According to sources, Khuntia red-flagged the proposal at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday on the ground that the state’s sanction for a private board would open the doors for similar requests from other unrecognised school boards.
Yoga guru Ramdev’s proposal on setting up the country’s first Vedic Education Board (VEB) has hit a bump as the school education secretary, S C Khuntia, is learnt to have expressed serious reservations about the government recognising a private school board.
According to sources, Khuntia red-flagged the proposal at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday on the ground that the state’s sanction for a private board would open the doors for similar requests from other unrecognised school boards. No private board is currently recognised by the Centre.
Modi, sources said, had called the meeting of higher education and school education secretaries to understand the HRD Ministry’s position on the proposal submitted by the Haridwar-based Vedic Education Research Institute (VERI) run by Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogapeeth. As per this plan, VEB, run and controlled by VERI, would allow affiliated schools to offer a blend of the traditional gurukul system and modern curriculum.
Khuntia is also learnt to have objected to the fact that VEB proposes to formulate the curriculum, prepare textbooks and conduct exams which may create problems and restrict student mobility to other boards.
“VERI also wants this board to issue guidelines for recruitment of teachers in its affiliated schools. This is the domain of National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), which regulates teacher education and recruitment in the country,” said a source who did not wish to be identified.
As an alternative to Ramdev’s plan, the school education department has suggested that the Centre should instead empower Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratisthan (MSRVVP) in Ujjain to conduct exams in Vedic and Sanskrit education and recognise Veda and Sanskrit pathshalas and Sanskrit medium schools.
MSRVVP is a fully-funded autonomous body under the HRD ministry, which runs programmes to promote the oral tradition of Vedas.
The fate of Ramdev’s proposal now rests with PM Modi.
When The Indian Express reached Khuntia for comment, he said, “I’m not authorised to speak on this issue since the meeting took place in the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office). Please check with somebody in the PMO.”
HRD Ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel did not respond to questions e-mailed to him.
The PMO held its first meeting on exploring the idea of setting up a Vedic board on March 22. As per Ramdev’s proposal, this board will help “Indianise” school education by offering a mix of “archaistic education of Maharshi Dayanand”, “human education of Aurobindo”, “Vedanta education of Swami Vivekananda” and modern curriculum.
This meeting, as first reported by The Indian Express, was chaired by Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to PM, and attended by the two education secretaries of the Government of India.
If established, this board will benefit educational institutions such as Acharyakulam, Vidya Bharati schools (run by the RSS) and gurukuls run by the Arya Samaj, as it will allow them to sustain their model of education up to Class XII, which the CBSE currently does not permit.