January 2016 \ Cover Story \ Political Interview
"There is increased cooperation between Centre and States on education"

Interview wirh Ms Smriti Irani Union Minister for Human Resource Development

 Interview wirh Ms Smriti Irani Union Minister for Human Resource Development

The transition from a highly successful and acclaimed career in television into the hustle and bustle of India’s confrontational politics has been a fairly smooth one for Ms Smriti Irani, the youngest Cabinet Minister for HRD the country’s had. Ms Irani is now tasked to find solutions to one of India’s biggest challenges—educating a very large and ambitious young population, and ensuring that quality is not relegated to the back seat. Even the adult illiterate cannot be ignored. Having contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Gandhi-stronghold of Amethi, Ms Irani says that the constituency’s fabled tales of development were nothing but a mirage in a desert of hopelessness. Known for strong work ethics, she’s already made a mark by ensuring that all Government schools across India now have separate toilet blocks for girls, a first in Indian history. She spoke to India Empire’s Editor Sayantan Chakravarty at her office

I am going to start by asking you a difficult question. Which is more important going forward—school education or higher education?

I think there has to be an amalgamation of efforts between the two. If you address both the departments in silos then you do a great disservice to education. I think that is what has been happening for a very long time in our Ministry. The ecosystem was developed such that there was no bridge in terms of communication between the two. Whatever you do in school education has a huge impact on higher education and vice-versa. Hence, to disintegrate these aspects of education and not look at it holistically is not advisable.