Apart from successfully fighting against distortion in education under the UPA regime, the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti and Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas have taken some concrete initiatives to enrich the Indian education system. Organiser correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to the joint secretary of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti Shri Atul Kothari in New Delhi to know about the initiatives. Excerpts:
What are the achievements of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti so far?
Shiksha Bachao Andolan began on July 2, 2004 with the active involvement of eminent educationists, historians and many organisations to fight against the distortion in education done on the part of the UPA government. In the beginning we identified 75 objectionable passages in history textbook of NCERT and forced the government to remove all of them. We not only fought in the streets for it but also went to the High Court which directed the NCERT to delete all the objectionable passages.
Similarly, we fought against the distorted contents of the Hindi textbook of NCERT, MA history textbook of Indira Gandhi Open University, sociology and history textbooks of Delhi University. The issues of Hindi textbook of NCERT and history textbook for BA part II of Delhi University are now in the Supreme Court. In all others issues we got success. Till now five court verdicts have been delivered in our favour. Some issues were also resolved without going to the court. Similarly, our agitation against sex education too forced the government to wind-up this dangerous move. First, the eleven State governments banned it in their respective states and finally the Central government had to drop it. Now the government is in the process of framing an alternate curriculum.
Despite this, the government agencies appear in no mood to change their destructive habits. The NCERT has now added one chapter in the eighth standard textbook on Sachar Committee. Some misleading facts have also been added about the birth of Tulsidas. It shows that some people in the country are bend upon creating this kind of mischief full time.
The Central government is in the process of framing an alternate curriculum for imparting sex education. What are you doing in this regard?
Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas has started a countrywide move on this issue. First, we organised a national level seminar in Pune from February 21 to 22, 2009. Experts from all over the country attended the seminar and drafted a draft for the alternate curriculum. A syllabus committee was constituted there, which drafted new syllabus in July 2009 with emphasis on character building and personality development. Instead of implementing this syllabus immediately, we organised seven national seminars to hold elaborate discussions on it involving more than 1,200 experts, educationists, parents, students, etc. Now the valid suggestions have been accommodated and the final curriculum will be ready by March 15. We are trying to implement it from the next academic session.
Some State governments said to implement ‘yoga education’ instead of ‘sex education’?
The governments of Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh have said it. But the syllabus prepared by us has special section on yoga education. Similarly the Uttar Pradesh government said to implement health education instead of sex education and our syllabus has a section on it also. We are contacting all the state governments for implementation of this syllabus.
Has it been implemented on experimental basis so far?
This will be done from the next academic session and will be implemented in 50 schools. It will be only for school principals and teachers and not for the students. There will be no special period or book on it for the students. We already have discussions with Gayatri Parivar, Arya Samaj, Vidya Bharati and some other organisations, running schools to implement it from the next academic session.
What about the value based education?
We have started work on it also. First national seminar on it was organised at Devsanskriti Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar recently. A total of 215 experts from 17 states of the country participated in it. Then a state level seminar was organised in Ahmedabad. A regional level discussion was recently held in Gwalior. We have constituted a syllabus committee for it also. We want to frame different syllabus for all categories like school, college, technical, management, medical, etc.
What is being done to promote Vedic mathematics?
Work on it has begun from August last year. The first seminar was organised in Nagpur and the second was organised in Uttar Pradesh. The third and fourth were organised in Jaipur and Bilaspur respectively. The fifth will be organised in Varanasi in March. After these seminars all the experts will sit together to analyse the outcome of the seminars. We are going to form a Vedic Mathematics Research Institute also in Bhopal.
What are the future plans?
We wish to work on some more issues in coming days like environmental education, water conservation, energy conservation, etc. We are also working on imparting primary education in mother tongue. About 40 major surveys have been conducted all over the world on this issue and all of them stressed the need to impart primary education in mother tongue only. We are trying to take-up this issue in the Parliament also. We want that education system should be autonomous and free from government and political interference, like the judicial and election system.