The Upper House on Tuesday witnessed a heated debate over the issue of suggestions sought by government on the content in NCERT text books. Raising the issue, TMC leader Derek O’Brien said that one of the suggestions from RSS-affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas was to remove Tagore’s works and references from the syllabus.
“Rabindranath Tagore does not need a certificate from anybody,” he said.
Allaying apprehensions, Union HRD minister Prakash Javedekar said that government has no plan to remove Ravindranath Tagore from school textbooks.
“As many as 7000 suggestions have been received… We will not do anything which will create some problem,” he said, adding, “We hail everybody and nothing will be removed”.
Responding to the issue raised by O’Brien during the Zero Hour, the Minister said that government respected Tagore and all others who had contributed to the freedom and literature of the country.
Javadekar said for NCERT books, teachers and others have been asked to give suggestions to correct or remove “any factual errors” in textbooks.
After the minister’s statement, O’Brien walked up to Javedekar to present to him three books on Tagore for his reading.
In a related development, D Raja (CPI) raised the issue of thousands of college and university teachers staging a demonstration in the national capital to protest the government “apathy” regarding the education sector.
UGC and AICTE are under a cloud of uncertainty and there are fears of they are being dismantled and replaced, he said, adding this was an attempt to “bureaucratise, centralise and commercialise education”.
He demanded an increase in te budget allocation to education to 10-15 per cent of the GDP.
Javedkar said his ministry was engaged with the teachers. “We are not dismantling anything,” he said. “We are reforming the regulator and giving more autonomy to the institutions.”
(With inputs from PTI)