War of words between former cabinet secretary and Smriti Irani over new education policy

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Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and former cabinet secretary, TSR Subramanian, locked horns on Friday after the latter threatened to make recommendations of the committee he led public.

Subramanian, as reported by Indian Express on Friday, had written to the HRD Minister asking her to make public his panel’s report containing suggestions for the new national education policy.

The former cabinet secretary had also threatened that he will make the report public if the HRD ministry didn’t do so.

Later in the day, Irani told reporters that National Education Policy (NEP) will be made public only after its recommendations are shared with states and “not just for the sake of headlines”

New Delhi : Union HRD minister Smriti Irani at a press conference at BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist (PTI3_15_2016_000248A)
Union HRD minister Smriti Irani at a press conference at BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist

In response to a reporter’s question, Irani said, “This education policy will not become a legacy of one individual who seeks a headline.”

She added, “It is the property of one lakh tens thousand villages, over 5000 blocks, over 500 districts, over 20 states that have given it to us with the confidence that any recommendation that comes to us will be shared with them before it is made a draft policy.”

Subramanian had led the five-member committee responsible for assimilating feedback collected by the HRD ministry through local and national-level consultations on 33 themes before making suggestions for drafting a new education policy for the country.

Among the suggestions believed to have been made by Subramanian-led panel include setting up an all-India cadre of educational services along the lines of the Indian Administrative Service, overhaul of regulators such as the UGC, inculcating values and nationalistic pride in school students, compulsory quality audit of all higher education institutions every three years and allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in the country in collaboration with Indian institutions.

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