The Centre on Sunday named educationist JS Rajput as India’s representative on the executive board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Rajput is a former director of National Council for Educational Research and Training.
In November 2017, member nations had elected India as one of the members of the executive board for a four-year tenure. India announced its representative days before the executive board meets in Paris on April 4-17.
In 1999, the then Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had appointed Rajput as the director of the National Council for Educational Research and Training, an autonomous government body that publishes textbooks for Indian schools. During his five-year tenure, he was often accused of influencing history textbook content by trying to portray a skewed version of history.
Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javadekar “actively mobilised support” from other countries for Rajput’s nomination during a UNESCO conference in November 2017, the government said on Sunday.
“Being a member of the board enables us in principle to play a role in shaping and reviewing UNESCO’s policies and programmes corresponding to its five major programs on education – the natural science, the social and human sciences, culture and communication and information,” the government release said.
Rajput was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014. An inquiry committee formed by the government that succeeded the BJP-led government in 2004 had indicted him for “nepotism, irregular appointments, favouritism... and [an] authoritarian style of administration”. The panel said Rajput had caused “avoidable embarrassment to the ministry and NCERT” by reprinting old history textbooks of Class 10 despite warnings of errors in them.