YOGA GURU Ramdev is all set to head the country’s first government-recognised board for Vedic education as his Trust’s bid for setting up the proposed Bharatiya Shiksha Board (BSB) was adjudged the best by a selection committee Saturday.
The five-member panel’s recommendation will be considered by the governing council of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVP), headed by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, this week. The MSRVP, a fully-funded autonomous body under the HRD Ministry working on promotion of “Ved vidya”, has been entrusted with the responsibility of appointing a private sponsoring body for putting the BSB in place.
The Indian Express had first reported, on February 20, that Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust is among the three private players that had responded to the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) released by the MSRVP inviting applications for establishment of the Board. The Ritnand Balved Education Foundation, which runs the Amity group of institutions, and Pune-based Maharashtra Institute of Technology were the other contenders.
The three applicants made a presentation to the five-member selection committee, headed by the National Book Trust’s new chairperson Govind Prasad Sharma, in Delhi. Patanjali Yogpeeth was represented by its trustee Acharya Balkrishna.
During the presentation, Balkrishna is learnt to have informed the committee that Patanjali Yogpeeth is willing to commit Rs 21 crore for the development of the Board and has the necessary infrastructure ready for its headquarters. Balkrishna also informed the panel of the Trust’s intention to house the BSB’s headquarters in Haridwar and appoint Ramdev as its chairperson.
According to sources, the factor that worked in Patanjali’s favour is the promised fund of Rs 21 crore for which it has already given a bank guarantee. This is reliably learnt to be the highest among the three applicants.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Balkrishna confirmed that he made the presentation on Patanjali Yogpeeth’s behalf to the selection committee Saturday. “We are very serious about it (setting up a Vedic education board). Education is not about learning the alphabet. A student should also learn our Indian morals, culture and values. We are already running Acharyakulam on this model,” he said.
The BSB has been proposed to ensure standardisation of “Indian traditional knowledge”, such as Vedic education, Sanskrit education, Shastras and Darsanas, etc. It will draft syllabus, conduct exams, issue certificates and recognise Gurukulas, pathshalas and schools that offer a blend of Vedic and modern education. The Board, like CBSE, will charge an affiliation fee and examination fee from schools.
Once established, the BSB is likely to benefit educational institutions such as Ramdev’s residential school Acharyakulam in Haridwar, Vidya Bharati schools run by the RSS and gurukuls run by the Arya Samaj because it will allow them to sustain their model of education up to Class XII, which school boards like the CBSE currently do not permit.
Three years ago, the HRD Ministry under Smriti Irani had rejected Ramdev’s proposal for establishing a Vedic education board, expressing serious reservations about the government recognising a private school board. At present, no private board is recognised by the Centre.
As first reported by The Indian Express on February 12, the government reversed its position. The EoI released February 11 states that the agency selected for establishing the board will be issued a formal order by MSRVP “with due approval of government”.