During the July 25 Rajya Sabha session, HRD Minister Prakash Javedekar ensured that the text on Rabindranath Tagore will not be removed from school textbooks. TMC MP Derek O’Brien raised the question during the zero hour, to which Javadekar replied that the government respects Tagore and all others who contributed to the freedom and literature of the nation. He clarified, “We hail everybody and nothing will be removed.”
The government has definitely called for recommendation of changes in the NCERT books from teachers but given that they are only correcting or removing “any factual errors”. As of yet, about 7000 suggestions have come. Javadekar reassured, “We will not do anything which will create some problem.”
The question O’Brien raised was that RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas suggests removal of Tagore’s works and references from the syllabus. He argued, “Rabindranath Tagore does not need a certificate from anybody,” asking the minister to disassociate from the Nyas. Moreover, post the clarification provided by Javadeka, O’Brien walked up to him and presented to him three books on Tagore for his reading. SP’s Naresh Agarwal also claimed that Nyas also suggested the removal of Urdu words and Mirza Ghalib from textbooks.
CPI’s D Raja highlighted that thousands of college and university teachers are putting up a demonstration in Delhi to protest the government “apathy” in regard of the education sector. With HEERA’s potential formation, UGC and AICTE are already in a rocky boat, and this infuses fear that they will be dismantled and replaced, says the minister, calling it an attempt to “bureaucratise, centralise and commercialise education”. Moreover, he demanded that the budget allocation to education must increase to 10-15 per cent of the GDP.
Javadekar further informed that his ministry was working with teachers. He said, “We are not dismantling anything and are reforming the regulator and giving more autonomy to the institutions.”