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New Education Policy 2016- A Round Table Review Meet

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Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), Telangana Zone organised a Round Table Review Meet of New Education Policy 2016 at its state office at Lakkadkot, Chatta Bazar,Hyderabad on 29th July 2016.

People from various backgrounds attended the meet and discussed the New Education Policy Draft (NEP 2016). Below are the brief  points discussed by all speakers at the event.

Touseef Madikeri, National Secretary, Education at SIO of India, New Delhi:

SIO has submitted a 43-page report on New Education Policy to various stakeholders of education including MHRD Government of India, during the last year. Madikeri apprehended that the NEP draft poses a great threat to the school education of weaker sections of the society as it suggests the No Detention Policy (NDP) limited to Class V from Class VIII. The current NDP assures no failed student should be detained until Class VIII and helps the disadvantaged students get enough chance to excel in education from which they were historically abandoned. Moreover with a fractured Education system at hand that doesn’t provide any real methodologies for teaching, it would be injustice to fail a student in primary school, especially unacceptable in the case of a disadvantaged kid. In fact NDP was supposed to be aggravated with Continuous & Comprehensive System (CCE), which the system happened to fail miserably.

The report by SIO demands the production of educational content in the indigenous Indian languages which the committee failed to mention in its more than 200 pages draft. As the primary source of learning and perceiving things happens innately in one’s mother language and India with its vernacular linguistic background cannot afford to not have the study material in all those important languages. SIO’s Karnataka Zone conducted a research study in this regard and released a book titled “Learning in Mother Language

The NEP draft also proposed to merge the schools that are dysfunctional to make way for cost effective management and provide more and more teachers. It is appalling to know that instead of recommending and working for a realistic approach to solve these problems the draft cynically suggests merging the schools. In other words closing down some of the schools!!

We must take note that about one &  half lakh government schools have already been closed till date. The alarming rate of diminishing government schools is a matter of concern for a common man who cannot afford to spend lakhs in private sector education. While there are 75% government primary schools only 43% are secondary schools and 42% Eleventh & Twelfth schools. SIO believes lack of political will is to be blamed for the alarming condition of government schools.

SIO criticizes the Common National Curriculum that has been imposed in the case of important subjects like Science, Mathematics & English. This  would not be much of help for the state board students.

Madikeri said that the organisation feels the threat of discrimination in education will further be strengthened based on the suggestion by NEP draft that class X exams should be broken into two levels. According to this suggestion, the level 1 encompasses Mathematics, English & Science and level 2 failed to include non-science subjects but skill based vocational subjects. SIO clearly rejects this recommendation and believes that it is against fundamental constitutional right of Right to Education.

SIO mourns over the fact that the NEP draft has completely sidelined National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005). It believes that NCF provides the holistic approach to solve the problems in education.

The recommendation of ban on students’ politics is seen as a vicious attempt to curb Dalit and caste-based political struggle.

We must take note that about one &  half lakh government schools have already been closed till date. The alarming rate of diminishing government schools is a matter of concern for a common man who cannot afford to spend lakhs in private sector education.

Without an iota of hesitation SIO feels that the NEP draft is a non visionary document. Although the public expenditure on education was 9. 6% of GDP in 1966, the draft cunningly points out the failure of previous governments and banks onto the same turf of 6% GDP on education without  working out for a realistic approach to spend the allotted money!

One of the few good recommendations this draft has is to increase the fellowship in Higher education. For the first time Medical education is included in the NEP draft and the recommendation of one medical college in each district is commendable.13879271_275043296203897_789142896320916918_n

SIO feels there is no measure to curb commercialisation of education and no mention of the 14.4% population of India (Muslims) in the NEP draft which confirms the lack of political will in solving the problems faced by a considerable population of the country.

The falling rate of students up the ladder is evident from the statistics that out of 77 Crore children studying in Primary Schools, only 25 Crore make it to the Higher Education!

Moreover the whopping vacancy of around 9 lakh teachers itself proves the lack of political will in solving the problems faced by public sector education.

M Venkat Reddy, National Convener, NGO working against Bal Mazdoor, Hyderabad:

Venkat criticized the fundamental fallacy in the public surveys conducted with regard to education that the statistics are collected from school, while there is a huge percentage of children not attending the schools. Thereby a sizeable proportion of dropout children go unnoticed. A example was observed in Telangana State whereby, according to the govt. out of 67 lakh students only 23,000 children are out of school. However the actual number appears to be around 10 lakhs. Venkat urged SIO to work on such data.

He briefed about how the statistics about school-going children are exaggerated and the factors like corruption of hearts as the reason for such a bizarre condition of public sector.  As Non-detention policy has been in place from 1969 in Telangana State the proposed Detention Policy by the draft is anti-Dalit, anti-poor, anti-minority and in fact anti-child itself. The recent Child Labour Amendment Bill approved in Parliament and the Detention policy is a tactic to create cheap labour. School education must be regulated to fight the commercialisation of education especially at a time when Telephone companies and even Higher education are regulated, why not regulate the school education?!

The ideal recommendation would be to have a Common school system as recommended by the Kothari Commission. Moreover we need as many as possible free schools to impart the education to whole society irrespective of caste and creed.

Mr. Ravi Chander, President, Residential teachers association, Hyderabad:

Mr. Ravi put up a sorry state of affairs with regard to minority students that many of them are not interested to go to school. He criticised the recommendation by draft to found separate Tribal, Dalit and BC schools and instead demanded the Common Schooling System to be implemented. Ravi Chander accuses the draft committee of lack of seriousness as the consultation with all stakeholders of education was a nominal and non-serious exercise. He concluded that this draft on NEP is not but an attempt to saffronise and privatise the education.

K Laxminarayana, Faculty, University of Hyderabad:

Laxminarayana vehemently opposed the draft and asked if the vision of the NEP is to establish a Hindu communal, casteist and a corporate state.  He also admitted that Communists have not taken adequate measures in past to upright the education.

NEP draft with its narrow outlook on history of education in India poses a great danger to independent inquiry and learning. It promulgates nothing but the malicious Vedic system which denied the right to education & dignity to a majority of this country. It talks about the Great Nalanda university founded during 400 BC but fails to name that it were Buddhists who founded it. Moreover this was an example of Education for all struggle started by Buddha.

Although pre-primary education is much emphasized but no pragmatic measures have been recommended to improve the plight of current schools. The recommendation to merge the Anganwadis with the schools is the quintessential example of non professional attitude from the policy makers. At times when the draft NEP mentions problems it fails to provide any solution.

For example, it throws an obnoxious tantrum upon the previous government’s’ historical failure in spending 6% of GDP on education but doesn’t recommend any pragmatic measure as to how the current regime should ensure that the money would be spent appropriately. The welcome step of creating Indian Education Services (IES) which was initially recommended by Kothari Commission is not out of all danger, as there’s lot of impeachment by government in the education system.

NEP draft with its narrow outlook on history of education in India poses a great danger to independent inquiry and learning. It promulgates nothing but the malicious Vedic system which denied the right to education & dignity to a majority of this country.

Irony is that the draft confines education to skill and so in guise of producing the workforce for local and multinational corporate it puts at stake the future of whopping majority of the country. Post 2014 regime change at the centre around 17 lakh people have been trained under skill development, of which only 80,000 people have managed to find some job!

Anwar Khan – AIITA, State president

Anwar Khan stressed on the usage of the word “Secularism” in the NEP especially when it is a fact that this regime has opposed the same word prior to general elections 2014. He asked the common people to raise voice against the draft NEP for it is against the fundamentals upon which Indian constitution has been laid. He urged Muslims to contribute to the education system in whatever way possible citing the instance of Usman Seth and Fatima Sheikh who helped Jyotirao Phule found the first school for women in India in the 19th Century.

Abdul Rahman Dawudi, Education Secretary, Jamat-e-Islami TS

A.R. Dawudi questioned the minimum duration within which the draft NEP committee functioned. It is unimpressive to know that the committee spent less than a year to draft the New Education Policy against. It seemed the committee exemplified non democratic behaviour. There is no testimony whatsoever with regard to the recommendations the draft has put in.

Abdul Malik Shariq, Zonal President, SIO TS

A.M Shariq said that the present government is a combination of capitalists and communalists. The education policy emanates out of philosophy of education. He urged SIO cadres to understand and educate one and all about the myriad of issues concerning the society. He further clarified although the left rejects Public Private Partnership (PPP) we ask for its regulation.

Enlisting the endeavours SIO has put up all through the years for implementation of the education policy particularly in Telangana State, he asked one and all to contribute to the organisation’s work.  He also announced that a book on Education in Telangana Assembly and a documentary on Student-Teacher ratio across the state are in pipeline.

Event was attended by many students and social activists along with the academics.

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