Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday called for a “Bharatiya” or indigenous system of education in the country in the place of the one inherited from the British. Speaking at a town-hall meeting with parents and teachers here as part of his campaign for the coming Assembly elections in Gujarat, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also said that India should become a destination for students from all over the world, like Nalanda University was in ancient times.
A participant at the program asked if the text books prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) should be changed. “Not just NCERT books but the entire content needs to be changed. There is a need to start a Bharatiya education system in the country by abolishing the British education system,” he said.The country made a mistake by not doing away with the old education system after 1947, Kejriwal said.
“The entire system of education was left to us by the British. It is the system Macaulay prepared in the 1830s so that we could serve them by becoming clerks. I respect all freedom fighters, but when the country attained independence, we should have prepared a new system of education for independent India by abolishing the old British education system,” he said.
His government in Delhi is working on this, Kejriwal added. “For example, our children start looking for a job after completing graduation. We need a system to prepare students who would not search for jobs but offer jobs. We have started the system in Delhi. For 11th and 12th students, we have started teaching them how to do business,” he said. Students in Delhi schools are also being taught patriotism and how to become a good human being, the AAP leader added.
“India attained independence 75 years ago. Despite having the best engineers, doctors, our country lagged behind. Today our children go to Ukraine for medical education, it is a matter of shame,” he said.
“Students from across the world came to study at Nalanda University in ancient India….Today our students are going abroad,” Kejriwal said, adding that foreign students should come to India rather than the other way round.
In Delhi, four lakh students shifted from private schools to government schools as the AAP government reformed government schools, he claimed. About 1,100 students from Delhi government schools passed NEET and IIT-JEE for admission to top medical and engineering colleges, he added.
“I am totally convinced that one thing that can rid the country of poverty is education. If we provide good education to our children, then our country will no longer remain poor, it can become better than America,” he said. Kejriwal also alleged that the AAP tried to book 13 venues in the last four-five days for holding dialogues on education in Gujarat but the ruling BJP’s workers threatened the venue owners.
“They (BJP) think the country is so weak that if they threaten, there will be no dialogue on education. There will be dialogue on education, and both the government and private schools of Gujarat will be improved (if AAP came to power),” he added.