One Nation, One Board

“The aim of a university education should be to turn out true servants of the people[1]“. Education is the most important thing in one’s life. Without education, there is no future in the country. The role of education in developing nations is very important without education country will face poverty, slow progress in economic development will also be there. Education is one of the primary need of any individual everyone it’s a primary need of any individual, without education no one can have better chances in life. The role of education in developing countries reduces poverty. The advantages of education can be seen through a boost in the economy. Even the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, clearly states that children are the future citizens of tomorrow. Education acts as the wing for the children to grow healthy and have prosperous adults in the future.

Education is one of the most important sources for our country, there are different Boards of education made by our country which focus on it. Even in our constitution, it has been stated that Education is one of the fundamental right and essential for the exercise of all other human rights. Our country is having the largest number of youngsters which means that if the literacy rate of these youngsters will increase it will also going to help our country economic strength, poverty, and many other factors. Our constitution is the main source of every law and it is a document that provides social justice to all. Even our constitution also recognizes education as one of the most important parts of our citizens.

From the case of Mohini Jain v. State of Karnataka[2] the right of education was enumerated as our Fundamental Right. It has been stated in the case that “The right to education further means that a citizen has a right to call upon the State to provide educational facilities to him within the limits of its economic capacity and development.”  This judgment was further examined in the case of J.P. Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh[3], where it has been stated that “The right to education further means that a citizen has a right to call upon the State to provide educational facilities to him within the limits of its economic capacity and development.” In the case of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education v. K.S. Gandhi, [4]The right to Education was held to be a Fundamental Right and from the 86th amendment, it was added in our constitution.

Even the Right to education has been stated as one of the most important Human rights. It has been stated under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and it was adopted in 1948 which has been stated under Article 26 of it. Even education is promoted under numerous International Human Rights Treaties which are Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960). To make these treaties applicable in our country, India is the state party to CERD, ICESCR, and the CRC, which allows the country to make them applicable in our country. Although, our country has a rich history regarding the education system.

Our country has the largest School System with more than One Lakh elementary school including more than two lakhs Higher and Secondary sections. Even the oldest university in the world which was Nalanda University was built here in 5th Century BC. From that period and today, many things in our education system have been changed and new things are introduced in teachings, the syllabus got changed. Even there are now around different education administrative boards and statutory bodies that are established by the government. In our country the two well-known national boards Central Board for Secondary Examination (CBSE) and the Councils Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) in which the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) boards comes. Apart from these many of the states have their independent educational boards but they all are under governmental control.

It has been seen that the syllabus of CBSE is perfect and in many entrance examination it’s been used but the other boards which are being followed less research have been done on them. As the syllabus is considered as the main root of any course designed. Even the classes are planned as per the syllabus also the books get to differ with the syllabus. As today the nation is suffering from coronavirus and even the lockdown is there is the whole country and school are closed so the advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay filed a plea regarding a scrap of the syllabus for all school-going children aged between six and fourteenth years in the spirit of Article 21 A [5]into one board. It means that merging all the boards and to implement this the PIL was filed.

Petition and Facts of the Issues

Although in our constitution it has been clearly stated regarding the uniform civil code but still our country has not followed in many areas like in education. There are around 154 recognized education boards in India and the state has also had the liberty to establish their education boards bypassing the acts in State Assemblies. As per the concurrent list given in our 7th schedule gives the power to the state as well as the union to make laws for the education and provide compulsory education to all children. But due to the number of boards in our country led to non-uniform and varied standards and systems of education in different parts of our country.

Although, the State education board tends that they provide cheap education but the quality of education which was provided on national and international boards those states boards were criticized. So The PIL was filed by the Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in the Supreme Court of India and challenged this concept of multiple boards followed in our country. His PIL focused on the feasibility of establishing “One Nation, One Education Board.’ This petition focusing on merging all the boards which are followed in different states shall be merged into one, which means CBSE and CISCE into one official national board of education. This plea further sought to achieve socio-economic equality and justice. To achieve this objective every school must adopt a similar syllabus and curriculum.

In the Plea, it was stated that all the entrance exams which are conducted by the state are based on the syllabus and curriculum of the CBSE board. If a student is studying in a State Board school he has to face more problems than that of the student studying in a CBSE board school because other exams are basically on the syllabus of CBSE. It can be seen that this promotes the inequality between the standards of education provided to the youth of India. Even the official language of teaching also gets changed as per the different boards of the state. The main question of law which was in the plea was that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to students, as the syllabus and language get changed in entrance exams, and the pattern of CBSE id being followed in those exams.

Also based on Article 21A which was added by the 86th amendment this PIL was filled and it was stated that the education which was provided in other boards is below the standards of CBSE and violation of Fundamental Rights of children which were article 21A was there. The PIL prayed for the establishment of a national education council that can implement the proposed system of one board one education.

Critical Analysis

The issue regarding making one national education board is not for the first time raise in our country in 2017 a teacher of primary school and wife of Ashwini Kumar has also filled the same PIL about this issue. But that PIL was dismissed by the court stating that it is not the duty of the court merging of education boards and students will be burdened by the addition of more subjects. In case of State of Tamil Nadu and Ors  v. K. Shyam Sunder and Ors [6]the Supreme Court stated the separate education boards are unequal and violate the doctrine of equality, but in the year 2020 the court seemed to follow the 2017 judgment and again the plea was dismissed. The court clearly stated the petitioner to approach the appropriate authorities that are governed with this prayer.

As per the issues which were raised the idea of “One Nation, One Education Board”, basically focus on the idea of a Uniform Civil Code which has been stated under Article 44 DPSP [7]of the constitution which clearly states that the state shall endeavor to establish a Uniform Civil Code which applies to all Indian citizens.  The education board should have made this earlier so that there will no socio-economic inequalities in the country and everyone would have an equal level of education. If this system was implemented earlier every school would have followed the same system.

But there is a certain negative part of these issues as we know education is present in the Concurrent list, which means that both state and union have power in this respect but by implementing the one national board it will take the right of the state. Even the CBSE board charges more money than the state board. If every school will start this system it will affect the fee system and also the burden will also increase on students which leads to drop out of the school. Even the teachers might lose their jobs which were there on other boards and this will only pressure students and parents who are not coming from the well-off families who cannot afford fees.

Conclusion

The idea of ‘One Nation, One Education board’ contains a lot of drawbacks although this idea is good. This system likely to cause problems regarding fees, jobs, and most importantly the burden on students will be increased more. The court also rejected the plea and stated the government will look into it. If the government wanted to achieve it there must be some concrete plan regarding it so that it can be achieved. Although, this will take time a uniform civil code should also be there in education so that no student will face any difficulty regarding it.

References

  1. https://www.hindustantimes.com/education/one-nation-one-board-plea-in-sc-seeks-common-syllabus-for-cbse-icse-students/story-LxNGYc4KLjgRMa9ka1ARlO.html
  2. https://www.theasianschool.net/blog/importance-of-education/
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260075970_The_Importance_of_Education
  4. https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/216754/8/08_chapter%20one.pdf

[1] Quote of Mahatma Gandhi Ji

[2] 1992 AIR 1858

[3] 1993 SCC (1) 645

[4] 1991 SCALE (1)187 ACT

[5] Article 21 A of The Constitution of India 1950

[6] 2011 8 SCC 737

[7] Article 44 of The Constitution of India 1950

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