New Delhi: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today
took on the states for blaming the Centre for all ills
plaguing Education, asking them to play a more "proactive"
role since the responsibility in this sector lay "squarely on
Sibal said any decision taken by the Central Government
for overall development of education in the country is
perceived as an attack on the federal structure.
"This is the tragedy of the country... we all blame the
Central Government for everything. If a child does not go to
school, the Minister and the Centre must respond. This is not
the job of the Central Government.
If we try and set standards and request the boards to
apply those standards, then they say, it is an attack on
federal structure," he lamented.
Seeking a more "proactive" role from states as the
delivery mechanism ultimately lay with them, Sibal said they
must realise that responsibility of education lay "squarely
on their shoulders".
At the same time, he felt, the "federal structure should
be far more cohesive".
Voicing optimism that there would be a marked
improvement in quality of education in the coming eight years
before 2020, he said "much of that depends on the level of
commitment that we will see from the state governments".
Sibal regretted that states are also not prepared to
accept policy issues showing little efforts to abolish class X
boards despite the best of intentions of the Centre.
"It’s very difficult to convince the states... they have
not abolished class X board till date and they are not onboard
on many of the issues," he said at a function here.
Sibal felt that the Right to Education should be given
three more years to show its results and said several
provisions under it such as teacher recruitment would bring
about a much needed change in the quality.
So far, he said teachers appointed by the state are
"next to nothing" and the quality of the text books are not
"We can prescribe the quality of syllabi and set
standards but ultimately the text books are prepared by the
state governments, but I dear say the content of the textbooks
are such that they are not age equivalent," he said.
On the issue of funding, he said there has to be a
structural change and the issue has to be addressed because
states are of the view that unless Centre provides 100 per
cent assistance, they cannot deliver the goods.
He said no government so far in the history of the
country has allocated Rs 2.31 lakh crore for elementary
education and this should be appreciated by the states.