Education politics of India is expected to form core of next week’s state education ministers' meeting with the Centre likely to spell out its plan on 27 per cent OBC quota, Right to Education Bill, future of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and expansion of higher education.
HRD minister Arjun Singh had called the meeting to discuss pivotal state central relations in education and ways to foster educational growth in India. The Centre will urge the state to improve resources in wake of the government’s decision to reduce its share for SSA from 75 per cent to 50 per cent.
“Most states have already urged the HRD minister to restore the earlier ratio as generating 25 per cent additional funds for SSA would be difficult,” an official said, giving example of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal as crying foul over the resource crunch.
Ministry officials say the meeting will be utilised to take stock of implementation of 93rd Constitutional Amendment enabling states to implement 27 per cent OBC quota in admissions. Although most states have brought in laws to enforce the Constitutional provision, some are yet to initiate action, an official said. “We would also like to learn about the state government’s plan regarding expansion of higher education to fulfil the quota mandate,” a ministry official said.
Like SSA, the states want the Centre to provide funds for implementing the Right to Education Bill. Rejecting the model Right to Education Bill of the HRD ministry and its formula of incentives to state for implementing the proposed law, the states have urged the Centre to bear the responsibility entirely. The ministry would be coming up with a new proposal on Right to Education at the meeting, officials said.
HRD ministry will also like to allay fears of the state governments on imparting sex education. Many states like Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra has refused to include sex education in the course curriculum as desired by the HRD ministry.
The ministry has insisted that there is nothing offensive in the curriculum and the state governments are at the liberty to adopt Adolescence Education curriculum as per their needs.
Ministry officials admit that the meeting will witness the state government’s own political agendas on education.