25 May 2014
NEW DELHI: “Total change” in education complete with new textbooks and a new pedagogy that promotes modernity with Indian base is what has been demanded by the RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN) from the new government. RSS pracharak Dinanath Batra of SSUN, who also runs Shiksha Bachao Andolan, told TOI, “I am meeting Narendra Modiji after the swearing-in. We have already sent our demands. Political change has taken place, now there should be total revamp of education.”
Batra’s recipe to revive education includes institutional reform as well as creation of a new moral universe. He wants amendment in the RTE Act so that provisions like ‘no-detention’ can be reworked. His outfit has demanded that after class X and XII, the “super energy” of children should be channelled for social work that includes mandatory service in slums and villages. Batra wants An All India Social Service Mission that will conduct three-month course to achieve it. Schools should adopt some villages and universities should adopt at least 50 villages, he says.
Batra, who played a vital role in the saffronisation of education during the earlier NDA regime, says in all subjects the first chapter of school textbooks should be entirely devoted to highlight India’s contribution in various fields. “From physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, history and religion, Indian contribution to world civilisation should be taught to students,” he says. Batra said, “NCERT textbooks will be rewritten according to the aim and objects of the nation so that it inculcates feeling of patriotism among children. Modernity is not westernisation. We want modernity with Indian base.” He says there should be common thread to bind syllabus and textbooks “through values of Indian tradition, social consciousness, patriotism and spiritualism”. He regrets that “due to Macaulay’s education, Indians have become intellectual slaves of the West”.
Batra says he had pointed out 70 mistakes in the existing NCERT textbooks many of which were rectified after a court verdict. But he alleges that mistakes have been restored now. His list of grouse with NCERT textbooks is long, ranging from inadequate teaching of Indian history to, what he claims, untruthful depiction of heroes like Shivaji. He is also angry that Hindi textbooks have poems written in Persian. “It has destroyed Hindi. Also there is no place for Sanskrit,” he says.
As for institutional reforms, he wants an All India Autonomous Education Commission on the lines of the Election Commission. “It will look after primary to university education. There will be no interference of government except funding,” he says. He also wants revival of the old proposal to have Indian Education Service through an all-India examination. “IAS officers are jack of all trades, master of none,” he says. Batra also wants four-year teachers’ education course immediately after class XII and linkage between academic and vocational education.