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Consulting experts to rethink no-detention policy: Smriti Irani

Irani, a first-time minister and the youngest in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministerial council, also said that education in the previous government had become a “political akhara (political battlefield)”.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: May 14, 2016 8:19 am
Smriti irani, NDA government 3 year, two year of Modi govt, HRD Ministry, education, education news, Indian education, Smriti Irani Education, NDA government second anniversary, Vedic education, Vedic education in schools, Right to Education Act, HCU, JNU, HRD minister, smriti irani on JNU, congress, kanhaiya kumar, umar khalid, sanskrit in iit, india news Smriti Irani, BJP candidate Tamilisai Soundararajan, in Chennai on Friday. (Source: PTI)

As the NDA government enters its third year, Smriti Irani feels there is a “grudging acceptance” of her merit among critics, who once questioned her credentials to be the country’s Human Resource Development Minister.

Irani, a first-time minister and the youngest in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ministerial council, also said that education in the previous government had become a “political akhara (political battlefield)” and that she had brought a more cohesive and consensual approach to the ministry.

“I think that one of the bright spots in my two years (as the HRD Minister) has been that not a single state raised its voice against the Government of India with regards to HRD initiatives because they (decisions) had been taken with consensus,” she told The Indian Express in an exclusive interview on Thursday, ahead of the NDA government’s second anniversary.

READ | Interview with Smriti Irani: ‘Cong trying to settle political scores through campuses’

Even as she recapitulated some of the initiatives started under her ministership, Irani admitted that “much is still left to be done”. Speaking about some of the new proposals being considered by her ministry, Irani said that the government is looking at ways to formalise Vedic education, which currently follows no proper guidelines and structure.

She also said that is there is ample empirical evidence to suggest that the no-detention policy of the Right to Education Act had led to “detrimental impact on learning outcomes” and that the government is seeking legal opinion to address this. The problem of arbitrary fee hike in private schools is another issue that is currently under the HRD Ministry’s scanner, she said.

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Irani has courted quite a few controversies in the two years the Modi government has been in power. Her stint as the HRD Minister started with a row over her educational qualifications, followed by the resignation of the IIT Delhi director and the fracas over observing Good Governance day on Christmas. Her second year witnessed a spate of student agitations against her ministry on university campuses, including Hyderabad Central University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. Irani attributed the latter to the Congress party seeking to “settle political scores with the government through campuses”.

Asked about allegations of political interference in the functioning of universities, she said, “I think that whenever the BJP is in power with regards to education and culture, this attack is imminent. It is an ideological war, not a political one. There is that black shadow that will always hang on our heads; a shadow which the Left has very deftly crafted.”

Pressed to comment on the JNU sedition row, Irani said, “I feel very strongly about my country and stronger still about people who abuse my country.”

Asked about the controversy over the Prime Minister’s educational qualifications, Irani said. “Politics has sunk to a new low, but more than that I think it would be inappropriate for me as the minister in-charge to comment.”


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  1. T
    May 14, 2016 at 6:36 pm
    Manu Smiriti Irani - This is how Kanhaiya Kumar takes her name
    1. P
      May 14, 2016 at 3:35 am
      RSS is the experts being consulted.
      1. A
        Ajay Gupta
        May 14, 2016 at 6:15 am
        No detention policy must go immediately, without any further delay. Otherwise one more year will waste. Running with this policy nobody is serious about study. Neither teachers, nor students nor the parents. It must go through notification. 18 out of 22 states have already erted to let it go. Maximum 3rd cl standard may be allowed to go with no detention as it is felt that students are attracted to the schools without fear of failure. But thereafter, compeion must be there and sense of responsibility must exist. Even Board papers must be re introduced from 5th standard itself. Teachers must be made responsible for quality education right from the beginning by re introducing various surprise inspections of the schools and cles.
        1. L
          lailu writer
          May 14, 2016 at 8:39 am
          if the detention policy does continue then it rather be for grades 7 and 8 only. these 2 yrs being foundation yrs in school careers. 7th n 8th graders understand the impact of being failures. upto the 6th grade they may take studies lightly, disinterestedly or are not mentally developed to grasp the importance of attaining the p marks needed. 7th or 8th onwards the pattern sets in for the 10th and 11th onwards.
          1. mahesh biyani
            May 14, 2016 at 9:01 am
            Honestly y schools when no detention. Save money infrastructure. Take entrance exam for cl from where it gets competeive.
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