?Ghanshyam Tiwari, Education Minister, Rajasthan
By Deepak Kumar Rath
In the meeting of the Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE), the recently appointed chairman of the Committee for Universalisation of Secondary Education and the Education Minister of Rajasthan, Shri Ghanshyam Tiwari has taken a lead in protesting against the politicisation of education and deplored imposition of divisive and politically motivated agendas by the Union HRD Minister. Shri Tiwari along with other state Education Ministers wants to induct education in politics, not vice versa. They strongly recommend continuing of the curriculum, introduced in the past five years. Organiser correspondent Deepak Kumar Rath discussed some pertinent issues with Shri Tiwari, particularly his action plan for future.
Why did you walk out of the Education Ministers Conference?
The basic point for opposing the conference was that they had included ?non-communalisation of textbooks? in the agenda. This implies that the curriculum that has been going on since the last five years was communal. We strongly object to this. The curriculum was drawn up through a national consensus and the Apex Court has also concurred on it. And secondly, we are against the politicisation of education. We also register our protest against the divisive and politically motivated agenda of the CABE.
We resolve to continue with all the constructive programmes launched by our respective state governments under the National Curriculum Framework for School Education, 2000. We would not let Arjun Singh'sagenda to apply to our states, which is in contravention of the Supreme Court'sjudgement. The arbitrary changing of history and social science textbooks ordered by Union HRD Minister is not acceptable to us.
What is your objection regarding the changes in history textbooks?
We do not have any controversy over engineering and medical subjects. We want a say over history books which should be based on India'srich Vedic culture and tradition, but Leftists have created myths in history through historians with perverted mentality. And Arjun Singh wants to impose the Leftist views in textbooks, which we oppose.
Why did you oppose the formation of the CABE?
The reconstitution of CABE has been done in a most arbitrary manner without any consultation with the state governments. The HRD Minister has intentionally associated some 32 non-governmental personalities who are well known as propagandists of communist ideologies. He has even appointed some MPs in the CABE who are aligned to his government as ex-officio members. Some persons like Prafulla Bidwai and Smt. Teesta Setalvad have been made members of CABE who are in no way associated with the educational field. For instance, Prafulla Bidwai said at the meeting that in Gujarat, Hitler was known as a nationalist. I strongly opposed it because it is not true. We want to introduce education in politics, not vice versa. But the Congress wants politicisation of education. Persons who do not accept any good points about Bharat, who do not accept Vedic culture of India are members of the CABE. We, as Bharatiyas and as Education Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand oppose the move.
But you accepted the chairmanship of the committee on Universali-sation of Secondary Education. What would be your future action plan?
This is a government process. They have made me chairman of this committee and I will strictly follow the government rules. I will visit every state and give reports on essentials of universalisation of secondary education.
The Union HRD Minister says that the curriculum would be adopted only next year. What is your next plan?
This government will not be there next year. So there is no need for us to think further over it.
What were your demands before the Conference?
We strongly oppose the UPA'sproposal to constitute a National Commission on Minority Education with powers to grant direct affiliation to minority institutions. The proposal to introduce measures to effect reservations and empower the Centre to give direct affiliation to minority institutions is an infringement of the constitutional powers of state governments. We urge all the state governments to oppose this move, to save federalism.
Another important point is that the UPA has levied a 2 per cent cess on education. So, in the current financial year, Rs 3000 crore are supposed to be collected in the next seven months of this financial year. We are concerned that the money would go to the Consolidated Fund of India, rather than being utilised for development of primary education. We demand that the cess amount for this financial year should be treated as dedicated, non-lapsable fund for primary education.
Have you demanded anything special for educational development of Rajasthan?
Yes, Rajasthan should be given special status for educational development as it has a population density of 164 per square km. We have 4,000 Panchayat head-quarters. As ours is a desert state and is educationally backward, we have demanded that the Centre-state ratio for educational assistance should be 90:10 instead of the present 75:25.