NEP 2019 lacks perspective to build egalitarian society: SIO

The draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 lacks the perspective to build an egalitarian society based on the constitutional values, said Telangana chapter of Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO).

While addressing media at Somajiguda Press Club in Hyderabad, SIO state secretary Sohaid Ahmed Khan said that the process in which the draft was evolved is highly undemocratic, exclusionary and arbitrary.

SIO Telangana released its report ‘New Education Policy – Analysis and Recommendations’ on Monday.

The report was prepared by SIO in collaboration with Centre for Educational Research and Training (CERT), New Delhi, the secretary informed.

Explaining the contents of the report, which has a foreword written by Dr. Niranjanaradhya V P, Senior Fellow at National Law School of India University, Bangalore, Khan questioned the rationale of the government in delaying the release of NEP draft by almost six months as the draft was signed by the Chairperson and committee members on 15th December 2018 but it was released on 31st May 2019.

“It only shows that the government was looking to avoid discussing the draft in Parliament” he said.

“When the government wishes to avoid discussing why use the word evolving policy, instead directly announce the finalised NEP,” he noted.

He expressed the following views in press note released to media:

Even though the government claims to have held the process in a bottom up approach and in an inclusive manner, but a mere glance at the process rebuffs the government’s claims.

Of the 217 eminent persons with whom the committe interacted, all of them belonged to only three metro cities viz., Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi. It is unbelievable that committe didn’t find even a single eminent person from the rest of the country.

Education is a matter which concerns the metroes and villages alike. Confining the exercise to just three cities and neglecting the rest of the country is not at all acceptable. An inclusive policy must have been drafted on the basis of inputs from every corner of the country, from varied backgrounds and varied schools of thoughts.

The NEP 2019 damages the safeguards provided by the RTE Act 2009 to the under privileged sections of the society.

The proposal of Private – Philanthropic Institutions, even though in good intention, is a step with dangerous consequences. Not only it damages the safeguards provided by RTE Act it is a policy towards privatisation and commercialisation of education, releasing the government of its obligation to provide free and quality education to all of its citizens.

The policy backup being provided to the private institutions, indirectly, will result in furthering the accessibility, social exclusion of the students.

At a time when the country is already reeling under the burden of high cost of education, this decision will further aggravate the situation.

The policy has been prepared without considering the social stratification and inequalities in Indian society.

The differences between various sections of the society, and the means to equalise them have been neglected in the policy. As the saying goes, to equate unequals is to perpetualize inequality.

The problems and concerns of the vulnerable and marginalised communities should have been taken into consideration.

The policy is a guise to further the saffronisation of education by using the multi faceted term ‘Rich Indian Heritage’.

The term has been used multiple times in the draft whereas the term ‘secularism’ has been conspicuously missed in the listed constitutional values.

In the recent past where there have been attempts by the government to re-write the histor and to erase the chapters on caste history and struggles, this term is sure to set the alarm bells ringing. The government might extensively use this policy backup to further the hindutva and saffronisation agenda. Even though the constitutional value of Secularism was included in the previous policies, it has been omitted in the current one, sure enough to raise doubts over the government’s intentions.

The draft NEP dilutes the constitutional spirit of federalism between Centre and States by centralising the various aspects of education in the country, even though education finds its place in the concurrent list. The proposal that all the agencies and machineries of education must report to Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog, which is headed by the Prime Minister himself, which hampers the spirit of federalism by targeting an issue even though which happens to be on the concurrent list. In this manner the efforts of the local and indigenous communities to remain alive in the curriculum shall be silenced. The varied and multi cultural canvas of the country is being planned to be painted in a single colour.

The draft NEP considers education in terms of measurable outcomes, instead of its humanistic approach. This approach fills the minds with economic considerations, putting the values and morals aside.

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