In a recent Cabinet reshuffle, Prakash Javadekar, a Member of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh and official spokesperson for the BJP took over the HRD Ministry from Smriti Irani. Coming as a reason for deep breaths for many people in the country, seeing the less than charming performance of Mrs. Irani in her post which saw her stepping up to debate in the parliament with full confidence and lack of facts.
Since she took up the mantle of the HRD portfolio, Mrs. Irani has found herself in the middle of a veritable storm. Beginning with questions being raised whether a Minister who has never been to a college can effectively discharge the ministerial duties expected of her while she heads HRD in the country. This also brought out another controversy about her contradictory educational qualifications as mentioned on various affidavits filed by her.
Be it German-Sanskrit fumble, demanding all Central Universities to have the national flag on campus or her image in the entire JNU controversy. With allegations of sedition being thrown around like as much confetti, her lacklustre performance can be summed as everything and stupid, which left many wondering if she was even aware of the actual problem. The biggest flop show of them all turned to be the see-saw of change in course structures in the University of Delhi – having had nearly 5 major structural changes in nearly as many years. Her tenure came to end leaving at least that particular university in more of quagmire which it is still trying to sort through.
Eventually, the cynics were proven right, with her being shifted off to the Textile portfolio while bringing in Prakash Javadekar, former Rajya Sabha Member, re-elected in 2014 and shifting in from Environment, Forest and Climate Change. His past actions, especially with regards to the coal mining scam and the subsequent investigation by the CVC only adds more hope for all concerned.
With scams in the educational sector in Bihar, the rising suicide rate in Kota and the wave of protests seen in higher educational institutions across the country; it is a grim picture for education in India. What adds to this is the slow saffronisation of education as seen in various parts of the country. Industry experts also highlight the gap between education and workplace requirements which have affected the employability of people newly entering the job market.
Dealing with such a delicate aspect, Mr. Javadekar has his work cut out for him. What remains to be seen is that will he follow his party’s footsteps of a Hindutva Bharat or help in bringing the Union of India up to speed as per national and international expectations.
Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar