This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Tanya Jaiswal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why India Needs ‘One Nation One Board’ Policy To Maintain Uniformity Among Diversity

Background: One Nation One Board

India has more than 50 recognised boards — all India boards such as CBSE and ICSE, state-level boards, international boards such as IB and IGCSE, and open-schooling boards such as NIOS — each modeled on different curricula, pedagogy and set of instructions. The National committee prescribes the NCERT syllabus, while the State Council stipulates the SCERT curriculum design in their respective states. The UP government has taken the decision of implementing the NCERT-prescribed syllabus on its Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP) board from the academic year 2020-2021 by considering the fact that most of the national entrance and competitive exams, including the UPSC exams, follow the NCERT-based syllabus.

Petition For ‘Uniform Education System’

Earlier in 2020, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, consisting Justice Indu Malhotra, Dr DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph, rejected the public interest litigation seeking directions for a uniform and common curriculum in place of diverse ones across the nation for school students in the age group of six to 14 years. The Court said it was a “matter of policy” and the judiciary could not “command” the government on the subject (Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union Of India, (2020), S.C.580 (India)).

What Was The Plea Before The Supreme Court?

The petition for a uniform education Board was filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a politician of the BJP. The petitioner pleaded before the Court the following points:

  1. The petitioner urged to make compulsory the study of standard textbooks with chapters on fundamental rights and duties, directive principles and the golden goals set out in Preamble throughout the country.
  2. The petitioner pleaded that the prevailing education system does not provide for equal opportunities as each Board has its own syllabus and curriculum, while entrance exams are based solely on the CBSE Board syllabus.
  3. The petitioner added that a uniform education Board with a common syllabus and curriculum would accomplish the code of a common culture, removal of disparity, and depletion of oppressive qualities in human relations.

woman giving exam in a classroom

This petition is not a new phenomenon that seeks for the establishment of a National Education Council/Commission and requests the following of a ‘One Nation One Board’ system in which the ICSE should merge with CBSE. Here are a few petitions on the similar phenomenon filed earlier.

  • In 2011 in Tamil Nadu, a three-judge Bench headed by Justice J.M. Panchal, wherein the petition was filed by the Tamil Nadu Government, held that a common syllabus and curriculum, especially for children aged between six and 14 years, would achieve the “code of common culture” (State of T.N. v. K. Shyam Sunder,(2011) 8 S.C.C. 7137.)  This decision had even viewed the idea of a common syllabus as “a progenitor to the Uniform Civil Code and an antidote to fanaticism and seclusion.”
  • On 8th December, 2017, a three-judge bench headed by the then Chief Justice dismissed a petition by Nita Upadhyay, a primary school teacher, for ‘One Nation, One Education Board ‘ to replace the existing multi-board system.

From Constitutional Prescriptive: Why India Needs Uniform Education

The Constitution is not implied for the ruler, but the ranker, the tramp of the road, the slave with the sack on his shoulders, pricked on with the urge, the man with too heavy a burden, too tired a heap. The Right to Education under Article 21A of the Constitution must be perused in conformity with Article 14, 15 and Preamble of the Constitution, and there must be no distinction in the quality of education throughout the domain of India. Thus, a common syllabus and curriculum are required.

The right of a child should not be limited only to free and compulsory education, but should be extended to having a uniform education system throughout the territory of India, without any discrimination related to the child’s social, economic, religious and cultural background.

Fundamental Principles Of The Indian Constitution

Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are pillars of our democracy. Socio-economic justice is essential for gradual growth and development of the poor, the weak, the vulnerable and the downtrodden in society. The State seeks to reduce inequality in income, status and opportunities among citizens of India under Article 38(2). Socio-economic justice is guaranteed by Article 39, 46 and Preamble of the Constitution to promote a more balanced growth among all members of society, while Fraternity guarantees dignity to an individual, and Equality of status assured to them would become meaningful and real.

Uniform education for all children aged 6-14 years will not only secure socio-economic equality, but will also promote brotherhood, individual dignity and ensure unity and integrity of the nation. The greatest example of this already in practice is the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya educational institutions, where not only the syllabus and curriculum, but even their school dress is common. Socialism and secularism remain ambiguous until there is uniformity in education.

However, children are vulnerable, they need to be valued, nurtured, supported and protected. A democracy depends on its very life on high standards of general, professional and expert training.  Education connotes the process of training and developing knowledge, skill, mind and character of a student through formal schooling.

examhall
Uniform education for all children aged 6-14 years will not only secure socio-economic equality, but will also promote brotherhood, individual dignity and ensure unity and integrity of the nation.

Arguments In Favour of A Uniform Education Board

  1. Educational boards have different schedules: For example, in Maharashtra State Board schools, the academic year starts in June, while CBSE’s academic year starts in April. Students migrating from one part of the country to another due to their parent’s job transfers or any other reason often face problems while changing their schools.
  2. Policies regarding language subjects: There are many variations in the number of languages taught and the way in which they are taught. For instance, CBSE has a norm of three language up to Class 8 and two languages above Class 8. On the other hand, state boards usually follow a three-language formula that includes English, Hindi and the state language throughout the academic year.
  3. ICSE vs CBSE’s English: While the ICSE English syllabus provides exposure to classics including the works of Homer, Ovid and Shakespeare, the CBSE syllabus focuses more on the communicative aspects of the language.
  4. Marking schemes of boards differs significantly: While some boards are lenient with students scoring in the higher 90s, in some boards, crossing the 90% bar is quite an achievement. This creates a problem for students seeking admission in colleges for courses that are not based on entrance exams but on the Class 12 Board result.
  5. When it comes to entrance exams such as NEET, students of state Boards are placed at a disadvantage vis-a-vis CBSE students, as most entrance exams are more or less based on the NCERT syllabus.
  6. Separate education facilities are inherently unequal and disregard the convention of fairness. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a milestone of the United States Supreme Court in which the Court proclaimed state laws setting up separate government schools for black and white students as unconstitutional. The sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn (Board v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483,60 (1954)).

It was held that racial segregation in state-funded schools was unconstitutional. It was concluded that the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place in the US education system.  (Ian C. Friedman, Separate Educational Facilities Are Inherently Unequal, WORDS MATTER ( July 22,2020,4:00 PM).

Arguments Against A Uniform Education Board

  1. State Board fees is lower than that of CBSE and ICSE. This makes it easily affordable for students who hail from economically weaker backgrounds.
  2. Multiple Boards spark competition among them. The incentive for each Board is to be able to capture and receive as many schools affiliated under it as possible.
  3. CBSE additionally does not turn out in flying colours. There are more than 15,000 CBSE schools across India. For what reason does India rank so low in international exams including PISA, TIMSS, which benchmark school students of different countries? Why does the corporate world constantly harass the unemployed youth in India? Some recent surveys show that “Indian youth are not very hopeful about their employment prospects due to theoretically based subjects.”
  4. Students in different state Boards get the opportunity to learn about their region, language and culture. If a uniform educational board comes in place, the uniform Board will be a threat to our diversity.
  5. The sudden change of syllabus may affect and disrupt the stability in academics for a student. A new syllabus would bring more workload on teachers as well as parents.

Conclusion

Recently, the New Education Policy, 2020,  introduced the 5+3+3+4 curricular structure on the recommendation of K. Kasturirangan Committee with the intent of integrating the Indian education system with the global pattern. This has been done to equip the child with 21st-century skills by replacing the rote learning system and instil confidence and nationalist pride among students. The uniform education system with a common syllabus and curriculum would accomplish the code of a common culture, removal of disparity of knowledge, and depletion of prejudicial qualities in human relations that could be possible through a “common school system”. However, the NEP does not talk about “common school system”.

You must be to comment.

More from Tanya Jaiswal

Similar Posts

By Inni Chauhan

By Vinay Saraiwala

By Pooja Dahiya

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below