GRILLED in Delhi High Court by Sanskrit students, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) included Sanskrit in the list of the languages prescribed for Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET) 2011, to be conducted on June 26. Earlier, the last date for receiving application forms for the test was May 10. But now, following the High Court intervention, the CBSE issued fresh schedule for submitting online applications by the Sanskrit candidates, from May 23 to 28. Further, the candidates who have already applied, but now wish to change their option from one of the languages to Sanskrit can also do so by revising their option on the link available on the CBSE website.
“It appears the CBSE deliberately excluded Sanskrit from the CTET. It is injustice to thousands of students who are being taught Sanskrit language and want to make their career as a teacher in Sanskrit. It is also against the Right to Equality provided to us by the Constitution. How can the CBSE ignore the clear judgement of the Supreme Court in its own matter supporting and promoting the study of Sanskrit? We want that the CBSE must not commit such mistakes in future,” said Shri Dina Nath Batra, national convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti while talking to Organiser.
Hearing a petition, filed by Sohan Kumar, Mohit Kumar, Sandeep Kumar Upadhyaya, Mahesh Kumar, and Delhi Rajya Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh, against Union of India, National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Justice Shri Rajiv Sahai of Delhi High Court directed the CBSE to include Sanskrit in the list of languages and also to extend the date of submitting application forms. The petition was filed by Monika Arora on behalf of the petitioners.
The Court finally disposed of the matter on May 24, when the Counsel for CBSE confirmed in the court that grievances of the petitioners have been redressed and handed over in the court an addendum issued by the CBSE in this regard.
It is to be noted that the CBSE, on April 14, issued a circular (No. CBSE/AFF./Circular/2011) for conducting the CTET for appointment of teachers in classes I to VIII under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education RTE Act, 2009. In the circular, Sanskrit language, which has a great significance in the history and culture of India, was not included in the list of the languages which can be opted by the candidates appearing for the CTET.
The candidates have to opt for any two languages as language I and language II to appear for CTET out of a given list of 19 languages—English, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Garo, Gujarati, Kannada, Khasi, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Mizo, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Tibetan and Urdu. The Sanskrit was not included in this list . “This act of the CBSE is violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(g), 25, 351, 51(A)(f) and is also in teeth of the historic judgement of the Apex Court,” said the petitioners in their petition.
Before filing the petition in High Court, the petitioners repeatedly gave written representations to the CBSE and other authorities requesting to amend the curriculum and include Sanskrit in the list of the languages so that they can also opt for the Test. On April 23, one of the petitioners sent representation to CBSE accompanied by signatures of 100 B.Ed students of Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidhyapeeth, Delhi. Another representation was sent to Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on April 29. When they did not get redressal from anywhere, various professors and lecturers of the Department of Sanskrit of Delhi University on May 4 sent representations to the CBSE requesting to include Sanskrit in the list of the languages prescribed for CTET. By and large the petitioners ran from pillar to post to get justice, but the CBSE did not pay attention.
This act of the CBSE violates various fundamental rights as well as the recommendations laid down in various education policies and is in teeth of the judgement of Santosh Kumar & Ors. etc. Vs. Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources Development and Anr, in which the Supreme Court inter-alia held that the omission of Sanskrit from CBSE syllabus was unjustified and also stated the importance of Sanskrit for nurturing our cultural heritage, encouragement of Sanskrit as necessary because of it being one of the languages included in the Eighth Schedule as also in compliance of Article 351 of the Constitution.
The National Curriculum Framework 2000 prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), also states that Sanskrit has a special claim on the national system of education. Delhi Subordinate Selection Board (DSSB) in January 2010 advertised for 684 vacancies for the post of TGT Sanskrit for which more than 20,000 candidates (6867 Female and 13543 Male) applied and hence opted for career in teaching of Sanskrit language. Out of 35 State Education Boards in India, 22 Education Boards provide for Sanskrit language. Many States, including Rajasthan, have included Sanskrit in the list of languages provided for TET. The CBSE appears to be following a policy which will have an effect on making Sanskrit a dead and extinct language and by which thousands of students and aspiring teachers will be deprived of the opportunity of earning their livelihood. There are 14 Sanskrit Universities in India where more than 10,000 B.Ed students are studying. But due to the omission of Sanskrit from the CTET curriculum, all these students would face difficulty in getting success in the examination.