Seeking to allay apprehensions about saffronisation in education, government asserted in Parliament on December 1 that every decision in this field will be taken as per the “spirit of the Constitution”.
HRD minister Smriti Irani sought to downplay her meetings with RSS ideologues and Sangh organisations, saying it was her responsibility, as a minister, to listen to all stakeholders who are related to education.
“Whatever steps the government of India takes with regard to educational institutes and institutions, it is my commitment that these will be taken as per the spirit of the Constitution,” she said in RajyaSabha while replying to a debate on a bill on IIITs.
Her assertion came against the backdrop of concerns voiced by some sections in the recent times about education being saffronised. These concerns found echo in the House with some members like D Raja (CPI) saying that education under the NDA government was going the “right” way.
Derek O’Brien (Trinamool Congress) also mentioned that controversy and apprehensions had arisen after Irani met some Sangh ideologues.
Strengthening the apprehensions was the recent move by the HRD ministry to replace German with Sanskrit as third language in KendriyaVidyalayas.
The minister was replying to a debate on the Indian Institutes of Information and Technology (IIIT) Bill, 2014, which provides for bringing four institutes of information technology under the ambit of a single authority and help students get degrees.
The bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on November 26, was later approved by Rajya Sabha.
Irani said students passing from these institutes will now get degrees and the government would make all efforts to attract the best of faculties.
She in particular referred to the agonies of the students of IIIT-Kancheepuram who were awaiting their degrees since 2008 due to non-passage of legislations governing IIITs.
Allaying apprehensions, she said the reservation policy will also be applicable to the IIITs in student admission and in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff.
Replying to members’ comments on the autonomy of these institutes, Irani said, “The governance structure of these institutes will be like that of the IITs and NITs which were based on the Central Universities Act as passed by Parliament.”
Also read: Cultural tolerance should be a key part of education: IraniNational