Shri Anil Bordia, an eminent educationist and former Education Secretary of Government of India, the instigator of FED, headed the educational administration in the state of Rajasthan from 1964 to 1968. He joined the Ministry of Education as Joint Secretary in 1974 and in 1977 was appointed to the position of Director-General of the National Adult Education Programme. Shri Bordia taught at IIEP, Paris between 1980 and 1982. He was recalled to the central Ministry of Education in 1985 as Additional Secretary with the responsibility for preparing the National Policy on Education. Along with the then Minister of Human Resource Development, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao and Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Shri Bordia worked for securing a national consensus on policy issues and was able to obtain Parliament’s endorsement of the policy in May 1986. Between 1987 and 1992 he served as Union Education Secretary and got the opportunity to implement the new education policy. During his tenure as Education Secretary, a clear shift of priority was made to basic education.
Shri Bordia was responsible for initiating primary education projects for the states of Bihar and Rajasthan. His pioneering project was called Lok Jumbish, which means “Peoples Movement for Education”. This project was started by him in 1992 immediately after his retirement from government and he remained its chair till 1999. Lok Jumbish has come to be recognized as an exceptionally innovative and successful project for primary education renewal in Rajasthan. In 2001 he started another innovative project, called Doosra Dashak (literally, the second decade), which aimed at holistic education and development of adolescents in the 11-20 age group. For the next 11 years he was instrumental in successfully implementing the Doosra Dashak model of holistic education in the remotest rural areas of Rajasthan, bringing thousands of marginalized adolescents into the mainstream of education and social life. The pioneering work done by Doosra Dashak has inspired many organizations from other states also such as: Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to take up similar work in their respective areas as well.
All through his illustrious life, Shri Anil Bordia has played a significant role in international education, particularly in UNESCO activities. He was the Vice-Chair of UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg from 1976 to 1982 and Chairman of the International Bureau of Education, Geneva, from 1990 to 1992. He was one of the planners and leaders of the Jomtien Conference on Education for All held in March 1990 where his influence was extremely important in securing universal commitment to EFA. He also made a significant contribution at the Dakar Conference, April 2000.
For his innovations and excellence in the sphere of Education, he was elected Fellow of ACIED, Bangkok in 1996 and in 1999 UNESCO awarded to him the prestigious Avicenna Gold Medal for Exceptional Contribution to Educational Development.
In the year 2010, Shri Bordia was conferred the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award by the President of India on the occasion of Republic Day. The citation published on that occasion by Government of India stated that this Award was in recognition of his lifelong service to the cause of Education. In February 2010, Shri Bordia was also awarded the Mahatma Gandhi medal by UNESCO, for his outstanding contribution in the field of education and rural development.
Shri Bordia played a critical role in the formulation of the National Education Policy and was the Chairperson of the Sub-group on Elementary Education in the formulation of the 12th Five Year Plan. He also presided as the Chairperson of the Committee for the implementation of Right to Education.