Five years after the UNESCO decided to honour Prof. J S Rajput, former Director, NCERT, with the prestigious Jan Amos Comenius Medal for his outstanding achievements in the fields of educational research and innovation in July 2004, the New Delhi office of UNESCO handed over the Jan Amos Comenius Medal to Prof. Rajput in a quiet ceremony.
Based on the recommendations of an International Jury, (the selection of the candidates for the Medal is made by a jury consisting of the President of the International Bureau of Education(IBE) Council, the Director of the IBE, a representative of UNESCO’s Education Sector and a representative of the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sport of the Czech Republic. The decision of this jury concerning the choice of candidate are submitted to the Director-General of UNESCO for approval) Prof. Rajput was to receive this honour on September 10, 2004 in Geneva in the meeting of education ministers of the UNESCO member countries organised biannual by the International Bureau of Education, IBE; Geneva.
The delay in the award of the medal to Prof. Rajput was due to an unprecedented move by the MHRD in 2004, which had launched a high profile campaign of “Desaffronisation of Education” under the pressure of the Communists . The MHRD not only wrote to UNESCO in 2004 to keep the award to Prof. Rajput in abeyance, as certain inquiries were ordered against him, but it also withdrew the nomination of Prof. Rajput in January 2005.
MHRD subsequently appointed P Abraham, another retired Secretary to the Government of India and former UPSC Member, as Inquiry Officer , in 2006. The matter was taken up in the Delhi High Court which granted three extensions to the Inquiry Officer to complete the work on the above charges. It deserves to be noted that of the 16 files that the Inquiry Officer approved and Prof. Rajput wanted to see, MHRD informed him in writing that “Six are available, seven are not traceable and three were weeded out”!
On December 10, 2008, The High Court imposed a penalty of Rs. 2000/- on the MHRD for the delay in completion of the enquiry and ordered its completion by January 10, 2009. One day before the High Court’s deadline, i.e., on January 9, 2009, the MHRD dropped the departmental proceedings against Prof. Rajput.
Subsequent to the dropping of enquiry against Prof. Rajput, the MHRD wrote to the UNESCO to release the award.
On receipt of the award, Prof. Rajput expressed his gratitude to the UNESCO which continued to take his services after 2004 as well. He also indicated that the chain of events from 2004 to 2009 was primarily because of the Communists and their coterie of like minded academics. It was a matter of great satisfaction for him that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order of September 12, 2002 had upheld the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) rejecting the contention that it was against secular values. Prof Rajput indicated that during the last five years he has devoted all his time and energy to propagate the UNESCO’s objectives in education i.e. learning to live together and achieving social cohesion. He is fully convinced that education must integrate five eternal human values-truth, peace, non-violence, righteous conduct and love.