The Supreme Court on July 17 refused to entertain a plea for a uniform and common curriculum for school students between aged six and 14 across the country rather than have diverse ones such as the CBSE, the ICSE and State Boards, saying it was a “matter of policy” and the judiciary could not “command” the government.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, leading a three-judge Bench, declined the petition by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to set up a National Education Council/Commission and follow a “one-nation-one-board” system in which the ICSE is merged with the CBSE.
Mr. Upadhyay also urged a standard textbook with chapters on fundamental rights, duties, directive principles and the golden goals set out in the Preamble, and make its study compulsory for all the children aged 6-14 years throughout the territory of India.
On this, Justice Chandrachud asked the advocate to spare a thought for the plight of the school children, who were already burdened by their books and heavy bags.
“Our children are so burdened now with heavy bags on their shoulders... You want to add one more book to their bag & burden them more. Let us not burden our children any further,” Justice Chandrachud addressed Mr. Upadhyay orally.
“Presently each education board has its own syllabus and curriculum and entrance examinations are based on CBSE, so prevailing system doesn’t provide equal opportunity to all students,” the petition said.
“Uniform education system having common syllabus and common curriculum would achieve the code of a common culture, removal of disparity and depletion of discriminatory values in human relations. It would enhance virtues and improve the quality of life, elevate the thoughts, which advance constitutional philosophy of equal society,” the petition said.