So now the country is going to have a new educational policy by this year end. The announcement comes from the Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani herself at the North East Zonal Committee meeting with education ministers and secretaries.
Somehow that news did not strike the right chords in me and even I am surprised. Even as a student of Class X in school I had been very vocal about the need to reform the education system. Reducing the burden of the school bag, as has been now advocated by the AAP government in Delhi, was always at the root of my educational reforms agenda.
I have always felt that burdening every child with subjects like Algebra, Trignometry and calculus is an exercise in ‘sadism’. How many of us require these subjects in our day to day dealings? Such subjects should only be for the scholarly types and not made compulsory to kill the spirit of the average student going to school.
I am not aware what kind of changes does Smriti Irani and her chosen ‘coterie’ is bringing about but somehow she does not inspire confidence. Not only because of the controversy of her degrees but more because of the veil of secrecy surrounding the whole exercise.
There are blatant examples that the Modi Government is using her to implement the RSS agenda of saffronising the education system. The controversy about imposing Gajendra Chauhan on the Film and Television Institute of India is the latest. But the brute majority given to this government by the electorate in the last elections makes all protests pointless.
Plus, I hold the Modi government guilty of deliberately trying to show the people that once they had voted for them they had no right to make a noise. Whether he promotes Adani or takes Ambanis along with him on official tours abroad, the people can only be mute spectators.
But making Smriti Irani the Minister for HRD was probably the most horrendous crime of this government. First, she had no legitimate right to be inducted as a Minister after losing the Lok sabha elections. Does Modi mean he does not have confidence in the winners of his party that he had to impose a loser on us?
Secondly, and this could be my personal bias but there is no comparison between Smriti Irani and her predecessor in this ministry Kapil Sibal. Sibal had also introduced very vital changes in the education system to remove the fear of exams from the psyche of the children. But he did not last long enough because he had dared to cancel the quota of MPs for admission to the Central schools.
But that apart, is there really any comparison between the caliber and qualifications of the suave, erudite and sophisticated Kapil Sibal with the fire-spitting Smriti Irani.
As a BJP spokesperson on Arnab Goswani’s channel, matching him fire for fire, yes but as Minister for HRD that presides over the system imparting the basic values that our children imbibe leading to higher education being imparted in our premier institutes, it is strict NO NO.
But does media matter nowadays if it does not say ‘Yes Sir’?
Read more by Amitabh Srivastava