NEP 2020: Student, Teacher Bodies Call The New Education Policy ‘Anti-democratic’
Criticizing the new education policy, student bodies said that the policy encouraged “radical privatization” and ‘informalization’ of education.
In response to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that received the Union Cabinet nod on Wednesday, student and teachers’ bodies have released statements terming the new education policy as ‘anti-democratic’.
The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) has said the NEP will “dismember” universities by transferring the power over to a board of governors. Student bodies such as the Student Federation of India (SFI) said that the policy has a “centralized nature'' and encouraged “radical privatization” while the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) has said that the policy advocates ‘informalization’ of education. The Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) has called the policy "anti-federal, anti-constitutional and a licence to commercialise education in India".
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the NEP 2020, five years after the first committee to draft it was constituted.The NEP 2020, will replace the last one framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. The policy brings in major changes in the governance and academic structure of school and higher education.
DUTA has criticized the concentration of powers within a board of governors in universities.
DUTA, in a statement, said: “The DUTA's opposition to the draft NEP rested, among other things, on its proposal to dismember universities and handover every higher educational institution to a Board of Governors, which is to enjoy all powers hitherto vested in the governing authorities of colleges and universities as well as the UGC and other regulating bodies.”
DUTA also asked the government to refrain from “bulldozing changes” which will have “grave consequences” for the country. The teachers also criticized “the feedback system” where opinions are “sought” but “not debated” and have asked the government to engage in a dialogue with academia.
SFI criticized the government’s passing of NEP without “extensive discussion” despite protests against the policy.
SFI, in its statement, said: Massive protests and criticism from across the country had erupted over the draft of the new education policy. The anti-democratic nature of its content, its centralized nature and its recommendations for radical privatization were all questioned.”
“People from various walks of life demanded that such an education policy not be implemented and that more extensive discussions and consultations be held. Ignoring all that, the Union Cabinet has taken advantage of an extraordinary situation and passed the new education policy,” SFI added.
KYS said that the government is pushing for “informalization” of education instead of bringing more children into the public system.
KYS, in its statement. said: “Instead of tackling the real issues such as the number of government schools, the quality of teaching in such schools and the strategy of central government to bring more children into formal mode education by earmarking more funds for public-funded education, the new NEP among other retrograde measures openly advocates informalization of education both at secondary and higher levels.”
SIO, in its statement, said: "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,"
It also said that the creation of “centralized” bodies proposed in the policy is “against the federal structure of the consitution as education comes under the ambit of both the central and state governments.
All three bodies also alleged that the government of using the COVID-19 pandemic “to push their [ government’s] agenda”.