Paving the way for the country’s first national school board for Vedic education, the governing council of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Vedavidya Pratishthan (MSRVP) – a fully-funded autonomous body under the HRD Ministry working on promotion of ‘ved vidya’ – has given its in-principle approval to set up a Bhartiya Shiksha Board (BSB).
The proposal was accepted in a meeting of the MSRVP governing council chaired by HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in Delhi Friday, The Indian Express has learnt. Minister of State for Law and Justice, P P Chaudhary, was also at the meeting.
The governing council has now been asked to prepare the Board’s bylaws in a week. Professor Viroopaksha V Jaddipal, MSRVP secretary, did not respond to calls and messages sent by The Indian Express.
The Bhartiya Shiksha Board, sources said, will be established with the objective of standardising Vedic education. Like any school board, it will draft syllabus, conduct examinations and issue certificates.
Apart from affiliating traditional pathshalas, BSB will also be assigned the responsibility of evolving new kinds of schools that offer a blend of Vedic and modern education – those with the Vedas and Sanskrit as major subjects and modern subjects as minor; modern subjects as major subjects and the Vedas as a minor; schools that teach general education in Sanskrit; evening Vedas and Sanskrit schools.
Once established, this Board is likely to benefit educational institutions such as 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 does not permit.
The HRD Ministry had first scripted plans to set up a school board for Vedic education under the aegis of the MSRVP in May 2016, under then minister Smriti Irani. This was done even as the ministry rejected a similar proposal moved by yoga guru Ramdev in 2015.
The Indian Express reported on March 22, 2016, that the proposal was submitted by the Haridwar-based Vedic Education Research Institute (VERI) run by Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth. As per this plan, the Vedic Education Board or VEB, run and controlled by VERI, would allow affiliated schools to offer a blend of the traditional gurukul system and modern curriculum.
This proposal was red-flagged by the then school education secretary S C Khuntia at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 13, 2016, on the ground that the state’s sanction for a private board would open the doors for similar requests from other unrecognised school boards. No private board is currently recognised by the Centre.
After Ramdev’s submission was shot down, the ministry quietly put into action a plan to set up its own board for Vedic schools under the MSRVP in Ujjain. However, this was also put on the backburner for two years, until it was revived recently.
The MSRVP in Ujjain was set up in 1987 to develop and propagate oral studies of the Vedas. It currently affiliates 450 institutions of traditional learning like pathshalas and guru-shishya parampara yojana across the country. Although this organisation has been conducting Class X and XII examinations, its certificates are not considered equivalent to mainstream levels of education by several institutions. Setting up the BSB, sources said, will address the problem of recognising traditional learning.