Andre Beteille walks away from edu panel as Raju begins recast

AS

Andre Beteille, one of India's most celebrated sociologists, has dissociated himself from the proposed Second Education Commission which he was to head.

HRD Minister Pallam Raju's attempt at recasting the commission, with new terms of reference and possibly some new members, is said to have prompted Professor Beteille's exit, sources said.

The commission, proposed by Raju's predecessor Kapil Sibal to formulate a new education policy in line with the massive changes in the field, has been in the works since mid-2012. Sibal had, in consultation with Beteille, chosen the members of the commission, and the final proposal was waiting only for the Prime Minister's clearance when Sibal was moved out of HRD in October 2012.

The proposal, which was left in the lurch, has of late seen some interest. However, Raju wants to start all over again, reformulating the commission's terms of reference and reconsidering its composition and membership, sources said.

When contacted, Beteille said he had nothing to do with the commission. "I have no idea at all about the Education Commission and what is being done about it. The government is too busy ahead of 2014 and rightly so. I am not associated with any such commission," he told The Indian Express.

Asked if his disinterest was connected to the change of guard at the ministry, Beteille said he had no idea whether the new minister wanted to set up the panel or add members to it. For him, it was a "dead duck" issue, Beteille said.

A top HRD ministry official said: "There is still no finality about the nature, terms of reference or members of the commission. We are not even certain whether Prof Beteille will want to head it or not."

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