With Arjun Singh's trademark talisman, 'Ram kaj kinho bina, mohu kahan vishram (where do I have rest without doing my job),' no longer onthe wall to inspire new HRD minister Kapil Sibal, he got down to business immediately calling for files relating to the Right to Education and Foreign Education Providers Bill. While taking over on Friday, Sibal put these two issues among his priorities. Sibal has been closely connected with the two issues since UPA's first term. As science & technology minister, Sibal had headed the committee of Central Advisory Board of Education that gave its first draft on the Right to Education Bill.
Similarly, he was asked to prepare Foreign Education Providers Bill but it could not be taken up due to stiff resistance from the Left. The bill seeks to regulate admission and fee of foreign educational institutions setting up their campuses in India. Sibal and Arjun Singh were not perceived to be on the same page on some crucial issues. However, on the first day in office, Sibal weighed his words carefully and even paid respect to his predecessor. He said, 'Whatever policy has been started or rules and regulations framed by the previous government will not be scrapped. I respect my predecessor, who is a respectable leader of the Congress.' Asked about the unfinished job of reservation in private educational institutions, something Arjun Singh seemed to be keen on, Sibal was non-committal . However, he opened up a bit on the National Knowledge Commission. 'NKC has been pivotal in creation of a knowledge economy and knowledge society. But not everything it says should be embraced,'' he said, adding that the ministry would look into its recommendations carefully. HRD ministry under Arjun Singh did not have a smooth equation with the NKC. Sibal said he would stress on synergy between quality and access. He also talked about education for all.