HRD Minister misleads Parliament in his reply to debate on ‘saffronisation of education’


Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, misled Parliament with the statements he made in the reply that he gave to the Lok Sabha on 20 August 2001. The debate, which had been initiated by Shri Somnath Chatterjee four days earlier, on 16 August 2001, on ‘Saffronisation of Education’, concluded with Dr. Joshi making the following points.

The Minister said that ‘Prof. Yashpal, Prof. M. Mukhopadhyaya, Prof. J.N. Kapoor. Dr. Arvind Kumar, Dr. Anirudha Rajan, Dr. Sagat Mitra, Dr. Ravinder Kumar, Prof. Yogendra Singh, Dr. Smt. Kapila Vatsyayan, etc., discussed the prepatory material for the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF)’ (p. 12530). The fact is that, in all, eleven experts were invited, most of them to give lectures to the Curriculum Group and not to discuss issues of curriculum. According to our information, Prof. Yashpal, Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan and Prof. Yogendra Singh have denied being a party to the formulation of the NCF in its present form. The late Prof. Ravinder Kumar


was invited to give a talk on the ‘Freedom Movement from 1857 to 1947’, not to discuss the problems with the history curriculum.

One of the major issues that was raised during the debate in Parliament was the refusal by the HRD Minister to convene a meeting of CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education) to consider the NCF. It was pointed out that without the CABE’s consideration and approval, the NCF is devoid of any legitimacy. The Minister’s contention was that there is no need to call a meeting of the Education Ministers (CABE). This is violative of the National Policy of Education (NPE) for the following reason. The NPE (National Policy on Education), para 10.2 states: ‘The Central Advisory Board of Education will play a pivotal role in reviewing educational development, determining the changes required to improve the system and moitoring implementation.’ Leave alone giving CABE pivotal role according to the NPE, the Minister obviated the necessity of CABE itself.