Monday, September 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Don’t saffronise education, warn non-BJP states
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 2
In a rare show of unity, 12 non-BJP ruled states today came together and warned the Centre against any unilateral move to change school curricula and said their views must be considered before formulating any education policy.

The meeting, convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddadeb Bhattacharya, here unanimously resolved that it was regrettable that certain components of the education policy, sought to be changed by the Human Resources Development Ministry, went against the democratic and secular values enshrined in the Constitution.

Vedic astrology and Vedic rituals sought to be introduced by the UGC, could be hardly treated as subjects under either arts or science, it held.

The meeting urged the government to withhold all decisions, orders, circulars and documents, issued or published and take steps to reconstitute the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) for obtaining expert advice on fundamental issues pertaining to education in the country.

This should be followed by a conference of state Education Ministers and then go to Parliament, the resolution urged.

The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Delhi, Bihar, Tripura, West Bengal and Meghalaya. Education Ministers of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir attended the meeting.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit: said “A particular religious ideology is being surreptitiously, overtly and covertly followed by the Centre.”

The state governments are “not going to follow” the directives of the HRD Ministry on education issues till a national consensus on them was evolved by convening a conference of state Education Ministers.

Accusing the Centre with “vitiating the secular spirit of the Constitution” by embarking on such measures, Mr Bhattacharjee said the resolution would be sent to the Centre for its consideration.

Rejecting the Centre’s move, Jammu and Kashmir Education Minister Mohd Shafi Uri said the new curricula was not part of the NDA agenda and the National Conference would not allow any such move.

He said Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had already taken up the issue with the Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Mr Shafi said: “after this meeting, they (Centre) shall have to think. This policy is not going to be accepted by three-fourth of the country.”

He said no central decision on education was binding on the state as it was a state subject and the state could not support “saffronisation” of education.

Meghalaya Chief Minister E.K. Mawlong said: “It appears that there is an attempt to saffronise education. This has to be avoided because India is primarily a secular and a democratic state.”Back

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