Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar Saturday assured minorities that ‘constitutional provisions’ on education will not be tinkered with and said that the Union Cabinet has not cleared the New Education Policy, which is facing strong protests in states such as Tamil Nadu. “The cabinet has not cleared any policy draft on New Education Policy. It is in the making. There were inputs that were published. Some people and organisations thought that is the New Education Policy and started protesting in Tamil Nadu and Kerala,” Javadekar said.
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“Minority education, they thought that it will be taken off. Let me clarify, we don’t want to tinker with the constitutional provision on education. Let me be very clear and emphatic,” he said.
In his address at a convention on education organised by Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana, Javadekar said the constitution has provided certain freedom and provisions for the minority institutions.
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“Sometimes perceptions make a very different scenario,” he said about the controversy surrounding the NEP.
Later, speaking to reporters, he reiterated that only some “inputs” of NEP had been published and that “no draft has been finalised.”
“We have received thousands of suggestions. We will take all of their support and prepare a complete new draft which will go to the cabinet,” he said, adding, various stakeholders will be taken along on this matter.
Speaking at the convention, he said education was not a political agenda but a national one, adding he had called for a meeting of Parliamentarians on November 10 “where the MPs want to give their ideas” on NEP, he said.
“More than 100 MPs said they are coming because this is the national consensus. This is the agenda which we want to take ahead,” he added.
On seeking suggestions on the NEP, “thousands and thousands” of good suggestions have been received, he said.
“It is a meaningful dialogue (which is) already on and after taking those suggestions on board we will make a final draft which will be put before the people,” Javadekar said.
The first education policy was made in 1986 and revised in 1992, he said, adding, “every generation has the right to decide for a new education policy which is relevant and take India to the next level.”
Javadekar stressed that the Modi government was keen in improving the quality of education in the country and laid focus on innovation, saying countries like Singapore and South Korea were forging ahead because of innovation.
He also called for an education system allowing children to be inquisitive, where teachers can listen to them, as it would enable them to innovate in the future.
Further, the Central government was keen in ensuring that the best practices in education sector were spread all over the country and wanted to involve various stakeholders in this process, he said.
“Government’s power is power of multiplication. I can’t innovate. And the government system doesn’t innovate much. Innovation is somewhere else. We can adopt and spread the innovation of one school to millions of others. That is the power of multiplication of power. And we want all good ideas to be taken on board in ways acceptable to all,” he said.
Prior to the Mughal invasion and British rule, India was rich and prosperous in areas including economy and education and a global “attraction” with institutes like Nalanda and Takshila, he said.
But the libraries and institutions were destroyed by the invaders but “now nobody can make invasion in India,” he said.
“No way. We are strong,” he added.