With a view to bringing metamorphosis improvement in the learning pattern followed in its schools and doing away with the infamous disparity and gender discrimination for which Haryana is well known, the State Government is making every effort to provide quality education to young students. In a conversation with Bureaucracy Today Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma talks about his Government’s initiatives in the last one year.
The BJP Government in Haryana has completed one year in office. Please tell us about the challenges faced by it in bringing the desired change in the education sphere.
Since the time our party Government came to power its focus has been mainly on improving the education system in the State. Though most of its time was devoted to restructuring the official administrative system, we also ensured that school-based learning was imparted to each and every child of Haryana. We saw to it that no student was demoted till the time he or she reached VIII Standard. We have also put a halt to the examination system which has now created a stress-free environment for both students and teachers. The first thing the BJP Government did was to start a yearly test pattern in schools which has been majorly applauded by the Teachers’ Association. Of all the challenges, the shortage of teachers is a major issue which we are tackling. Earlier there were no toilets in most of the Haryana schools and now we have sorted out several such issues.
There have been talks about overhauling the education system of Haryana. Could you tell us about progress in such talks.
The BJP Government has taken an initiative to link education to the cultural, traditional and religious aspects with a view to connecting education with the teachings mentioned in old Indian books. We have been trying to link knowledge and inspiration derived through the Vedas and other sacred books. Efforts have been made to inculcate moral values in students. At the same time they should have respect for the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. We are also sensitizing students about environmental concerns.
What are the initiatives taken by the BJP Government to improve the primary, secondary and higher education systems at the grassroots level?
The State Government is trying to make the new education guidelines-2015 envisioned by the Union Minister of Human Resource Development effective and productive for Haryana students. Meetings and talks have been conducted in 6,076 villages. About 126 blocks, 78 urban corporations, educationists of 21 Zillas, private and government school teachers, students, representatives of Gram Panchayats, NGOs and local governing bodies have given their opinion related to the new guidelines. The Government has then come to the conclusion that efforts should be made in such a way that the guidelines help students to build confidence and inculcate Indian values and culture. The educational curriculum should develop a feeling of patriotism among students which will help in promoting overall progress of our nation. Since the world is going global our efforts are also for preparing Haryana students to face such challenges in life.
What efforts did your government make to end the disparity between private and government schools? Please also tell us about a scheme initiated to provide quality education in government schools.
Over a period of time the Government has realized that it is only through quality education one can bridge the gap between private and government schools. We are not saying that government schools are lagging in providing effective education to pupils. There is no denying the fact that even today the recommendation technique is used by most parents to get their children enrolled in government schools. Such is the credibility of government schools. Most government schools in Haryana have a good infrastructure with a provision of science and computer labs. Participation in sports and related activities is encouraged in schools. Our government conducted the Learning Enhancement Programme (LEP) in about 3,220 schools in 2015. About 1,80,000 teachers have been trained under various programmes. Our aim for the next three years is to raise the level of quality education in Haryana.
Did the Haryana Government try to end gender discrimination in getting education?
Today Haryana schools have more female students than male ones. Haryana is the only Indian State to provide many scholarships to female students. Education is provided free of cost to girls in order to encourage enrolment in schools. Thirtysix secondary schools have been upgraded to the higher secondary level in the Morni and Mewat regions of Haryana as there are fewer such schools in these regions as compared to other areas of the State. There is a provision for separate toilets for female students in every school of Haryana. The Government has introduced a number of schemes to end the disparity between boy and girl students in the State. As a step to empower females and encourage girls to achieve successful positions in their life the Government has ensured that girls having maximum education hoist the national flag during Independence Day programmes in their respective schools. We believe this will set an example for every girl student.