The draft New Education Policy (NEP) doesn’t speak about caste-based reservation but it does create room for suspicion. Besides, it encourages privatisation of education. The most important point is its aim is to restrict the common people from getting education. It is going to increase dropouts at all levels. The Centre has changed the pattern and it appears the draft NEP may not augur well for the larger principle of education for all without discrimination.
Among other things it assays to increase public examination burden upon young minds, which would ultimately trigger the dropout rates. At present the dropout rate happens at 10th and plus two levels. But, now this would steeply increase further, besides leading to filtering of education and depriving many of the access to higher education.
The draft policy suggests extension of the Right to Education Act to all schools (from pre-school to standard 12 instead of Class 1-8), and it redraws the schooling system on a 5+3+3+4 formula instead of the current 10+2 model. Students in the age group of 3-8 years will be part of the foundation stage, 8-11 age group for preparatory schooling, 11-14 years for middle school and 14-18 for secondary level.
In a majority of countries, elementary education is provided to those from five years old. Mother tongue is not compulsory till the age of 3. Now the policy proposes exams for classes 3, 5 and semester system for classes 9, 10, 11,12. It does not matter how many marks are scored in the exams but entry to college is possible only if the student clears the entrance test such as the NEET. The BJP-led government’s goal is to discourage lakhs of children from pursuing school education before 13 years of age.
Also, the concept put forth in the NEP aims to educate everyone by introducing a series of public examinations and would only push the country towards compulsory learning of Hindi. The Centre’s aim is to revive an obsolete Sanskrit and make the language not only a subject to learn but also make it the medium of instruction. Sanskrit has been glorified throughout the NEP. The motive behind suggesting that Tamil and other regional languages could be the medium of instruction is nothing but a ploy to impose Hindi. The draft policy blatantly displays its hatred for
English and to other communities becoming intellectuals through English education. This has to be understood.
One can imagine how the quality of scientific education will be under the HRD Minister who claims that Indians had the technological know-how on nuclear weapons one lakh years ago!
The proposed structural changes in higher education are only aimed at reducing access to higher education rather than improving the quality of education. The draft policy snatches the rights of States and through the policy, the Centre aims to bring education from the concurrent list to the Union list.
NEET is a grim reminder how the education scenario will be if it gets into the control of the Centre. This will lead to a situation wherein coaching centres like those for NEET will dominate the education scenario. School and colleges will lose their worth and coaching centres will be the predominant players. Realising that
India’s education policies have failed, the government is thrusting similar educational policies. This will end in commercialising of education and would be detrimental to the nation.
(Writer is an author, columnist and VCK’s MP from Villupuram Lok Sabha constituency)