Sibal ready to drop some proposals if there is a rationale

Last Updated : 05 July 2009, 06:17 IST
Last Updated : 05 July 2009, 06:17 IST

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"These reforms are good for the country. These reforms are required. If there is a public outcry that it is not possible and if I think there is a rationale in that, I certainly will not go ahead with it," Sibal told Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.

He said the issue of reforms has been put in public domain and discussions have already started on several forums.

Sibal said that democracy is about consensus and it is possible that some of the ideas do not translate into realities for lack of consensus.

The Union Minister parried a question as to whether he had discussed the reforms with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before making the announcements.

"This is not something that I can answer publicly. Prime Minister himself, let me tell bluntly, is extremely keen that the education sector needs reforms," he said.

About making class-X exam optional, Sibal said the government wants to implement it in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which affiliates about 10,000 schools.

"The state boards are not concerned with it. Any state government which thinks that I am tinkering with the state board exam system, either they have not read my press release or seen me in the press conference (of June 25) making the statement," Sibal said.

He said the proposal to make class-X board exam optional could be implemented in CBSE in a year's time. The decision can be taken at the ministry level and need not be taken to the Cabinet, he said.

About the proposed introduction of grading system, Sibal said, "We will see how fast it can take place".

He said some of the reforms he has announced are just ideas.

"Some of them are ideas. Some of them are decisions and some are policy and legislative initiatives. The reforms are very difficult when you implement them at village level. We need cooperation from state government and from panchayats. If all stakeholders cooperate this shall be done," he said.

Sibal said the draft Foreign Education Providers Bill has been prepared. Asked if the foreign institutions will implement reservations, he said the government has not decided on the issue.

"It depends on what we decide when we move forward," he said, adding that the legislation is in draft stage.

"But if a foreign university is giving a simple BA degree, why it should not follow the law of the land. It is my personal opinion. It may be overruled by the Cabinet," Sibal said, adding that this issue needs discussions and debate.

Asked about the opposition to the foreign university bill by certain members of the Cabinet, including Jairam Ramesh, Sibal said the Economic Survey has supported Foreign Direct Investment in education and this bill was a step forward in that direction.

"I am not going to comment on a colleague. I respect my colleague. I am not embarrassed," he said.

Asked about the proposal for having a single All India Board at Class-12 level, Sibal said he has not said about such a board.

"I did not say any of that... Uniformity does not mean uniformity in teaching. It means uniformity in standards," he said, adding that the pass percentage in the state boards is as low as 27 per cent.

Published 05 July 2009, 06:17 IST

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