The revised draft of New Education Policy (NEP), accepted by the union cabinet on Wednesday, is anti-federal, anti-constitutional and a licence to commercialise education in India, Labeed Shafi, National President of SIO said.
In a statement, issued on Wednesday, the organisation said that it had submitted a detailed set of recommendations to the ministry of human resources development (MHRD) concerning a wide-ranging set of issues, including saffronisation, centralisation and commercialisation of education through NEP 2019. However, most of these important suggestions have been ignored by the government, as is evident by the revised version of the policy, Shafi said.
Shafi said that the policy takes a deeply contradictory approach towards the increasing commercialization of education in India. “While the draft attests the ‘public good’ nature of education, it does so while positing a commercialised form of education. It fails to redact many of the existing measures which have led to commercialisation, while actively proposing a market model of education in the policy,” Shafi added.
The organisation believes that the draft policy opens the gates for the saffronisation of education by alluding exclusively to ‘study of Sanskrit and knowledge of its extensive literature’, whilst deliberately ignoring the glorious multicultural and plural tapestry that makes up India, its people and their history. “It is truly abominable the way the draft policy has flouted and replaced the constitutional values of liberty, equality and pluralism by ignoring the contributions of minority scholars, their knowledge production and culture. Over-emphasis or imposition of any one language is against the constitution and the federal spirit of the Indian union,” Shafi asserted.
The student organisation has also argued that the creation of centralised bodies under the policy such as Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA), National Testing Agency (NTA) and National Research Foundation (NRF) under one command is against the federal structure of the Indian Union and the Constitution, as education is both a State and Union subject. Such over-empowered centralised bodies will inevitably fall prey to the political expediency of ruling parties, Shafi said.
While the policy pays lip service to the ideals of equity and inclusion, it fails to put in place any concrete measures for ensuring adequate representation for marginalised sections of the society as it lacks an unambiguous commitment to the policy of reservation. The policymakers also completely ignored the demands to extend reservation to all private higher educational institutes including premier institutes such as IITs, IIMs and central universities, Shafi added.