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Schools that teach ancient Indian scriptures will now have a CBSE-like board

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Modi government is ready with a Vedic board, which will be in charge of granting affiliation to Vedic schools. Ramdev’s schools to be first beneficiary.

New Delhi: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s long-drawn struggle to secure official recognition for Vedic schools and gurukuls is set to end soon, as the Modi government is ready with a Vedic Board along the lines of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

The board will be in charge of granting affiliation to Vedic schools and gurukuls, apart from creating more such schools. The syllabus at a Vedic school is a mix of the traditional and the modern, comprising of Indian scriptures, Vedas, Upanishads apart from basic mathematics, economics and languages among others.

There are many such schools in India almost all of which are unregulated.

Sources in the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry said the guidelines for the board’s functioning have been finalised and will be released soon.

“Apart from granting affiliation to existing Vedic schools, the board’s mandate would also be to set up more schools that impart modern education along with teaching Vedas to students,” said a source familiar with the development.

“The plan has been finalised but the government is cautious in releasing it at this time because of the upcoming elections.”

Sources in the ministry also said that Ramdev’s schools will be the first ones to get affiliation under the board, likely to be functional from the 2019 academic year.

Ramdev had been pushing for a separate board for Vedic schools since 2015 after he decided to open a chain of gurukuls across the country. He and his team had also held consultations with the HRD Ministry to suggest ways in which the board can be formulated.

Ramdev runs Acharyakulam, a residential Vedic school for students between classes 5 and 12 at Haridwar. He plans to establish 700 such schools across the country that will follow the Acharyakulam model.

“Swamiji (Baba Ramdev) was trying for this for a very long time and finally the government has agreed to his opinion. He gave a number of representations to the government to prove the need of such schools in the Indian education system,” Acharya Balkrishna, Ramdev’s aide and business partner told ThePrint.

“Ten schools are already working presently, one in Ranchi will take off from the next academic session.”

Also read: In engineering courses soon: Wright brothers didn’t invent plane, batteries existed in Vedic age

Stalled for two years

The HRD Ministry had started working on the board in 2016 but the project was shelved after certain objections from the then secretary, education, S.C. Khuntia, who pointed out that establishing a board would open the doors to corruption in the school education sector, sources in the ministry said.

It was revived in May after HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar discussed the setting up of the board at the ‘Virat Gurukul Sammelan’ where the RSS top brass and other BJP leaders had gathered. Just two days ago, on 22 December, Javadekar announced the plan during the inauguration of a school at Baruipur in West Bengal.

“We want to create a board that imparts education with a mix of knowledge from the Vedas and modern education. We are working towards creating a board that can do this,” the minister said.

A central government panel had earlier this year suggested that children studying in madrasas and Vedic schools should be considered “out of school”. This was one of the major suggestions that emerged in the report of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) sub-committee, which was submitted to the ministry. The CABE is the largest decision-making body on all matters related to education.

There are a large number of children attending unrecognised schools/institutions, which may or may not provide regular education. Children attending all such institutions like Vedic pathshalas, gompas, madrasas should be considered ‘out of school’, the report had said. The committee was headed by former MoS HRD Upendra Kushwaha.

Setting up of a separate Vedic Board will also help such schools in getting recognition.

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