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Sibal Belts Out At States Over Education Reforms

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Education Reforms-States Blamed By Sibal
A conference was held in New Delhi, on Monday where the present Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal took on the states for blaming the centre for all ills plaguing Education, asking them to play a more “proactive” role since the responsibility in this sector lay “squarely on their shoulders”. He said that any decision taken by the Central Government for overall development of education in the country is perceived as an attack on the federal structure.

Mr.Sibal lamented that “This is the tragedy of the country...we all blame the Central Government for everything. If a child does not go to school, the Minister and the Centre must respond. This is not the job of the Central Government. If we try and set standards and request the boards to apply those standards, then they say, it is an attack on federal structure”.

On chasing more “proactive” role from states as the delivery mechanism ultimately lay with them. They must realize that responsibility of education lay “squarely on their own shoulders, much of that depends on the level of commitment that we will see from the state governments”said Sibal. At the same time he also felt, the “federal structure should be far more cohesive”. This statement he said was voiced on optimism that, there would be a marked improvement in quality of education in the coming eight years before 2020.

He deprecated that states are also not prepared to accept policy issues showing little efforts to abolish class X boards in spite of the best of intentions of the Centre. So, its very difficult to convince the states, they have not yet abolished class X board till date and they are not on-board on many of the issues. Hence he felt that the Right To Education should be given three more years to show its results and said several provisions under it, such as teacher recruitment would bring about a much needed change in the quality.

He said, so far teachers appointed by the state are “next to nothing” and the quality of the text books are not “age equivalent”. “We can prescribe the quality of the syllabi and set standards but ultimately the text books are prepared by the state governments, but I daresay the content of the text books are such that they are not age equivalent”

At the same time, he spoke on the issue of funding, saying there has to be a structural change and issue has to be addressed because states are of the view that unless Centre provides 100% assistance, they cannot deliver the goods. No government so far in the history of the country has allocated Rs 2.31 lakh crore for elementary education and this should be acknowledged by the states.

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