On July 30th, Union Cabinet approved the New Education Policy 2020. A lot is being said about this new policy. Despite the repeated praise by government, many experts believe that the policy is more destructive if not indistinctive. Many educationists also believe that with this policy, BJP and RSS are fulfilling their agenda of privatizing and commercializing the education sector. According to the student organizations, the timing for the release of this policy has been set in such a way, that there will be no protests by the students because of the pandemic and lockdown.
Prof. Anil Sadgopal, who is an educationist and associated with All India Forum for Right to Education, on many occasions has expressed his views on the New Education Policy. In a public discussion, organized by the Democratic Student’s Federation (DSF)- JNU, where Prof. Sadgopal was the guest speaker, he stated that this policy contains many silent points that not everyone can see. Only when we are able to read those silent points, we will realize the intent behind this policy.
He pointed out that like every previous policy, this policy has also been set up by considering only 15% of the student population who belong to the upper class. No policy has ever been made considering the financial status, employment status and even the language of the rest 85%. He mentions that nowadays education is only being used by businesses to make profit, not for any progressive change in the society. Nowhere in the report is it mentioned that we will be working towards removing the marketing in the name of education, nor does it address the impact of caste system on education.
He also added that, with its extreme centralization, this policy challenges the federal structure of our country and is a threat to the Indian Constitution.
From small to drastic changes, this 400-page policy has changed the entire education structure. Some of the key changes are-
- The current 10+2 structure will be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure.
- An independent authority will be set up to regulate both public and private schools.
- Under NEP 2020, M.Phil courses will be discontinued.
- Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education.
- There will be no rigid separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, between vocational and academic streams.
- As per this new policy, hundred world-class universities will be requested to set up their centers in India.
Many educationists have expressed their disapproval over the invitation to foreign universities to set up their centres in India. According to them, it has been observed on many instances that when a renowned university opens its branch in an under-developed or a developing country, it is solely for the purpose of profit making and in no way will the quality of education in these centres, be similar to their main campus.
In the past year when the draft of the education policy was released, a number of protests were organized by the students. Kawalpreet Kaur, President of AISA Delhi, said, “The destruction of public universities and starting of foreign universities means death of social justice. Modi government aversion to reservation and social justice policies was evident in its last term. It is continuing its legacy of depriving Dalits, Adivasi’s, OBC’s and PWD students through its policy.”