Private Schools’ Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) has expressed its concern on the New Education Policy (NEP) 2016 released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) recently in the public domain.
The Association said that the new policy is bereft of logic at various places and its implementation in toto will damage decades of progress achieved in the education sector. The Association said that voluminous document needs extensive discussions as a number of points in it are detrimental for students, teachers and society as a whole.
“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,” said Var while quoting the experts. “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 an upper edge on them. The NEP destroys the concept of equality and it is anti-poor.”
The Association said that even scientifically the policy has major flaws. “The policy states that 4000-year-old Vedic Education is the earliest form of education even though latest scientific evidence shows that Indus Valley Civilisation and its art, craft and education was way earlier than it in 6000 BC,” said Var. “Furthermore it advocates Vedic Gurukula system of education which is teacher-centric with the aim of infusing rigorous discipline among students. This system mars creativity of children and it is also against the modern and democratic decentred approaches to pedagogy and contemporary educational practice,” said Var.
The Association said that the NEP has an ambiguous “Nationalist and Developmental” agenda which pushes some of the key concerns of equity and justice to the periphery in the educational agenda. Words like secularism, socialism, equality, rationalism, democracy, inclusion etc. are rendered insignificant or obsolete by this neo-liberal Nationalist developmental goals, working in tandem with the cultural Nationalism thrust on heritage, tradition and religious amity. “The NEP 2016 draft calls upon “the youth to become global citizens, with their roots deeply embedded in Indian culture and traditions”. One may ask what is Indian culture in the first place? There are dozens of culture in India unique to every state. It seems to destroy the plurality of culture,” said Var. “Besides the NEP maintains silence on issues like Gender, Caste, Sexuality and Ecology.”
The Association has called upon educationists, academicians, schools heads and experts to study the policy document and come out with their opinions. It also advocated organising a conference to extensively discuss the NEP, before it is too late.