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Being politically secular, recently Ram Bilas Sharma, Education Minister, Haryana has asked schools to introduce 'Gayatri Mantra' in school prayer despite especially government schools have shortage of teachers and buildings are not properly maintained.
State ruled by Bhartiya Janta party saw criticism from the opposition parties and the academia who called the step by government was towards 'saffronisation of education'. "The government is trying to divert the core issues related to education, health and agriculture. The move by government is totally against culture, ethos and the country’s Constitution that guarantees secularism," said Sarvesh Kumar Tiwari, Social activist.
Earlier, in 2015 Gita shlokas were included in the school syllabus soon after formation of the BJP government in Haryana.
Government is keen on promoting ‘Geeta shlokas’ and Gayatri Mantra’, in fact they should be more focused towards the recruitment of teachers and strengthening the infrastructure for betterment of schools. We are the part of secular country and education is a step to educate children about society, person and even all religions but the government is focusing on one religion when in schools children come to stude from different religion, to become secular and to practice all the religions," said Shafiq, a social activist.
Whereas talking to media in Chandigarh on Saturday the education minister had said that the government had made the decision after meeting school principals, teachers and other stakeholders in the matter on Friday and will issue a notice on it on Tuesday. Sharma claimed that the government made the decision after its move to include the Bhagvad Gita in the school syllabus “yielded positive results”.
Haryana Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry in her statement released earlier said that the government was “chasing the wrong priorities” and hiding its failure.
Vikas Siwach, President. Maharishi Dayanand University Teachers Association (MDUTA), Rohtak (Haryana) said that for Hindus the step is good but what for other religions. "Moral values must be inculcated in children to make them grow as responsible citizens and become an asset to the society but not in this way. There are lots of other thing that government can introduce to improve education," said Siwach.
(Writer is Assistant Editor with NewsMantra)