Prakash Javadekar Named India’s New Education Minister

(Photo: Hindustan Times)

(Photo: Hindustan Times)

Improving education is India’s “biggest challenge,” according to the nation’s new Education minister Prakash Javadekar, who has replaced former Education Minister Smriti Irani. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi then moved Irani to the Textile Ministry while shuffling and adding a few other key figures in the cabinet.

Irani, who served as head of the India’s HRD (Human Resource Development) ministry for two years, saw several controversies including protests in Hyderabad University after the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. Her shift to Textiles is widely seen by the public as a demotion. Some guess that her replacement could be due to a key role the young minister plays in an important area of the country where elections will be held early next year.

Regardless, Irani maintained on her Twitter account that her focus for the past two years has been singular: to improve education in India for all students. In a Tweet, she vowed to strengthen India’s textile and apparel industry in her new assignment. She also thanked Prime Minister Modi for the opportunity to serve India.

New Education Minister Javadekar told reporters that he believes keeping an open dialogue is the key to avoiding the conflicts Irani dealt with within the government. Javadekar, a self-proclaimed “product of student agitation,” said that he believes in talking with everybody possible in order to avoid internal unrest. He said he did not believe education is a subject for party politics.

“Education is a national agenda and it touches every house and heart,” Javadekar said. “Poor parents do more exertion to give good education to their children because they know that education only can bring transformation and that’s what we want to achieve.”

While speaking to reporters, Javadekar said he was open to suggestions and commended Irani’s “good initiatives.” Javadekar took charge of the HRD Ministry on July 7.

According to an article by The News Minute, Prime Minister Modi is dedicated to creating quality education for all. In particular, the prime minister believes education should not be limited to a particular caste, creed or religion.

Javadekar told reporters that education in India needed some major changes, including raising the standard of education. He also cited specific changes to the new education policy, which is currently being developed by the HRD Ministry. Chiefly, he wants education in India to be more relevant and more “innovative.”

“Education provide meaning and value to life,” Javadekar said in an article by The News Minute. “Every parent work(s) hard to send their children to school. Their only desire is that the children should get quality education. Our job is to provide quality education and I’m hopeful that we will achieve it with the support of everyone.”

Javadekar and Irani were not the only ones to receive new assignments this week. Nineteen new ministers took oaths at Rashtrapati Bhawan on July 5, including the new minister to Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, the new minister to Youth Affairs and Sports, and a new minister of Finance. After inducting the new ministers, Prime Minister Modi’s council of ministers grew to 78 members.