Karnataka Education Minister and Controversies Surrounding Education Policies

Education Minister of Karnataka – Madhu Bangarappa

Karnataka has a number of educational welfare programmes for tribal students. These include nursery and women welfare centres, Asharm schools, residential tribal hostels, etc.

BC Nagesh is the Education Minister of Karnataka, a southern Indian state. He was responsible for enforcing the hijab ban in government pre-university colleges and has been accused of saffronising textbooks.

BC Nagesh

Known for being the face of Karnataka’s Hijab ban, Nagesh is also the minister who sparked textbook controversy. In a 2021 order, Nagesh said that students following their religious tenents cannot be allowed to wear their scarf in college. This sparked protests across the state with some women and girls going to court to exercise their right to wear hijab.

Nagesh hails from the Brahmin community and is a two-time MLA from Tiptur (Tumakuru district). He has been associated with the ABVP since his student days. He is close to BJP national general secretary BL Santosh and is known for his hardline Hindutva views.

Nagesh is one of the BJP’s key candidates in the upcoming Karnataka election. He will be contesting from Tiptur against Congress candidate K Shadakshari. Nagesh is a well-known face of BJP, who has ventured into activism as a student leader and is a strong votary of the RSS. He was a part of the ABVP during his time at BMS college in Bengaluru.

Madhu Bangarappa

Madhu Bangarappa is the son of former Chief Minister late S Bangarappa. He is an actor, producer and politician who represents the Sorab constituency in the Karnataka State Legislative Assembly as an INC candidate since 2021 after joining Congress from Janata Dal (Secular). He is currently fighting a battle with his brother Kumar Bangarappa over their father’s political legacy.

He was sworn in as the Education Minister on Saturday. He has also produced Kannada feature films like Belliyappa Bangarappa, which was a blockbuster hit. He has three sisters and his elder brother Kumar Bangarappa is an actor and producer as well.

He was sworn in along with other new ministers, including H K Patil, Krishna Byre Gowda, N Cheluvarayaswamy, K Venkatesh, Dr HC Mahadevappa, Eshwar Khandre and Dinesh Gundu Rao. This expansion took the Congress government’s cabinet to full strength. It now has 34 members, including eight Lingayats, five Vokkaligas and seven from Scheduled Castes.

National Education Policy (NEP)

The government of Karnataka has decided to not follow the national education policy that was made by the previous BJP regime. They believe that the policy will not suit a state like India that has different cultures and languages. They will instead make their own education policy that fits the needs of the state.

The new education policy will include three years of pre-schooling (Anganwadi) in the school curriculum. It will also replace the 10+2 model with a 5+3+3+4 model based on age brackets of 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years.

The chief minister reportedly held meetings with important people in education to discuss this issue. Deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar and higher education minister MC Sudhakar were present at the meeting. The CM has said that if all states have the same education system, then Karnataka will be left behind and students won’t want to come here for their education. This is why he wants to make his own education policy that fits the state’s needs.

Textbook Review Controversy

The state education minister has indicated that the new government will revise textbooks, keeping in mind the interests of students. The minister has said that experts will be consulted to determine the relevance of content for students, and unnecessary portions will be omitted. He has also stressed that teachers will be provided with specific guidance on what to teach, and how.

The move comes amid controversies over the previous regime’s alleged saffronising of textbooks, including demands for removal of chapters on RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar and omissions of key figures in history and literature. The BJP’s national general secretary, CT Ravi, has criticised the revision process, calling it an act of intolerance.

The governing Congress party has promised to reverse the changes made by the previous BJP government and scrap NEP. It has not yet given a clear timeline for the process, but has indicated that it will be completed by the end of 2021.

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