On November 26, 1949, the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India. This day is extremely sacred to Indians across the world as it reminds us of the struggle of our countrymen to become a free and sovereign nation.
The Constitution of India is a living document that can be amended for the betterment of the nation at large. It has been amended 103 times since January 26, 1950. The 103rd Amendment, initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will give economically weaker sections in the general category 10 per cent reservation in education as well as central and state government jobs. The government of India is consistently focused on raising the standard of living of every strata of society.
Consistent with the goals of inclusivity and equity as enshrined in the Constitution, the Ministry of Education launched the “Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan” to provide quality education to students — pre–school to Class XII. It focuses on improving the quality of education, enhancing learning outcomes and using technology to empower children and teachers.
As mandated by the 86th amendment, which made free and compulsory education to the children of 6-14 years age group a Fundamental Right, the government of India launched a flagship programme Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a firm believer in upholding the values of our Constitution. In November, he announced that November 26 each year would be celebrated as the Constitution Day wherein the teachings of B R Ambedkar would be imparted to students and community at large.
In order to bridge the gender disparity in technical education, the government, in 2018, decided to add supernumerary seats for women in IITs. The aim was to ultimately reserve 20 per cent of IIT seats for women.
The Constitution envisages an equitable and inclusive society. The NEP 2020 was formulated around its core ethics. The curriculum and pedagogy of our institutions must develop among the students a deep sense of respect towards the Fundamental Duties and constitutional values.
To ensure that a student does not miss out on valuable education owing to language barrier, the Centre and state governments will invest in large numbers of language teachers in particular, those adept in languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. To imbibe in our youth, the logical framework of making ethical decisions, excerpts from the Constitution will also be considered as essential reading for all students.
All B.Ed. programmes will emphasise on the practice of the Fundamental Duties (Article 51A) of the Indian Constitution along with other constitutional provisions while teaching any subject or performing any activity.
In the spirit of PM Modi’s reference to the Constitution as “our guiding light,” the Ministry of Education has taken definite steps to ensure that constitutional values are upheld and reflected in the NEP 2020.
A one-year campaign was launched on November 26, 2019 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Constitution. Today, most are aware of their Fundamental Rights, but as important as rights maybe our duties hold equal importance — which is why the theme for this campaign was Fundamental Duties.
The campaign was launched with the reading of the Preamble by PM Modi and it gives me great pride to say that 1,581 institutes and 3,30,664 students participated by reading the Preamble.
Each month of the campaign was dedicated to one Fundamental Duty, wherein HEIs organised activities and events around that duty. This helped the youth to understand and learn their duties in a creative and holistic manner, through debates, moot courts, street plays, poster making, competitions and workshops.
In every step undertaken under the guidance of PM Modi, adherence to the Constitution of India has been the guiding principle. The government of India has always strived that principles of the Constitution are reflected in practice. There’s no better way for me to conclude this article than by quoting B R Ambedkar, “Constitution is not a mere lawyers document, it is a vehicle of Life, and its spirit is always the spirit of Age.”
The writer is Union Minister of Education
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