Statement issued after national convention against Communalization of Education, 4-6 August 2001


We express grave concern at the communalization of education that the BJP-led Central Government has been pursuing since it came to power. There is a national consensus that the goals of democracy, equality and secularism lay down the basic direction that all educational programmes must follow. The various activities and programmes which the present Government has initiated are marked by the abandonment of this course. This poses a serious threat to the unity and integrity of the country.

The present Government has converted almost every national-level educational and academic body into an instrument for implementing the communal agenda of the Sangh Parivar. It has appointed persons as heads and as members of decision-making committees of these bodies, on the sole criterion of their affinity with the ideology of the Sangh Parivar.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development and the bodies under its control, particularly NCERT, have been engaged in attacking the secular and scientific content of the school curriculum, promoting obscurantism under the garb of value education, and tampering with the core curricular area of the scientific temper in the guise of reviving indigenous knowledge. The so-called ‘National Curriculum Framework for School Education’ prepared by NCERT and released by the Minister of Human Resource Development last November is a blue-print for lowering the quality of school education in the country and giving it a narrow, exclusive, sectarian and obscurantist orientation. It grossly violates the National Policy on Education (1989, 1992), which had as its basic thrust the promotion of strictly secular values.

In our country where education, notwithstanding its inclusion in the Concurrent list, remains basically a state subject, any ‘national’ programme in the area of education has to be based on a national consensus and evolved with the full involvment and participation of the states. The present Government has rendered this mechanism of consultation totally irrelevant by refusing to place the so-called National Curriculum Framework for the consideration and approval of the Central Advisory Board of Education. ‘The National Curriculum Framework for School Education’ is therefore completely devoid of any legitimacy.


The direction of the changes already implemented or being introduced in higher education is no less dangerous. The kinds of courses which the UGC has already decided to introduce in the name of traditional knowledge are aimed at fostering revivalism and obscurantism, and destroying the scientic academic character of higher education. It is heartening that the scientific community in India has raised its voice against these decisions and many universities have refused to accept them as university courses.

We express our deep sense of regret that the partners and allies of the BJP in the present government have remained mute spectators to the policies and programmes which, by destroying the secular character of education, undermine the foundations of India’s nationhood and its unity and integrity.

We demand that:
The central government should initiate the process of consulting states in matters of national education policy by immediately convening the meeting of the state education ministers, and constituting the Central Advisory Board of Education.
The document ‘National Curriculum Framework for School Education’ should be withdrawn and no other document released till a national consensus is evolved.
The UGC circular that introduces so-called ‘indigenous systems of knowledge’ as university-level courses while starving the universities of funds should be withdrawn.

Signed by:
Sitaram Yechury, Shabana Azmi, Arjun Singh, Brinda Karat, A.B. Burdhan, Mani Shankar Aiyer, Mohammed Salim, Eduardo Falerio (M.P.), Narendra Nath (Education Minister, Delhi), H. Vishwanath (Education Minister, Karnataka), Ramchandra Purve (Education Minister, Bihar), Ratnesh Solomon (Education Minister, Madhya Pradesh), Ajit Jogi (Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh), C.P. Joshi (Education Minister, Rajasthan), Kanti Biswas (Education Minister, West Bengal), Chuba Chang (Education Minister, Nagaland), Satyanarayan Sharma (Education Minister, Chhattisgarh), A.V. Subramaniam (Education Minister, Pondicherry)