NIOS Plan for Madrassas: Veda, Ramayana, Gita Courses Under NEP

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There are around 100 Madrassas with 50,000 students accredited with NIOS. — Representational image

Centre for Education and Research Training (CERT) has criticised NIOS’s move to introduce Bharatiya Jnana Parampara courses

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which comes under the Minstry of Education, will introduce a new curriculum on ancient Indian knowledge and heritage for Madarssa students as part of New Education Policy (NEP) under which Hindu religious books Veda, Ramayana, Gita along with other subjects will be taught, reports Times of India.

The NIOS will start a basic course for classes 3, 5 and 8. It has come up with 15 courses on the ‘Bharatiya Jnana Parampara’ (Indian knowledge tradition). Veda, yoga, science, vocational skills, Sanskrit language, Ramayan epic narratives, Bhagvad Gita teachings and the Panini-propounded Maheshwara Sutras are part of these courses. These courses are equivalent to classes 3, 5 and 8 of elementary education.

Reacting to the report of teaching Hindu religious books to Madarassa students, the Education Ministry said that these subjects will be optional.

“It is clarified herewith that NIOS accredits Madrassas under SPQEM (Special provision for quality education of Madrassas). Various subjects are offered to learners under this provision-without any hard line boundaries of fixed subject combinations unlike that in the formal education system. It is totally the discretion of the learner to opt for subject combination from the bouquet of the subjects provided by NIOS,” said the ministry in its clarification.

There are around 100 Madrassas with 50,000 students accredited with NIOS. Further, there are plans to accredit around 500 more Madrassas with the NIOS in the recent future-totally on the basis of demand of Madrassas, said the ministry.

Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal released the study material at NIOS headquarters in Noida on Tuesday.

The course material of yoga covers patanjali kritasutra, yogasutra exercises, surya namaskar, asanas, and pranayama.

The vocational skills curriculum has sections of cow-rearing, cleaning of cowsheds and hygiene, etc. In addition, skills such as making beds, constructing biometrics for farms, using Ayurveda in daily life, methods of cooking and serving have also been included.

Science has topics like water, air, vegetation and land conservation in the vedas, origin of creation, panchamabhut, earth and natural resources.

“The curriculum will be available for all and figure among other subjects. In an open education system, students are free to choose, so it is not a compulsory component. There is a gamut of subjects in our open education system that madarssa students can pick. It is a matter of their choice.” Shoaib Raza Khan, assistant director (academic) NIOS, was quoted by the Times of India as saying.

NIOS is a notional board which offers courses at primary, secondary and senior-secondary level through open and distance education.

Centre for Education and Research Training (CERT) has criticised NIOS’s move to introduce Bharatiya Jnana Parampara courses terming it “omissive of the heterogeneity of values and ethical traditions of communities inhabiting the country”.

“The introduction of 15 Bhartiya Jnana Parampara (Indian Knowledge System) courses, including Veda, Yoga, Sanskrit, Ramayan and Bhagvad Gita, at National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) betrays a singular vision of ‘Indian’ literature and history. This curriculum is completely omissive of the heterogeneity of values and ethical traditions of communities inhabiting the country, thereby threatening the cohesion of the plural Indian society. Preferential bias towards any cultural tradition to represent all Indian knowledge is violative of our constitutional principles,” said Fawaz Shaheen, Director of CERT.

 

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