HRD Ministry And Issue Of Right Selection
By Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava
28 May, 2014
Selection of ministers and allocation of portfolios are prerogatives of Prime Minister. PM is leader of the country and knows best who is the best pick for a particular ministerial position. Equally true is other aspects too. India is a parliamentary democracy where minister – bureaucracy relations have important role in the governance. Moreover there are many ministries which need specific knowledge and expertise at the political executive level, though this aspect has been given scant respect except by Pt. Nehru and Mrs. Gandhi. Pt. Nehru was keen to develop expert minister concept but could not accomplish it. Mrs. Gandhi brought scientists in her cabinet as experts but it was a limited effort.
The recent controversy about new HRD minister should be seen in right context. HRD ministry is one of the most important ministry as it deals with education of all sorts from basic to higher to technical education. The department was earlier known as education department and Maulana Azad the distinguished academician was the first education minister of the country. In 1985 Rajiv Gandhi metamorphosed it as the Human Resource Development Ministry to deal with the newly emerging challenges in the education sector and the increased needs of the human resource in all sphere of the nation , P V Narsimha Rao, an intellectual was assigned the task of heading of this ministry.
The importance of this ministry can be understood by the fact that P V Narsimha Rao as PM kept this portfolio two times with him and Atal Bihari Vajapayee too kept it for some time when he was Prime Minister in 1996. V P Singh as Prime Minister had also kept this portfolio when he was Prime Minister. It needs to be emphasized that many educationists and intellectuals have headed this important ministry which include galaxy of scholars as M.C. Chagla,Dr. V.K.R.V. Rao, Prof. S. Nurul Hassan ,Prof. Pratap Chandra Chunder ,Dr. Karan Singh,Dr. Mural i Manohar Joshi etc. Hence the importance of this ministry has always remained quite influential.
India is passing through a great crisis in its education sector. From President to Knowledge Commission have emphasized the importance of education. They want India to be leader in the education. Former Prime Minister too wanted to make India as the hub of Knowledge at the world level. These are noble thoughts but reality lies somewhere else. No Indian University parallels the world class university. Even many Central Universities including JNU have declined. State Universities and their affiliated colleges are in tattered state. Students do not attend the classes and guide book culture exist. Many Universities are its glaring example where students are not visiting the classes. Professors are not updated and not keen to take classes.
UGC the nodal agency to regulate the higher education too has not performed well. Private Universities are not performing well particularly on the issue of Phd.UGC has not rained these institutions very effectively. This has lowered the status of Phd and research. The issue ,whether M Phill holders can teach in the universities, is still unresolved. In Uttar Pradesh Self Finance Colleges are demanding their reinstatement for teaching positions.
Still the issue of conducting NET examination either in objective format or in the written form as was done previously, has not been resolved completely. Many people think that present format is not good enough as the present objective test format does not test the creativity and language and comprehension capabilities of the students. These capabilities are highly needed in the future research and teaching.
Research in every discipline is declining. Indian contribution at the global level lies quite far behind than China etc. Technical education is also in negative zones, even IITs and IIMs have declined leave alone the state and Private institutions. Infosys founder has lamented over it.
Many poor and rural background students join low standard private professional institutions , waste their money and after having passed the course find themselves without jobs in the employment market. This adds to the household poverty. This aspect has remained un researched in India. Inequality at the educational level is a serious contributor to the inequality at the individual and societal level.
A researcher the doctorate level in the country is faced many problems. Jobs are not available and material is not available. May state Universities and affiliated colleges are still not in position to provide their students the facilities JSTOR like research platform for easy access to the research papers and new research trends.
This state of affairs demand that India needs expert person as the head of the HRD ministry. The gravity of ministry, its importance in the national life demand so. Minister needs to be aware of the major issues and problems of the area of work other wise the dependence on the bureaucracy will take place. If political leadership is inexperienced or bureaucracy succeed in influencing the political leadership then disastrous results are produced. Its classical example is found in the regime of Rajiv Gandhi when on the advise of the then personnel minister P Chidambaram , Rajiv Gandhi reduced maximum age for the students in appearing in the UPSC/ Civil services examination from 28 years to 26 years. This angered the youth in substantial terms but illogical decision, made to make Indian bureaucracy efficient, helped in the dusting of Congress party in the elections as a noteworthy factor.
Hence we from academic world request Prime Minister that he must take notice of all the realities of the education sector of the country. He can bring an experienced and knowledgeable person as the head of HRD ministry. There are many great academicians in the country. Prof Yashpal. Prof. Saropi, the current VC of JNU Dr. A K Verma of CSJM University and so many are there in the country who can be selected as expert. Political positions too need experts. We must not forget.
Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava has twenty years University level teaching experience, presently Assistant Professor in CSJM Kanpur University[affiliated college],Vice Chairman CSSP, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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