It’s MHRD’s Punar Janma for India’s Poorna Gnana

Published: 08th June 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th June 2014 09:16 AM   |  A+A-

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I am warmed up with a fresh round of disappointment with the outgone UPA’s unsolicitously logodaedalist comment on the new HRD minister. Status check: many who are formally educated with degrees (including me) do not know the meaning of logodaedalist. Used in the recently concluded Spellbee finals, it means the clever use of words. I am not against being clever but insist on being solicitous. The proponents of the “degree-only HRD minister” seem to voluntarily suffer from selective amnesia. UPA must immediately recollect the outstanding misdeeds in the last 10 years—a triple-barrelled HRD ministry that saw three minsters in its two avatars with a one-bullet ammunition: “If you can’t fix it, spoil it.” Many have listened to Smriti Irani speaking in Parliament, TV shows, live panel discussions and are amazed by her well-researched preparations that leave no stones unturned. In her attitude to always be well prepared for the occasion lies my confidence that she will not do what UPA I and II did. In short, she will not push education to its abysmal nadir. My confidence gets doubled as she allows her performance to do the talking in response to her critics’ avoidable superfluity. While I positively await her actions, there are certain UPA blunders that I am triply confident that Minister Irani will not commit.

The ministry will not allow the National Educational Policy die in cold storage, but will reheat it with modern gadgets to put India’s education journey on proper track through a Higher Education Commission insulated from neo-modern (read Western) influence.

The ministry will not undermine the role of statutory bodies created by Parliament. For instance, the University Grants Commission—supposed to be the change agent for university education—was shamefully reduced to a silent bystander by UPA.

The ministry will not survive on policy rhetoric of RTE, SSA, etc. and other flagship schemes that were excessively glorified by the world’s largest NGO—the erstwhile National Advisory Council. Such glorification resulted in school education being enrolment and not enlightenment-driven. Pratham’s annual school education reports is testimony to this.

The ministry will not reduce teacher education to a mere body-shopping exercise, but find innovative mechanisms to create a coherent synergy among various stakeholders to strengthen the future of India—its school teachers.

The ministry will not massify professional education in the name of inclusivity, affordability and accessibility—the triple tataka mantra that ensured the disappearance of the fourth dimension—quality along with other forms of higher education, social sciences, arts and humanities.

The ministry will not give step-motherly treatment to polytechnic and vocational education but ensure coordinated development that can harness the non-formal but high-quality skills of millions of artisans and tradesmen who yearn for formal academic recognition.

The ministry will not take policy decisions based on ‘expert inputs’ from third innings academics who after their two full innings are ready to play as many academic T20s as possible and in the process strangulate progressive private higher educational institutions in the name of regulations and let scot-free erring public/private institutions.

The ministry will not charitably confer deemed university status to undeserving institutions by granting ‘conditional deemed university status’ subject to review after three or five years. No licensing authority issues a driving licence with a condition that the holder learns car driving in three to six months.

The ministry will not resort to legislative gimmicks through toxic pills (read bills) but use existing regulations and statutory enactments to clean the education mess.

Conclusion: Minister Irani is MHRD’s punar janma for India’s poorna gnana. vaidhya@sastra.edu

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