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Delhi HC questions viability of 'One Nation, One Education Board' policy

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      12 December, 2023 03:43 PM      0 Comments
Delhi HC questions viability of One Nation One Education Board policy

The Delhi High Court yesterday expressed serious doubts on how a uniform school syllabus and education board would work across the country. 

“How can we do this? There are State Boards everywhere”, the Delhi High Court asked when a PIL praying for “One Nation-One Education Board” was taken up for hearing. 

A division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Puskarna was hearing a plea moved by BJP leader and Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. 

“What about the lists (under the Constitution of India)? How do we take care about the lists?….How can we stop them (States)?,” the court reportedly queried. 
It will be a matter of equal opportunity and when there is a one examination for various subjects like medical, engineering etc, there isn’t any reason as to why there should be different curricula, Upadhyay replied. 

The court was then prompted to implead National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in the case. The matter will next come up on May 14, 2024.

What’s the plea about?

In his plea, Upadhyay states that the syllabus & curriculum is common for all entrance examinations such as JEE, BITSAT, NEET, MAT, NET, among others. However, the syllabus and curriculum of CBSE, ICSE and State Board is totally different. And so, students don't get equal opportunity in spirit of Articles 14-16 of the Constitution of India. 

The petitioner is of the view that the 'Right to Education' implies 'Right to Equal Education' and it is the most important fundamental right as other rights are meaningless without implementing it effectively. Common syllabus and common curriculum in mother language will not only achieve the code of a common culture, removal of disparity and depletion of discriminatory values in human relations but also enhance virtues and improve quality of life. 
It can be implemented by forming a 'National Education Council' on the line of GST Council with Union Education Minister as Chairman and State Education Ministers as Member, the plea suggests.  

He further stated that education mafias are very powerful and have a very strong syndicate. And there’s a reason why they don’t a uniform education policy. 
“They influence rules regulations policies & examinations. The questions asked in the competitive exams are not taught in government schools. So, parents are in double jeopardy. First, they ·have to pay massive fee to private schools like DPS, DAV, Ryan, Maharshi, Modern, Poddar, Presidency, Montessori etc. and then . pay unbearable heavy fee to coaching centers too. The bitter truth is that School Mafias don't want One Nation-One Education Board, Coaching Mafias don't want One Nation-One Syllabus and Book Mafias don~t want NCERT books in all schools. That's why Uniform Education· System up to 12th standard has not been implemented yet.”

CBSE’s Counter Affidavit

In October, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) opposed the plea, stating that a Uniform Board or Syllabus across India does not take into account the local context, culture and language. It argued that a child can better relate to a curriculum that is more closely related to his/ her life outside the school. “Therefore, multiplicity of curricula and other educational resource is desirable in addition to a core common element”. 

CBSE, in its counter affidavit, further stated that NCERT prepares model syllabus and Text Books for school education which is in concurrent list, and so, the States and UTs have freedom to either adopt or adapt NCERT text books.

“I further submit that Education, being a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution, and the majority of schools being under the jurisdiction of the State Governments, it is for the respective State/Union Territory Governments to frame syllabus, curriculum and conduct examinations for their schools. The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) developed by the NCERT as per the mandate of the National Policy on Education sets the guidelines and direction for the development of syllabi and textbooks at all the school stages.”

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