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Mission Gurukul: Gujarat govt to set up Sanskrit pathshalas on PPP model

Sources reveal that the existing 37 pathshalas are running on “a subsistence hand-to-mouth” budget.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
October 24, 2021 12:02:48 am
gujarat mission gurukul sanskrit pathshalasThe plan is an attempt to mainstream, promote and improve the ‘poor state’ of Sanskrit pathshalas or gurukuls in Gujarat. (Representative Image)

The Gujarat government, under its ‘Mission Gurukul’, is planning to invite social, religious and corporate organisations and trusts to set up gurukuls (Sanskrit residential schools) under a public-private partnership (PPP) model in the state.

The plan is an attempt to mainstream, promote and improve the ‘poor state’ of Sanskrit pathshalas or gurukuls in Gujarat.

In addition, with Sanskrit on the verge of losing its existence in Gujarat, the existing Sanskrit pathshalas offering education from Class 9 (prathma) till post-graduation (acharya) will be upgraded where they can enroll students from Class 6 onwards. The decision was taken in consultation with the newly-formed Gujarat Sanskrit Education Board.

“This is in line with the National Education Policy that focuses on Sanskrit education. It is also to prevent the further decline of Sanskrit education in the state. It is an attempt to motivate trusts and organisations to start their own gurukuls even on a smaller scale of 500 students where the state government is ready to offer them financial help,” Gujarat Sanskrit Education Board Chairman Jaishankar Raval told The Indian Express.

With the state’s target to increase the number of students from the existing 1,500 to 10,000 (from classes 6-12) in the next three years, the government is expected to frame rules and issue a Government Resolution (GR) within a week.

The board, which came into existence in September 2019, has been on regular consultations with the government following its first meeting held in February, wherein attention was drawn to the declining number of Sanskrit gurukuls in the state, and demand to mainstream Sanskrit education through financial support was raised.

Last week, a team led by the chairman had met Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani when the implementation of the ‘Mission Gurukul’ was finalised.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has also set aside Rs 10 crore for “strengthening the existing 37 grant-in-aid Sanskrit pathshalas with the objective to encourage interested students to join Sanskrit education and prepare best acharya” in the financial budget for the year 2021-22.

Sources reveal that the existing 37 pathshalas are running on “a subsistence hand-to-mouth” budget. Hence, the government’s offer for financial support and invitation for private partnerships to set up and run these schools are seen as an “encouraging effort”.

“In order to improve the quality, while the class 6-12 residential Sanskrit pathshalas would be on the lines of existing residential schools like KGBVs at a nominal fee, some of these 37 gurukuls with pathetic infrastructure will also be given an option to close down. The teachers, based on their qualification, will be transferred to the nearest school, while others will be recruited through a process by the Somnath Sanskrit University (Veraval in Gir Somnath) as lecturers,” said Vinod Rao, secretary of education. He added equal thrust will be given to the ancient education system as well as computer education at these gurukuls.

Meanwhile, a delegation of nearly 200 teachers of the 37 pathshalas is scheduled to meet the state education department officials Wednesday to chalk out the implementation plan and discuss their concerns.

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