Yoga Guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust has expressed interest in establishing the country’s first national school board for Vedic education, The Indian Express has learnt.
The Haridwar-based Trust is among the private players that have responded to the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI),
released by Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVP) on February 11, inviting applications for setting up the Bharatiya Shiksha Board (BSB). The deadline expired Tuesday evening.
According to its website, Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, among other things, aims to “study and research subjects associated with yajna, organic agriculture, cow urine, nature and environment in addition to the study and research of yoga and Ayurveda…”. Apart from Ramdev, Acharya Balkrishna, Swami Muktanand and Shankardev are its trustees.
MSRVP, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of appointing a private sponsoring body for putting the BSB in place, is learnt to have received only three applications in all. MSRVP is a fully-funded autonomous institution under the HRD Ministry working on promotion of “ved vidya”.
What the Vedic Board will do
The board will standardise “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.
However, as first reported by The Indian Express on February 12, the government recently reversed its position. The EoI released last week states that the agency selected for establishing the board will be issued a formal order by MSRVP “with due approval of government”.
Although MSRVP has received only three applications, it’s not clear if the deadline will be extended. If not, then as per the EoI, a selection committee will vet the three applicants to judge if they meet the eligibility criteria and a final decision will be taken by the Governing Council of MSRVP headed by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
According to eligibility criteria, the “Sponsoring Body” — 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 sponsoring body itself should have been in existence for 10 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. According to sources, with all other norms being equal, the private applicant that is willing to earmark the largest development fund will, in all probability, get selected.