Derek O’Brien’s supplementary question on missionary schools

Sir, before I ask my question, I want to use this opportunity to congratulate the Minister as this is the first time he is here representing his new ministry. Now I’ll ask the question.

Sir, there are two points. This is a draft education policy, and here in the answer it is also given that these are some inputs; so I’m quite sure the Minister will seek other inputs.

The concerns are two and I want the Minister today to clarify once and for all these two concerns and set the matter to rest. It is common knowledge that education is number twenty-five on the concurrent list. So will the Minister assure this House, even though there have been 2 lakh 50 thousand meetings held, as my colleague said, that the States’ powers, at no point, will be interfered with? As I say this, Sir, there are over 12,000 Christian missionary schools in this country who are very concerned. These Christian missionary schools do not teach only Christians. They teach Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, everyone in short. So many of us have been to missionary schools. They are not Christian missionary schools, they are secular missionary schools run by Christian missionaries.

The issue here is, I would like the minister to put all doubts to rest and to say that he will take everybody along in the general sense. I don’t want to get into specifics now, but this is a concern for so many of us who, from different religions, have passed out of these schools. And some of the schools are not only run by Christian missionaries; they are run by missionaries of other minority communities including the great work done by the Ramakrishna Mission.

Thank you, Sir.