Thursday, July 30, 2020

India: Communist Parties slam government's "New Education Policy"

The "New Education Policy" approved by the government of Narendra Modi leads to the further privatization and commercialisation of Indian education, point out the Communist Parties (CPIM and CPI) condemning the proposed reforms. 

In a statement, the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) stresses out:

"The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly denounces the Union Cabinet decision to unilaterally impose a New Education Policy and rename the Ministry of Human Resource Development. 
Education is in the Concurrent List in our Constitution.  It is a gross violation  by the Central government to impose a New Education Policy unilaterally bypassing all the objections and opposition recorded by various state governments.  
A new policy of such a nature needs to be discussed in the Parliament.  This was assured by the government earlier.  The draft is, as per norm, placed on the table of the Houses with a statutory time limit within which Members of Parliament can move amendments/give opinions.  The Parliament has been completely bypassed.  
The draft of New Education Policy was put out in the public domain seeking suggestions and opinions from all stakeholders, mainly the academicia, the teaching community and the students. In addition, many intellectuals had also sent in their observations.  None of these have been considered.  
This unilateral drive is to destroy the Indian education system with a policy that seeks greater centralization, communalization and commercialization of Indian education.  
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly protests against this move by the BJP Central government.  The Polit Bureau demands that a thorough discussion in Parliament be held before implementation begins."

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From its side, in a statement issued today and signed by General Secretary D. Raja, the National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India (CPI) points out:
"The RSS-led NDA government has approved the New Education Policy (NEP). The policy brings with it a fundamental change in the system towards creating education markets and away from ensuring universalisation of education through government schools and rejecting quality education to poor and socially disadvantaged sections of the society. In the absence of public-funded education this will take away the social justice whatever little it is there today. 
Bypassing Parliament and undermining federalism, the central government is taking unilateral decisions to aggressively push through its neo-liberal agenda including in the system of education. This is going to have serious implications on the future and on the democratic polity of the country. 
The NEP is an attempt to lead to total privatisation, commercialisation and over centralisation. The result will be higher fees, attacks on autonomy of universities and no permanent jobs in teaching. 
The government will earmark six per cent of GDP for education. It was a proposal made by Kothari Commission decades back. Now there is a demand that the Centre should spend on education more than 10 per cent of the GDP. 
NEP will lead to more privatisation, commercialisation  under the management and control of   Board of Governors. This is done to invite foreign universities as per WTO. 
Also 50,000 educational institutions will now be converted to only 15,000 and all colleges with less than 3,000 students will either be closed or merged with others. This will lead to regional disparities in a big way. 
Institutions like IIMS, IIT and ISC with single subjects will be closed and only multi-subjects’ institutions will be there. It will seriously hurt specialisation. 
Study of social sciences will suffer because if there is no demand in market then it will be closed. 
One positive element of NEP is imparting of education from three years of age to 18 years of age under RTE. Earlier it was till 14 years of age. The success of this is extremely doubtful considering the characteristic changes that are brought in the system. 
CPI urges upon the government to have proper discussion on the policy in Parliament and also with the state governments which have the highest stake since education is on the Concurrent List."