In a last ditch bid to influence India’s new education policy, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is readying itself to pressurise the government for inclusion of its suggestions, such as compulsory daily prayers in schools and colleges, sources said.
The Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal (BSM), an affiliate of the RSS, is organising a seminar next Tuesday to discuss the proposals. The seminar is to be held on June 12 at the Constitution Club.
Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar will attend the function as one be one of the speakers in probably a first public discussion after being appointed education minister.
The high profile event will also be attended by Muralidhar Rao, the BJP national general secretary. Former NCERT director JS Rajput, who was in the news a few years ago for alleged saffronisation of the school curriculum, will also be in attendance.
“The HRD ministry has made some parts of the policy public and we will discuss the policy with experts and give our suggestions too,” said Mukul Kanitkar, organizing secretary of the BSM.
It is expected that the Opposition and many activists will come out to oppose what they see as an attempt to saffronize education.
Earlier, HRD minister Smriti Irani had asked IITs to teach Sanskrit. Senior BJP leaders had tried to revise the history syllabi and to include modules on ancient India.
The ministry was forced to revise the draft education policy formulated by the TSR Subramanian committee when it ran into controversy last month over its suggestions to curb campus politics. The 200-page report carried close to 90 suggestions including ‘a strong focus on value education.’
The Bharatiya Shiksha Mandal had given a number of suggestions to the committee, but sources said, many of them weren’t included in the final draft.
“Now that the ministry is giving a final shape to the policy, all significant issues that have not been taken care of will be discussed at the forum,” said a source.
Other than daily prayers, the BSM wants students to pay regular tributes to Indian heroes. They want an eight-year general education plan and propose that the government should fund NGOs that teach children up to Class 8.
Another significant suggestion in the draft policy is bringing minority institutions under the fold of the Right to Education Act (RTE), under which 25% seats are reserved for poor students.
The BSM had said minority-run institutions misuse the privilege given to them by the Constitution and often admit more students from the majority community.