ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Quality Constraints in Education

It needs pensive reflection to understand how an organisation whose name is perhaps the most widely recognised public sector brand across the length and breadth of India could become the target of so much instant anger and contempt in the highest legislative forum of the republic.

The cyclone that hit Parliament on 11 and 14 May over the socalled cartoon controversy indicates, among other things, how vulnerable education and the institutions that impart it are to party politics – both within and between parties. This is not the first time the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) slipped into the eye of a cyclonic storm. A similar one had hit the Rajya Sabha in 2006 over the new Hindi textbooks. That time too, Members of Parliament (MPs) cutting across party lines – covering the full ideological spectrum – had sought an immediate deletion of certain portions of textbooks and punitive proceedings against those responsible for the inclusion of these portions. If we look back further, NCERT textbooks have served as a symbolic space for the exhibition of political virulence for a long time. Perhaps it is that history of controversies, and a memory lapse on NCERT’s role as an apex 50-year old policymaking body in school education, that impelled a senior MP to demand that the institution be dissolved. It is a bit sad indeed that such a demand should have been raised in the golden jubilee year of the NCERT.

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