With the Model Code of Conduct set to kick in less than a month, the government, it seems, is in a rush to set up the country’s first national school board for Vedic education.
The ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI), inviting applications from private players keen on setting up the Bharatiya Shika Board (BSB), provides only a week’s time for accepting such requests.
The EOI was released by Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP) Monday and the deadline ends at 5 pm on February 19. Although there is no rule set in stone, the government normally gives at least two weeks for accepting application through an EOI.
The governing council of MSRVVP had given its in-principle approval for setting up the BSB to standardise Vedic education in a meeting held on January 11. The meeting was chaired by current Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and also attended by Minister of State for Law and Justice P P Chaudhary.
As first reported by The Indian Express on February 12, the government reversed the position taken by Smriti Irani when she was HRD minister and agreed to let private players set up BSB. Interestingly, three years ago, the HRD ministry had rejected a similar proposal mooted by Yoga guru Ramdev, expressing serious reservations about the government recognising a private school board.
The EOI released this week states that the agency selected for establishing the board will be issued a formal order by MSRVVP “with due approval of government”. In other words, BSB will be the first private board to be officially recognised by the Union government.
According to eligibility criteria, the “Sponsoring Body” — meaning applicant — should be “involved in preservation, conservation, promotion and propagation of Indian Traditional Knowledge which includes Vedic education, Sanskrit education, Yoga in schools for at least five years”.
The EOI also states that the net worth of the sponsoring body should not be less than Rs 300 crore and it should commit a corpus of Rs 50 crore for the board, apart from the development fund.
The proposed BSB will be established with the objective of standardising ‘Indian traditional knowledge’ such as Vedic education Sanskrit education, Shastras and Darsanas and Bhartiya Parampara. Like any school board, BSB will draft syllabus, conduct examinations, issue certificates and affiliate Gurukulas, Veda pathshalas and new schools that offer a blend of Vedic and modern education.
Once established, this board is likely to benefit educational institutions such as Ramdev’s Acharyakulam, 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.