Leave those kids alone: Sibal | india | Hindustan Times
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Leave those kids alone: Sibal

In a freewheeling discussion with senior editors of Hindustan Times on Tuesday, Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal shared his vision for education, and a poem he has written on the spirit behind the schools exam reforms announced by him recently.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2009 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent


Please rid me of this awful load
preparing for the Class X board

My thirsty mind craves to create
not have exams decide my fate

My wondrous eyes yearn to explore
much beyond my classroom doors

My dreams should not be cut to size
because I hate to memorize

If you test me for brains and guile
don’t have to look at percentiles

Marks encourage one upmanship
a free ride on an ego trip

With textbooks I should start to surf
inquiringly look for new turf

Walk away from the trodden path
and not invite my teacher’s wrath

Solving a sum will not help find
real answers to a questioning mind

Create the space for me to run
let learning be a lot of fun

The sweeping reforms undertaken by his ministry have been well-received by the states and have also found support among people, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said on Tuesday.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at HT’s Delhi office on Tuesday. Denying he was ‘man in a hurry’, the minster said educational reforms had been well thought out. Photo: Virendra Singh Gosain

Sibal was at the Hindustan Times office for an interaction with the senior editors.

Refuting charge of being a “man in a hurry”, Sibal said his reform agenda had found consensus among all stakeholders — education ministers of the states including those ruled by the BJP, schools, parents and most importantly, students.

“For the last three months we have been in discussion with all parties. I am moving differently from past regimes. On
the issue of content, I am not touching history or geography,” he said.

“I have never said that there should be one board. But a common curriculum for sciences and math is possible.”
Though he has no doubts about the reform agenda, the challenge would be its implementation, he said.

The decision to do away with the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) class X exam was not taken overnight, the minister said.

“The CBSE (officials) travelled all over India, meeting schools and students and taking their feedback.”

The minister was all for giving students more to choose from. For instance, a school could offer both lower and higher level of math, allowing a student to make a choice according to his ability.

While the onus of implementing the Right To Education Act was on the Union and state governments, Sibal said his ministry was keen on partnering private players for higher education.

Loans would be made available to students who cannot afford centres of excellence.

“PIOs (People of Indian Origin) from the US are waiting to come to India. A few foreign universities who have approached me have also said they are willing to match the fees in India.”

Did the road to educational reforms get easier after the UPA returned to power with a bigger mandate?

“It’s too early to say that. Unfortunately, we have inherited a recession. While UPA-I came on a growth curve, UPA-II came on the decline of the growth curve.”

“So you cannot apply the same tests to both governments.”

The reforms, however, were on track and will not suffer on account of downturn, he said.