Social activist Shabnam Hashmi created a flutter during an important meeting of the educationists chaired by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal here by raking up an issue of denial of education to minorities in Gujarat post 2002 riots.
Hashmi’s allegations were immediately countered by Gujarat Education Minister Ramlal Vora, who was present in the meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). Sibal had to pitch in to pacify both Hashmi and Vora with a piece of advice that such things can be discussed in private and based with full research and facts and figures so that there is no embarrassment for either of the party.
When the discussion on RTE was going on, Shabnam, who has been appointed for the first time in CABE by the HRD Ministry, said that the condition of children and students belonging to minority are in deplorable condition in Gujarat. “There are several schools, may be over 2000 across the State which did allow admissions to the minorities after the year 2002 creating a lot of disparity in the education system. I have done extensive research and survey on the issue and then have come to this conclusion,” Hashmi said.
Vora countered and asked Hashmi on what basis she can state this as he himself being a grassroot leader has been taking keen interest in the education of all sections and religions of the society and such allegations are baseless.
Hashmi also pointed to the problem in minority education in the Muslim dominated area of Mewat in Haryana. This resulted in the Congress-led Haryana Government’s Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal to counter her charges.
Sibal intervened again and suggested that such issues should be sorted out privately. “If Hashmi has any details in this regard this should be forwarded to the Gujarat Government and the Central Government then only the HRD Ministry can look into the issue,” he said.
Hashmi alongwith another social activist Teesta Setalvad were nominated as members of the 59th CABE by the HRD Ministry. The CABE is the highest advisory body to advise the Central and State Governments in the field of education.
The meeting was also attended held by WCD Minister Krishna Tirath, Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy Anshu Vaish, Secretary, Department of Higher Education Ashok Thakur, CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi, DU V-C Dinesh Singh, besides eminent educationists, authors, artists and linguists.
The meet decided to constitute a Committee for assessment and implementation of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in the context of the no detention provision in the RTE Act. While there was agreement that Board Examinations are not required, guidelines for implementation of CCE needed to be evolved for examining and testing the child during the elementary education cycle.
Suggestions were also made on making available digital version of test books on Akaash Tablet for use by both teachers and students in schools. Further, the proposed concept of Meta University as a collaborative platform for a network of universities with a view to utilise create and synergise between different programme activities and institutions providing credit based multi disciplinary courses was appreciated by members, CABE also endorsed the initiative to create a Credit Guarantee Fund to ensure better flow of credit to deserving students.