New HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju on Wednesday said he would reach out to “everybody” to build a consensus on passage of pending bills on higher education in Parliament, and promised to consolidate “good work” initiated by his predecessor like in the case of IITs.
At the same time, Raju underlined on introducing chapters on moral values in course curriculum to help the present generation imbibe good values passed through generations.
Stating that his predecessor Kapil Sibal had initiated “good work” by bringing several reformative measures and introducing key legislations in Parliament, he said “its time for me and my colleagues to take everybody onboard on the good intentions behind this initiatives and to able to get their help in taking these bills through.”
“We would tell them that the credit belongs to all of us and not the government alone…It is a collective credit to leadership across party lines and that would be my approach to convince my colleague,” he said, responding to a query on whether he intends to talk to opposition BJP about the passage of the bills some of which have been pending for over two years.
Acknowledging that there are “apprehensions” about the contentious Foreign Education Providers Bill, Raju said he would study it but noted that “if collaboration with foreign players is something that will bring in value addition in some area, we will definitely look at it in open mind.”
Raju was particularly inclined towards introducing courses on moral values in curriculum, saying it has to become an inherent part of the school education system.
“We had chapter in school like moral values, moral studies and I think things like that has to be build into the curriculum and I think it is important to guide the teachers towards imparting these values”.
Asked if there were moves to extend the deadline for implementation of Right to Education by another two years given that infrastructure requirement in schools are yet to be met by several states, Raju said a review would be done soon.
“Some states are ready, some states are lagging behind. It is important to make sure that there is an even pace for implementation of RTE otherwise it will result in court cases. If it has to be amended we have to take it up as soon as possible,” he said.
The deadline for meeting RTE provisions ends on March 31 next year. Terming the examination reforms of Sibal in IITs as “well intentioned”, he felt that though there are transitional challenges, the measures will be for the good of the students.
“We will not dilute the standard of the examination and will make it a common thing so that kids do not have to slog out for different kind of exams,” he said.
The Minister also noted that the initiatives on higher education by his predecessor were “unprecedented” in nature and his focus would be on consolidation and carrying forward the path set out by Sibal.
Raju said his focus would also be on strengthening the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan programme with good infrastructure, teacher and curriculum and building on the academia-industry linkages to ensure roll out of quality students who are industry ready.
“Our focus would also be on skilling programmes. These initiatives has to be broad-based, because vocational skills will be needed by the workforce,” he said.