‘Ideology no problem… When we’re objective, there’s no bias’

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Dinesh Prasad Saklani took charge as the director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) on Monday. He will steer NCERT at a time when the autonomous body under the Ministry of Education will closely work with the committee set up to revise the National Curriculum Framework (NCF), based on which changes will be brought in school textbooks.

Speaking to Sourav Roy Barman on Wednesday, Saklani said implementing the National Education Policy, 2020 and ensuring the smooth completion of the NCF revision exercise are among his priorities.

You have taken charge at a time the gradual implementation of the National Education Policy is ushering in changes in the education system. What are your immediate priorities?

The mandate of our NEP is our mandate. For that purpose, the National Curriculum Framework is being revised and a steering committee is working on it. They have formed 25 focus groups which are going to frame the guidelines for the position papers. The guidelines are almost final. We will have a meeting in the first week of March for getting the guidelines from the committee. Once the guidelines are out, then work on position papers will start. And after that, the path will be clear for syllabi preparation, and simultaneously, we will identify scholars for writing the books…

What are the changes that you plan to introduce in NCERT?

We cannot introduce change. We are implementing the proposals in the NEP in toto as per the timeframe. But in order to implement the NEP within the stipulated time frame, the institute needs to gear up. So, re-energising NCERT is a high priority. By re-energising, I am essentially referring to the need to fill more than half the positions that are vacant. If we do not have teachers, how do we deliver the curriculum?

How many posts are vacant?

Taking all the constituent bodies of NCERT, such as the five Regional Institutes of Education, the National Institute of Education and the Institute of Vocational Education, there are around 1,075 vacant posts.

Coming back to NCF, curriculum and syllabi revision exercises in the past have always drawn charges of ideological refashioning. What is your take on this?

Ideology is something different. We are professionals. We are not going to indulge in any ideological sort of thing. What we will do is we will follow the guidelines of NEP. Ideology is not a problem for us.

A member of the NCF steering committee said recently that Indian students are not exposed to the country’s rich intellectual and artistic heritage

You see, he also said objectivity is important. It also means professionalism. When we are objective, then there is no bias. When we are subjective, then there are biases. Objectivity is the approach of a professional.

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