The Draft New Education Policy (DNEP or NEP) in the present form will ensure the centralization, commercialization and communalization of the Indian education system and structures, says Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M). "Instead of arriving at a balance between Quantity, Quality and Equity in the education system", the organisation said the policy "is promoting a more elitist and pro-corporate thrust". While sending the left party's observations to the Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD), it said the policy in its present form is not acceptable and wide consultations are required to arrive at a policy which is suitable for our condition.
"While the DNEP pays more importance to Higher Education and Research than has hitherto been given, it builds castles in the air instead of assessing the impact of growing commercialisation and privatisation at this level of education," the organisation said.
The party observation the policy 'has virtually robbed the states of their pre-eminence and given overarching powers to the Centre' as the 'most disconcerting feature of the DNEP is its failure to recognise the clear Constitutional delegation of equal authority to the states and the Centre, on education'.
CPI(M) said the policy has not assessed the impact and shortcomings of the National Literacy Mission (NLM). "As a result", it said, "literacy goals are not matched by a realistic and sustainable roadmap that can be implemented to ensure that literacy levels are raised across social groups, classes and communities".
Major observations by CPI(M) on Draft New Education Policy
- Three-Language Formula at the Primary level is lop-sided, impractical and overburdens students.
- The DNEP has failed to account for the policy shortcomings that have led to the decline in Science Education.
- The DNEP does not address the hostile attacks on Scientific Temper.
- The DNEP does not enquire into the causes for the failure of government-run schools.
- 'School Rationalisation' threatens local access for the underprivileged.
- Welcoming Multiplicity is a wrong step as it defeats the "Equal Outcomes" objective of the National Curricular Framework and encourages teaching shops.
- National Tutor Programme (NTP) and Remedial Instructional Aides Programme (RIAP) are dismissive of quality parameters in teaching.
- Dilution of Board Examinations and replacement with NTA-conducted tests adds to the academic burden on students and encourages commercialisation.
- Value Education invokes selective ideas and is not in consonance with a modern, democratic and secular outlook.
- The principle of universal access is missing from the DNEP.
- The DNEP does not acknowledge the Rights of persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which has various provisions for children and adolescents with disabilities.
- With the centralised Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA), led by the Prime Minister, the prerogatives of federal agencies like state and local governments will have to remain subordinate to the Centre's will or, at best, are likely to be accommodated in token fashion.
- Though the policy acknowledges the need for substantial increase in public spending and coordinated efforts to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) to 50% by 2035, it ignores the crises precipitated by successive governments who have chosen to commit to liberalise Higher Education as a tradable service to WTO-GATS and other multilateral trade treaties.
- The DNEP is silent on representation of teachers and students in institutional governance.
- No clarity on challenges facing Access, Equity and Social Justice in Higher Education.
- Three-tier Institutional Setup ignores diversity of learning needs and local priorities, while also encouraging wastage of resources.
- The proposal to do away with democratic composition is not only at variance with the larger democratic principle of authority in public institutions, but also weakens the voice of the academic community in considerable ways.
- Inadequate understanding of the practical implications of the Liberal Arts approach has led to the proposal for an over-ambitious and impractical programme that will promote inequity.
- DNEP fallaciously advocates over-reliance on ICT and Digital Online Learning.
- DNEP recommendations on Recruitment and Service Conditions of faculty and non-teaching employees will have a disastrous impact on talent and morale.
- The National Research Foundation (NRF) is another centralised, top-down model of administering research initiative in Higher Education that is fraught with many ills.
- The policy fails to recognize that gender is not just a women and girls' issue, it also pertains to boys, men, and the LGBT community and the inherent discrimination both in policy and implementation.
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