Srinagar: As part of the countrywide holding of deliberations, discussions and raising of reservations on the new National Education Policy, a team of National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) of India and educationists visited Jammu and Kashmir.
The team discussed the situation with eminent educationists, academicians and stakeholders in the state prominent among them being Private Schools’ Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK).
“Both sides have raised their reservations on certain points in the NEP and agreed that if the policy is implemented in Toto in the country, it will lead to the destruction of the vibrant education sector, Jammu and Kashmir being no exception,” said the statement.
In today’s press conference, addressed by Dr Kulbubshan Sharma, President NISA, Thomas Antony, eminent educationist and G N Var, chairman PSAJK said that NEP is a voluminous document aimed to confuse a common person. An ideal policy document should be around 20 – 30 pages so that it is easily understood by common people and experts alike, but the NEP 2016 is a huge 498-page document. It looks like a discussion rather than a concrete policy.
“Give stakeholders more time to discuss and react on it. We demand that the political party should make it part of their election manifesto as the policy concerns entire India,” it said.
“The document has many pages which have been copy-pasted from a website in Gujarat. But education is unique to every place and one cannot brush everyone in the same colour. Education has unique requirements everywhere. Instead of being personalised, the education sector is being centralized,” it added.
“The policy says that the education sector will have Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (RSA), which will be headed by Prime Minister. Then what is the role of MHRD or education department? It is equal to destroying the entire educational governance infrastructure all over India. They should define the role of other institutions if everything will be controlled by PM headed RSA.”
“They have B.Ed integrated course after 12th. Then there is teacher eligibility test. If there is B.Ed then why is TET. It is a major flaw in the policy. Does it mean that earlier courses like B.Ed is not up to the mark? It is like asking a doctor who has passed entrance and completed MBBS course, to again appear for another test to become a doctor.”
“There is no sufficient addressing of the crucial issues such as gender, caste and the environment in the draft. Human rights and constitutional rights issues are grossly excluded and Sanskrit and Yoga are projected beyond all reasonable proportions right from school education. As per the draft, Hindu religious dogmas and Varnasramadharma should be injected into young minds in the guise of moral education in schools,” it said.
“The policy stresses skill on 80 percent students and quality education for chosen few. It seems the main aim is to make 80 percent students as bonded employees of the capitalist world while as 20 percent will have upper edge on them. The NEP destroys the concept of equality and it is anti-poor,” said the statement.
“It advocates Vedic Gurukula system of education which is teacher-centric with the aim of infusing rigorous discipline among students. This system mars the creativity of children and it is also against the modern and democratic decentred approaches to pedagogy and contemporary educational practice,” it said.
“The earlier education policy is not implemented. It has become a corruption oriented and students don’t get benefited. The problem is with implementation, had the earlier policy implemented strictly on the ground, maybe we wouldn’t have had so many problems today. The policy had no major flaw, yet it was not implemented and the culprit is the government and governance,” it added.
“NEP says it will continue Right to Education Act, which is already under dispute, as the government in many states has not paid the dues of students from economically weaker sections. So both students and institutions suffer. We propose why don’t the government introduce Direct Beneficiary Transfer policy. Give students an education voucher which can be cashed at any school,” said the statement.
“The new policy is made by bureaucrats. The TSR Subramaniam committee has five persons, four of them are bureaucrats and the lone non-bureaucrat person is a controversial figure with leanings towards certain ideology,” it said.
“The committee that drafted the New Education Policy did not have a single school teacher in it. One is unable to understand the reasons and explanation for it if there can indeed be any. There are nearly 80 lakh teachers in India and they remain the most important unit of effecting changes proposed in the policy. Without their involvement and considerable say in the making of the New Education Policy, it remains to be seen as to how the teaching community responds to it. Not one school teacher can be found in the list of 217 eminent persons the committee consulted,” said the statement.