A more broader agenda only can tackle the country’s education priorities. Mr. Arjun Singh the Union HRD minister is making a news!
Unlike other Ministers, including the PM who are not seen or heard.
Education priorities in India have got so distorted in India for so many wrong reasons many of the defeat of the BJP is enough to bury the so-called “suffrenisaton” drive. Textbooks could be changed or new questions bank created as suggested by the three historians to get over the pending distorted school texts.
What are the education priorities before Mr. Singh? Going by what the minister is doing, we are afraid, he is likely to fail to deliver. Why?
Education, specially elementary and school education, is lagging behind our targeted goals!
“Education for All” is the first priority. The huge number of school going age children outside the education stream is the biggest challenge. The World Bank had outline the Millennium Goals and India is a signatory to the Education for AI Millennium Goal. But the recently convened Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) seemed not to have deliberated in depth the education priorities. Since the CABE consists of state education ministers, the Union Minister must have discussed with his state counterparts the progress of the various education schemes in the states.
But there is no news about such a review. Nor, is there any indication how acquainted were the new members of the CABE with the education problems and priorities. They were no doubt highly competent persons with a high degree of sensitivity to education and yet there is no way of knowing whether they impressed upon the minister about a broad agenda, other than dealing with saffronisaton.
The various committees set up by the minister, in our view, is a waste time. There are enough work in progress, the minister has to speed up the enrolment drive, UP and Bihar are the problem states, W. Bengal and other Bimaru States are also problem states.
There are enough lessons learnt from Digvijay Singh’s much admired initiatives, innovations in MP. In AP and Karnataka the IT spread in the rural hinterland, through various e-governance projects need to be adopted for further spread and intensified . Education can be spread in the short time frame only through IT tools. Or low-cost schools as done in MP. Azim Premji, of Wipro, luckily, is in the Advisory Board. May be he is the only person who can help to spread education through IT tools. Narayanamurthy of Infosys and TCS people can be involved.
UP and Bihar, also MP and Rajasthan are now under non-Congress governments.
It is a pity, if we allow petty politics to hinder education spread Midday meals schools have be multiplied faster, immunisation programmes speeded up to save children from many dangerous diseases, child malnutrition deaths in Maharashtra must have sent a chill in the government ranks. But there is no evidence to show that chill! While these are the urgent priorities. Mr. Arjun Singh for once, must give a pause to fight the RSS. RSS will naturally weaken in the changed context so don’t worry. One hopes the education minister realises his time is running short. Education reform is exceedingly a difficult task. So, please attend to education. The point is the ground realities point to grim situations in children malnutrition, huge backlong of children out of school, poor infrastructure etc.