After decades, now the newly and second time elected BJP led NDA government has brought a New Education Policy 2019 just after their swearing ceremony. There have been two National Education Policies, in 1968, during the respective regimes of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. The NEP of 1986 was revised in 1992 when P V Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister. Now it has been proved that the NEP of 1986 had opened the flood gate of privatization and commercialization of education and had converted the entire education system into the market commodity. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh, or the BJP in its original form, was part of the 1977-79 Janata Party Government, which attempted to draw up a policy in 1979, but it was not approved by the Central Advisory Board for Education. In a way this is the BJP’s second attempt of drafting the education policy.
And now after getting full majority in the General Election of 2019, BJP has taken up the education first. The draft of NEP 2019 has 23 chapters with 478 pages. The government wants to change the entire education system but the time provided for submitting suggestions is very less. Just in a one month, how the grass root level discussions among all the section of common people and all stakeholders is possible? It shows the real intension of the government! New Education Policy – 2019 submitted by the nine-membered K Kasturinangan Committee to HRD ministry will create a disastrous effect on Indian education and social system, if implemented. Why so much hurry if the government really wants to provide quality education to all?
‘Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog’
All the provisions of the draft will lead to the commercialization and privatization of education. Here I just want to discuss the core point of NEP 2019. And it is about the Chapter 23 titled ‘Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog’. It aims synergistic functioning of India’s education system, to deliver equity and excellence at all levels, from vision to implementation, led by a new Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog. The Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog or National Education Commission will be an apex body and it will be headed by the Prime Minister. And this is the most dangerous and objectionable thing. It clearly means that the entire education system will come under the total government control. The NEP has suggested that the Ministry of Human Resources and Development will be converted into the Ministry Education. But by formation of National Education Commission, there will be no independent role of the Education Department as our all educational institutions starting from school education to higher education will come under the PMO as PM is heading the chair of National Education Commission. The Vice Chairperson of the NEC will be the Union Minister of Education. It means that our ministers but not teachers, educationists, students, parents will decide our education.
Structure of NEC
• 20-30 members includes Union Ministers, in rotation, whose ministries impact education directly (e.g. health, woman and child development, finance), as well as a few Chief Ministers of states, in rotation, the Principal Secretary to the PM, the Cabinet Secretary, Vice Chairperson of the Niti Ayog, the senior most secretary in the Ministry of education and other such senior bureaucrats/administrators as the government may deem appropriate.
• At least 50% of the members will be eminent educationists, researchers and leading professionals from various fields such as arts, business, health, agriculture and social work. Well, there is no mention of science’s field in above mentioned list!
• There will be National Education Commission Appointment Committee consisting of the PM, The Chief Justice of India, the Speaker of the LS, the leader of the opposition in the parliament and the UME.
There are so many different provisions and sub committees under the NEC. Same provisions under the name of Higher Education Council have been already introduced in different states where the Education Ministers are heading the chair and controlling education in their respective states.
As per the draft, the NEC will be responsible for developing, articulating, implementing, evaluating and revising the vision of education in the country. If this draft will be finalized, then our educational institutions and our syllabus will be full of irrationality, intolerance towards other communities and unscientific thoughts. It will push our future generation towards darkness. Already the BJP government has introduced books in primary education which has so many myths about scientific inventions in ancient India like plastic surgery, test tube babies, aero planes and what not! We have witnessed the Prime Minister propagating publicly unscientific ideas, even in the forum of Indian Science Congress which had formed to fight out unscientific thoughts prevailing in common people. Eventually this will lead to a fascistic centralisation of the education.
The educationists from entire world have dreamt for democratic, secular and scientific education. “The University must be free from external control over the range of subjects of study and methods of teaching and research. We have to keep it equally free from trammels in other directions
So there may be many golden words in NEP 2019 which can attract us. But it can never be tolerated that our universities and education system will be caged by reactionary forces. Our education system must be decided by educationists, professors, teachers, students, parents and neither by any Prime Minister nor by any bureaucrats!
In that situation we are affected into different ways. Firstly, it is our duty to put historical truths in front of the people and secondly criticize the history made up with political ideological intensions.” So let us come forward before our schools and colleges get converted into the place of spreading political agenda of hatred and thus save our society and future generations. It is the prime need of the hour.
Eventually this will lead to a fascistic centralisation of the education.
The writer is Vice chairman J&K RTI Foundation