New Delhi: Newly appointed Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, who has replaced Smriti Irani after her controversial two-year tenure, on Wednesday said education is not a subject for "party politics" and he was open to suggestions from everyone.
Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision to improve the quality of education and make it more meaningful, Javadekar said education should be seen as an "emancipator" and "agent of change" and he would come out with a roadmap after consultations with PM Modi and others including Irani.
"I will build upon the several good initiatives taken up by Smriti Irani," he said. "I accept this (new) responsibility humbly and I will talk to our earlier minister Murli Manohar Joshi," he said.
Joshi, a former BJP president who is now part of Margdarshak Mandal, has been critical of the Modi government. Irani's stint as Human Resources Development (HRD) Ministry was marked by controversies with the minister drawing flak over dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide in Hyderabad, JNU row and allegations of saffronisation of education.
Javadekar said education "is not a subject for party poltics" but it is an important issue and "we will have discussion on it with everyone."
Calling himself a product of student politics during the JP movement, the Minister said education was an "emancipator and agent of change" and it will play a big role in bringing changes in India in the 21st century. "Education gives meaning to life, it gives values to life. Therefore, to make education meaningful is the real challenge. Poor parents do a lot of hard work to educate their wards. So, to provide quality education is our aim and we will be able to do it," he told reporters, adding that he will formally take charge on Thursday.
The minister said the new education policy of India has to be "student-centric". "I want to assure all the teachers across the country that we all will chalk out the road map of India's new eductation policy and education has to be student-centric."
"I value everyone's opinion and at the same time we will have a larger discussion on it. My doors will be open for any suggestion," he said.
Javadekar, who was in charge of Environment and Forest Ministry and was the lone minister to be promoted to the Cabinet rank while 19 new inductees took oath as Ministers of State on Tuesday, said under Prime Minister Modi there is a lot of focus on education.
"I will take charge on Thursday and after getting a brief from the Prime Minister, we will decide the road map ahead." Javadekar said that his 92-year-old mother who stays with him was a primary school teacher herself and he "values" teachers' contribution to the society.
Javadekar said media too has a "huge role" in this area. Irani has been appointed as the new Textiles Minister.