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AICTE recognises ‘Vedic Board’ qualifications allegedly without scrutinising syllabus

Veda Bhushan and Veda Vibhushan to be considered equivalent of class X and XII; students can join any higher or technical education course including medicine and engineering

Deborah Grey 08 Oct 2022

Vedic BoardRepresentation Image |  Courtesy: msrvvp.ac.in

In a shocking development in the controversy surrounding ‘Vedic Boards’, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has allegedly not scrutinized the syllabus of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board (MSRVSSB) set up by the Veda Bhushan and Veda Vibhushan certifications offered by the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP) before granting it equivalence with standard 10 and 12 certificates issued by other national educational boards.

This is significant because the results of Board exams play a crucial role in determining what courses and subsequently careers a student can pursue. The competition for admission to prestigious colleges, especially those that offer degrees in medicine and engineering is cut-throat to say the least. And even though the Vedic Boards insist their syllabus represents blended learning, one cannot ignore important questions about how well such an education can prepare students to pursue careers where the bulk, if not all the syllabus is rooted in western science and mathematics.

According to the website of the MSRVVP (https://msrvvp.ac.in/modal.html), written exams are conducted for this Vedic board’s students in four subjects – Sanskrit, English, Mathematics and Social Sciences. Vedas are taught via traditional methods of oral learning. The website does not mention any subjects such as Physics, Chemistry or Biology. Therefore, the revelation that the AICTE did not even bother to go through the syllabus of the Board is shocking!

According to The Telegraph, two education ministry officials had separately confirmed to the publication that the syllabus of the Vedic Board had not been scrutinized by the AICTE before granting the equivalence to the certificates. Both officials had allegedly tried to play down the serious nature of such an oversight, with one of them trying to justify it saying, “Colleges admit students on the basis of their own selection norms. They will see whether the students fulfil their expectations.”

Vedic education boards in India

Readers would recall that Patanjali, a group led by Baba Ramdev producing Ayurvedic and other products, had first pushed for a board to oversee Vedic education in India. In 2019, the Ministry of Human Resource Development approved Patanjali’s proposal and a Bharatiya Shiksha Board (BSB) was set up. According to the BSB website (https://bsb.org.in/gs_members_and_executive_board.php), while Ramdev serves as the President of the Executive Board and Chairman of the Governing Society. 

BSB aims “to equip (the students) with scientific and analytical outlook so that modern scientific thought contained in the Vedas, particularly disciplines of mathematics, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, hydraulics, etc., could be linked with modern science and technology, and a rapport establishment between them and the modern scholars,” and “to undertake research in the interest of advancement of scientific knowledge in Vedas texts and Vedas Literature from the earliest time of Vedic period up to the present day, including areas of science, agriculture, technology, philosophy, yoga, education, poetics, grammar, linguistics, and Vedic tradition, and to provide for library, research equipment, research facilities supporting staff and other technical manpower.”

BSB says that the purpose behind creation of the Board is the “standardization, management, affiliation, recognition, certification, authentication, syllabi and programs “domain” area education in the country upto pre-degree level/senior secondary level or 5+3+3+4 pattern per NEP-2020.” It further explains, “The “Domain area” means a system of education which includes an Indian Traditional Knowledge like Vedic Education, Sanskrit Education, Shastas and Darshanas Education, Bharatiya Art, Bharatiya Parampara and Sanskrit Education, etc., imparted through Gurukulas, Veda Pathashala, Gurushishya Parampara or any other education system having its core value in Veda education with or without modern education which shall be in conformity with National Curriculum Framework.”

The BSB proudly displays the Cirtificate of Equivalence granted to it by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) on its website. It may be viewed here:

Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP), Ujjain, is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Education, Government of India. It has set up the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board (MSRVSSB). This Board offers the Veda Bhushan certificate that is now (in wake of the AICTE circular) considered the equivalent of a class 10 certificate issued by other central and state boards of education, while the Veda Vibhushan is to be considered equivalent to the standard 12 certificate.

AICTE’s circular

According to the AICTE, the Department of School Education and Literacy that comes under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India had in consultation with the NCERT, have concurred with the various Bye-laws and Statutory requirements for the MSRVSSB and recognised it for school Education.

On September 13, AICTE had issued a circular to all Vice Chancellors of technical universities and all Directors/Principals of AICTE-approved institutions to accept as the Veda Bhushan and Veda Vibhushan equivalent of standard 10 and 12 certificates respectively.

A copy of the circular may be read here:

 

This was after the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) had said that the that MSRVSSB shall function as a regular school Board within India, via a letter dated August 3.

Concerns over “saffronisation” of education

As SabrangIndia has reported previously, academics have been raising concerns over the alleged attempt to “saffronise” education in India. In 2020, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), was in the news for ‘editing’ its Class 12 history syllabus. The CBSE dropped the chapter titled 'The Mughal Court: Reconstructing Histories through Chronicles'. The next thing that made news was the decision by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to drop chapters on “federalism, citizenship, nationalism, and secularism” from the political science curriculum of Class 11. Also reportedly deleted was a section on demonetisation. However, as the news was followed by much debate, these 'deleted' topics were restored in the 2021-22 academic session. The education board had claimed that the edits were to lessen the “burden” on students as the Covid-19 pandemic was raging.

According to a detailed report in Frontline, the deletions were specific chapters on federalism, citizenship, nationalism and secularism which were “completely deleted” from the Class 11 Political Science syllabus. Other deletions included “business ethics, the Planning Commission and Five-Year Plans, demonetisation, goods and services tax (GST)” and “Indian democracy, social structure, stratification and social processes have been removed from Sociology”. The publication also reported that “entire chapters on early societies, nomadic cultures and confrontation of cultures have been removed from World History,” and that “portions about peasants, zamindars and the state and understanding Partition” had been axed as were issues “pertaining to gender, caste and social movements.”

Meanwhile in Madrasas…

All this while, it is noteworthy that Madrasas, that also claim to offer blended learning i.e students are taught modern subjects like Science and Mathematics, alongside traditional and religious teachings, have been repeatedly criticized for not being able to produce students who can compete with their counterparts from other national and state boards. 

In fact, this alleged lack of modern subjects in Madrasa curriculum, was one of the main reasons why at least two state governments – Assam and Uttar Pradesh, have taken a series actions to scrutinize every aspect of madrasas – from their funding to the Imams who teach there.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced that the state government is in the process of putting together a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to monitor the entry of Imams from outside Assam into the state. He said a government portal was being developed for such imams to register themselves when they came to Assam. He also clarified that this registration was not required for local imams. The announcement made on August 22, comes in wake of the arrest of nearly 30 people including at least three imams who taught at madrasas in the state. A few madrasas were also demolished for allegedly having connections with terrorist organisations, though in case of the madrasa that was demolished allegedly by local villagers in Kabaitary, the official reason given was that the structure was unsound and therefore dangerous for students.

Meanwhile, a survey of madrasa is on in Uttar Pradesh. The survey that began on September 19, is expected to end by October 15 and aims to ascertain the following information:

1.      Name of the madrasa

2.      Name of the organization that is running the madrasa

3.      Year of establishment

4.      Details of madrasa premises (owned or rented)

5.      Details of adequacy of madrasa premises, availability of resources, and structural integrity of madrasa building

6.      Number of students

7.      Number of teachers

8.      Details of curriculum

9.      Source of income

10.   If students have been enrolled in any additional schools

11.   If any non government organization is connected with the madrasa

12.  Remarks of the surveyor

 UP has 16,500 authorised madrasas, of which 558 are aided and 7,442 offer modern education. The total number of students at such madrasas is upwards of 19 lakhs.

Related:

Cooperate fully with madrasa survey authorities: Maulana Arshad Madani to UP madrasas

Discrepancy in reason for Madrasa demolished in Kabaitary: AAMSU

Education in India being ‘edited’ to suit a right-wing syllabus... one chapter at a time

AICTE recognises ‘Vedic Board’ qualifications allegedly without scrutinising syllabus

Veda Bhushan and Veda Vibhushan to be considered equivalent of class X and XII; students can join any higher or technical education course including medicine and engineering

Vedic BoardRepresentation Image |  Courtesy: msrvvp.ac.in

In a shocking development in the controversy surrounding ‘Vedic Boards’, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has allegedly not scrutinized the syllabus of the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board (MSRVSSB) set up by the Veda Bhushan and Veda Vibhushan certifications offered by the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP) before granting it equivalence with standard 10 and 12 certificates issued by other national educational boards.

This is significant because the results of Board exams play a crucial role in determining what courses and subsequently careers a student can pursue. The competition for admission to prestigious colleges, especially those that offer degrees in medicine and engineering is cut-throat to say the least. And even though the Vedic Boards insist their syllabus represents blended learning, one cannot ignore important questions about how well such an education can prepare students to pursue careers where the bulk, if not all the syllabus is rooted in western science and mathematics.

According to the website of the MSRVVP (https://msrvvp.ac.in/modal.html), written exams are conducted for this Vedic board’s students in four subjects – Sanskrit, English, Mathematics and Social Sciences. Vedas are taught via traditional methods of oral learning. The website does not mention any subjects such as Physics, Chemistry or Biology. Therefore, the revelation that the AICTE did not even bother to go through the syllabus of the Board is shocking!

According to The Telegraph, two education ministry officials had separately confirmed to the publication that the syllabus of the Vedic Board had not been scrutinized by the AICTE before granting the equivalence to the certificates. Both officials had allegedly tried to play down the serious nature of such an oversight, with one of them trying to justify it saying, “Colleges admit students on the basis of their own selection norms. They will see whether the students fulfil their expectations.”

Vedic education boards in India

Readers would recall that Patanjali, a group led by Baba Ramdev producing Ayurvedic and other products, had first pushed for a board to oversee Vedic education in India. In 2019, the Ministry of Human Resource Development approved Patanjali’s proposal and a Bharatiya Shiksha Board (BSB) was set up. According to the BSB website (https://bsb.org.in/gs_members_and_executive_board.php), while Ramdev serves as the President of the Executive Board and Chairman of the Governing Society. 

BSB aims “to equip (the students) with scientific and analytical outlook so that modern scientific thought contained in the Vedas, particularly disciplines of mathematics, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, hydraulics, etc., could be linked with modern science and technology, and a rapport establishment between them and the modern scholars,” and “to undertake research in the interest of advancement of scientific knowledge in Vedas texts and Vedas Literature from the earliest time of Vedic period up to the present day, including areas of science, agriculture, technology, philosophy, yoga, education, poetics, grammar, linguistics, and Vedic tradition, and to provide for library, research equipment, research facilities supporting staff and other technical manpower.”

BSB says that the purpose behind creation of the Board is the “standardization, management, affiliation, recognition, certification, authentication, syllabi and programs “domain” area education in the country upto pre-degree level/senior secondary level or 5+3+3+4 pattern per NEP-2020.” It further explains, “The “Domain area” means a system of education which includes an Indian Traditional Knowledge like Vedic Education, Sanskrit Education, Shastas and Darshanas Education, Bharatiya Art, Bharatiya Parampara and Sanskrit Education, etc., imparted through Gurukulas, Veda Pathashala, Gurushishya Parampara or any other education system having its core value in Veda education with or without modern education which shall be in conformity with National Curriculum Framework.”

The BSB proudly displays the Cirtificate of Equivalence granted to it by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) on its website. It may be viewed here:

Meanwhile, it is noteworthy that the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP), Ujjain, is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Education, Government of India. It has set up the Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Sanskrit Shiksha Board (MSRVSSB). This Board offers the Veda Bhushan certificate that is now (in wake of the AICTE circular) considered the equivalent of a class 10 certificate issued by other central and state boards of education, while the Veda Vibhushan is to be considered equivalent to the standard 12 certificate.

AICTE’s circular

According to the AICTE, the Department of School Education and Literacy that comes under the Ministry of Education of the Government of India had in consultation with the NCERT, have concurred with the various Bye-laws and Statutory requirements for the MSRVSSB and recognised it for school Education.

On September 13, AICTE had issued a circular to all Vice Chancellors of technical universities and all Directors/Principals of AICTE-approved institutions to accept as the Veda Bhushan and Veda Vibhushan equivalent of standard 10 and 12 certificates respectively.

A copy of the circular may be read here:

 

This was after the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) had said that the that MSRVSSB shall function as a regular school Board within India, via a letter dated August 3.

Concerns over “saffronisation” of education

As SabrangIndia has reported previously, academics have been raising concerns over the alleged attempt to “saffronise” education in India. In 2020, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), was in the news for ‘editing’ its Class 12 history syllabus. The CBSE dropped the chapter titled 'The Mughal Court: Reconstructing Histories through Chronicles'. The next thing that made news was the decision by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to drop chapters on “federalism, citizenship, nationalism, and secularism” from the political science curriculum of Class 11. Also reportedly deleted was a section on demonetisation. However, as the news was followed by much debate, these 'deleted' topics were restored in the 2021-22 academic session. The education board had claimed that the edits were to lessen the “burden” on students as the Covid-19 pandemic was raging.

According to a detailed report in Frontline, the deletions were specific chapters on federalism, citizenship, nationalism and secularism which were “completely deleted” from the Class 11 Political Science syllabus. Other deletions included “business ethics, the Planning Commission and Five-Year Plans, demonetisation, goods and services tax (GST)” and “Indian democracy, social structure, stratification and social processes have been removed from Sociology”. The publication also reported that “entire chapters on early societies, nomadic cultures and confrontation of cultures have been removed from World History,” and that “portions about peasants, zamindars and the state and understanding Partition” had been axed as were issues “pertaining to gender, caste and social movements.”

Meanwhile in Madrasas…

All this while, it is noteworthy that Madrasas, that also claim to offer blended learning i.e students are taught modern subjects like Science and Mathematics, alongside traditional and religious teachings, have been repeatedly criticized for not being able to produce students who can compete with their counterparts from other national and state boards. 

In fact, this alleged lack of modern subjects in Madrasa curriculum, was one of the main reasons why at least two state governments – Assam and Uttar Pradesh, have taken a series actions to scrutinize every aspect of madrasas – from their funding to the Imams who teach there.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced that the state government is in the process of putting together a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to monitor the entry of Imams from outside Assam into the state. He said a government portal was being developed for such imams to register themselves when they came to Assam. He also clarified that this registration was not required for local imams. The announcement made on August 22, comes in wake of the arrest of nearly 30 people including at least three imams who taught at madrasas in the state. A few madrasas were also demolished for allegedly having connections with terrorist organisations, though in case of the madrasa that was demolished allegedly by local villagers in Kabaitary, the official reason given was that the structure was unsound and therefore dangerous for students.

Meanwhile, a survey of madrasa is on in Uttar Pradesh. The survey that began on September 19, is expected to end by October 15 and aims to ascertain the following information:

1.      Name of the madrasa

2.      Name of the organization that is running the madrasa

3.      Year of establishment

4.      Details of madrasa premises (owned or rented)

5.      Details of adequacy of madrasa premises, availability of resources, and structural integrity of madrasa building

6.      Number of students

7.      Number of teachers

8.      Details of curriculum

9.      Source of income

10.   If students have been enrolled in any additional schools

11.   If any non government organization is connected with the madrasa

12.  Remarks of the surveyor

 UP has 16,500 authorised madrasas, of which 558 are aided and 7,442 offer modern education. The total number of students at such madrasas is upwards of 19 lakhs.

Related:

Cooperate fully with madrasa survey authorities: Maulana Arshad Madani to UP madrasas

Discrepancy in reason for Madrasa demolished in Kabaitary: AAMSU

Education in India being ‘edited’ to suit a right-wing syllabus... one chapter at a time

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