Updated: July 7, 2021 2:26:26 pm
Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal resigned Wednesday afternoon, making him one of the first prominent faces to be dropped from the Council of Ministers since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn back to power in 2019.
A new education minister is likely to be sworn in at 6 pm at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Pokhryial, BJP’s Lok Sabha MP from Haridwar, has been unwell ever since he tested positive for Covid 19 in May and recently spent almost a month in AIIMS, Delhi, due to post-Covid complications. However, according to sources, his ill health is not the only reason behind his removal.
During his time at the Education Ministry, appointments to crucial posts had virtually come to a standstill. As a result, almost half of the 40 central universities, including the prestigious JNU, BHU, Delhi University, and Hyderabad University, have been without vice-chancellors (V-Cs) for months. Similarly, five IITs (in Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Indore, Mandi) don’t have full-time directors, and another eight (IITs in Gandhinagar, Roorkee, Mandi, Delhi, Bombay, Ropar, Tirupati, and Goa) are without chairpersons for their respective Board of Governors.
This has affected decision-making in top higher education institutions, especially amidst the pandemic and when the Centre has embarked on to its ambitious New Education Policy (NEP).
The biggest highlight of Nishank’s term was the announcement of the new NEP, for which the bulk of the work was completed during his predecessor, Prakash Javadekar’s time. However, since the announcement, the on-ground implementation of the policy has been slow. A budget cut for school education is also partially responsible for this.
Interestingly, some of the important decisions on education this year were taken by the Prime Minister’s Office in consultation with the ministry’s senior officers. The decision to cancel Class 10 and Class 12 CBSE Board examination was taken by the PM, even though Pokhriyal favoured conducting the examination.
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