Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Daggubati Purandeswari gives an exclusive interview to LOK PANCHAYAT.
As Union HRD Minister, how far are you near the ministry’s education-for-all goal?
HRD Ministry as you know deals with education. Education is a subject where one can not achieve results overnight. Education is a long drawn process. After independence of the country, we had University Education Commission under (first President Sarvapalli) Radhakrishnan. We also had Kothari Commission. Yashpal Committee and so on. We took their recommendations and were in the process of implementing them. Now after 63 years of independence of the country, we are now again looking for reforms (in the education). Because we need education to meet the challenges, issues, need/s of the (prevailing) time. In today’s globalisation world we want to channelise students who along with being good national citizens are also good international citizens. Because with borders fast disappearing, they are required to contribute to international, global GDP. Thus we need to align our education system in tune with the fast developing global world. Therefore we are looking for reforms (in the education field). At the same ime when we say reforms (in education) we can not do that unilaterally. Education Ministry will have to take the State Governments along with itself to do the required reforms (in the education field). For instance when we are thinking of doing away with 12th board exams, we will have to keep on doing continuous evaluation. We can not impose this on state (education) boards. So far, we have done this in our schools affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education. Out of 12 lakh schools in the country, 12,000 schools are affiliated with the board. We have done it in our board so that an example is set for others to follow that. Now we are taking it up with the council of board of secondary education council so that it is properly discussed and a decision is taken on it. Once the decision is taken, it will be implemented all over the country so that schools follow that. We are looking at higher education act, malpractices in education act, malpractices in technical and education institutions, an education tribunal which can adjudicate cases relating to malpractices in educational institutions on a fast track note because we do not want institutes to lose years because of court cases, we are concentrating on institutions imparting quality education. We are looking at foreign education provider bill. We are looking at national higher education research body to look after bodies like AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education), UGC, etc. Therefore we are looking for huge reforms in education now. But let me tell you that whatever we intend to do, we can not do that overnight. Because education is a long term process. …As far as I am concerned, all this should happen quickly. But education is a long term process. We will have to take the states into confidence, their consent is required, and once all that happens, the process will take a concrete shape and have stake holders. Stake holders mean state governments, students, the teachers, the parents. …Every reform we do in education we do so after wide consultations. Therefore, it is not so easy for us to bring in the changes and say we have done changes in education. We have set up a time frame so that within that time, wide consultations are completed and a consensus is reached at.
Political question : Coming to Andhra Pradesh — Telengana, division of Andhra Pradesh etc?
Yes we are in an uncertain situation in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra has done very well (in all sectors) as a combined state. It has set an example for the entire country to follow in terms of progress. The situation now is definitely spoiling the prospects of the state in the national scenario and also in the international scenario. Industrialists were all set to invest in Andhra. Today there are second thoughts. They are now seriously thinking of going elsewhere to invest. The prospects are now being affected. Investments in the state will become adverse. We definitely hope that the state will overcome this present problem. …It is left to the Government of India to decide on how to overcome this problem. Because after all, the final decision will have to be taken by Government of India. We both (for and against Telengana) sides have presented our respective points to the Government of India. Now it is for the Government of India to decide on the issue. There is also a Sri Krishna Committee. It has submitted its report. It has given six points out of which sixth one is best. It talks of a combined state. As for developments, they should reach at all nooks and corners of the state. This by far is the best recommendation.
What about the naxalite problem in the state?
I will not say that naxalite problem in Andhra has been done away with completely. But it is under control. It has been checked. What is now needed is inter state coordination to check the naxalites. Because if in my state, they have been controlled, they will probably infiltrate into other states. That needs to be checked.