Pathshalas Seek Exemption From Education Act

NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 31, 2010: Some of Hinduism’s most revered institutions are seeking exemption for traditional Sanskrit schools called Veda Pathshalas from the Right to Education (RTE) Act, arguing that the law could kill the ancient practice of orally rendering texts.

On Tuesday, a delegation of representatives of the Vedic Schools will meet HRD minister Kapil Sibal demanding that since these institutions impart learning — be it mathematics or any other subject — as explained in the Vedas, it will be difficult to follow provisions of the RTE Act.

“The RTE Act has very lofty and admirable aims. But the law in its current form could sound the death knell for the pathshalas – and with them, for one of Hinduism’s oldest practices,” said N. Rama Sharma, executive trustee of the Chennai-based Veda Rakshana Nidhi Trust. The Trust conducts examinations for about 150 pathshalas across south India.

The concerns of India’s 1,000-plus veda pathshalas are two-fold. They say they cannot be expected to meet norms on infrastructure, teacher-student ratio and other parameters mandatory for schools to be recognized under the Act. The pathshalas are also concerned exemption might prevent parents from sending their children to the religious schools. “We want exemption but also need recognition,” Sharma said.


Leave a Reply