bureaucrats and one educationist. “The CABE has decided that the five pillars of the new education policy will be accessibility, quality, equity, accountability and affordability,” he told reporters after the meeting.