RSS holds high-profile event to influence India’s education policy

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2016 17:03 IST
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is gearing up for a last-ditch effort to stamp its influence on India’s new education policy. (Praveen Bajpai/HT file photo)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is gearing up for a renewed attempt to stamp its influence on India’s new education policy and pressurise the government to include suggestions such as compulsory daily prayers in schools and colleges, sources said.

The Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM), an affiliate of the RSS, had submitted several proposals to the TSR Subramanian committee that is drafting the education policy but most of them were rejected.

But now, the BSM is now organising an event on Tuesday to discuss and push the suggestions at a time when Prakash Javadekar, known to have the backing of the Sangh, is in charge of the human resource development ministry.

Javadekar is scheduled to be one of the speakers at the meet – possibly his first public interaction after taking charge as HRD minister on Thursday.

The high-profile event will also be attended by Muralidhar Rao, the BJP national general secretary.

“The HRD ministry has made some parts of the policy public and we will discuss the policy with experts and give our suggestions too,” said Mukul Kanitkar, organising secretary of the BSM.

The attempt is likely to re-ignite charges by the Opposition and many activists that the government is trying to saffronise education.

The accusation gathered steam earlier this year after former HRD minister Smriti Irani asked IITs to teach Sanskrit and senior BJP leaders batted for revising history syllabi and including modules on ancient India.

The draft education policy ran into controversy last month over its suggestions to curb campus politics, forcing the ministry to do a U-turn.

The BSM gave a number of suggestions to the committee, but sources said, many of them weren’t included in the final draft.

“Now that the ministry is giving a final shape to the policy, all significant issues that have not been taken care of will be discussed at the forum,” said a source.

Other than daily prayers, the BSM wants students to pay regular tributes to Indian heroes, have an eight-year general education plan and the government to fund NGOs that teach children up to Class 8.

A significant suggestion included in the draft policy was bringing minority institutions under the fold of the Right to Education Act, which mandates 25% quota in seats for poor students.

The BSM had said minority-run institutions misuse the privilege given to them by the Constitution and often admit more students from the majority community.

The June 12 discussion will be held at the Constitution Club, which will also see in attendance former NCERT director JS Rajput, who was criticised a few years ago for alleged saffronisation of the school curriculum.


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