New Delhi: The NDA on Wednesday opposed hurried attempts to bring in a single pan-India board for Class XII examinations and accused HRD minister Kapil Sibal of not consulting the state goverments on the various education reforms suggested by him.
The NDA reaction came after a meeting here of education ministers of states ruled by BJP and its allies.
“In the meeting, all the education ministers present said they have not received any official document from the central government on the suggestions made by the HRD minister,” former HRD minister and BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said after the meeting.
“The NDA ministers did not agree to a single all-India board,” said adding the suggestions made by Sibal were “controversial and required discussion”.
Striking a cautious note, Joshi said NDA was not against reforms in education but was opposed to reforms which had “no roadmap, no direction”.
The meeting, chaired by Joshi, was attended by NDA convenor Sharad Yadav, deputy leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj and education ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Himachal Pradesh.
Education ministers of Gujarat and Bihar sent their suggestions as they were busy with the on-going budget session in their state.
Joshi said NDA had always been concerned about education and its erstwhile government had given long-term suggestions and undertaken “structured, well-planned reforms”.
“If the government brings a practical proposal to remove the shortcomings in education, then the NDA will have a creative approach to them,” Joshi said.
The senior BJP leader said the NDA education ministers had not sent a dissent note to the government yet as no proposal had been sent to them. “Rajasthan, Kerala, Orissa, Maharashtra, West Bengal have sent their dissent notes,” he noted.
Joshi suggested that changes should begin at the primary education level and should be spread over two decades as “education is one continuum”.
He suggested that the opinion of educationists, vice-chancellors and student unions should also be sought.
“Education should be a joyful experience. One should not make it stressful,” he said.
Criticising Sibal’s proposals, Joshi said exams and curriculum were not the only aspects and the government should also examine the changes needed in pedagogy, competence of teachers, their availability, and the creation of more opportunities for the students.
“Examinations are not the only cause of distress. There are less opportunities and several shortcomings in the system,” he said.