New Delhi: HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday took on the states for blaming the Centre for all ills plaguing Education, asking them to play a more "proactive" role since the responsibility in this sector laid "squarely on their shoulders".

Sibal said any decision taken by the Central Government for overall development of education in the country is perceived as an attack on the federal structure.

"This is the tragedy of the country... we all blame the Central Government for everything. If a child does not go to school, the Minister and the Centre must respond. This is not the job of the Central Government.

If we try and set standards and request the boards to apply those standards, then they say, it is an attack on federal structure," he lamented.

Seeking a more "proactive" role from states as the delivery mechanism ultimately lay with them, Sibal said they must realise that responsibility of education lay "squarely on their shoulders".

At the same time, he felt, the "federal structure should be far more cohesive".

Voicing optimism that there would be a marked improvement in quality of education in the coming eight years before 2020, he said "much of that depends on the level of commitment that we will see from the state governments".

Sibal regretted that states are also not prepared to accept policy issues showing little efforts to abolish class X boards despite the best of intentions of the Centre.

"It’s very difficult to convince the states... they have not abolished class X board till date and they are not onboard on many of the issues," he said at a function here.