Waquar Hasan| Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — Presenting a report on the National Education Policy (NEP) draft 2019, the Student Islamic Organization (SIO) has claimed that it violates Constitutional values and the overall federal structure of the country.
The report ‘NEP -2019 : Analysis and Recommendations’ was unveiled by SIO in the presence of former Kerala education minister Mohammed Basheer, and the former Delhi University Professor Madhur Prasad at the Press Club of India in New Delhi, on Friday.
Addressing media persons about the education policy draft, Basheer said that it did not give importance to the principles of a secular and democratic country.
“It says that the education policy is ‘India-centric’. When the BJP says that it is India-centric policy, it seems to connote another meaning. The new policy draft on education also says that English will be given lower priority. Why English will be given lower priority at a time when the country is in dire need of job generation?” asks Basheer.
DU professor Prasad, who is associated with the All India Forum for Right to Education, said that this draft on the education policy promotes Hindutva ideology as it is undermining the reservation system. He also said that the draft is available only in English and Hindi, but not in other regional languages. According to him, all the languages should have been given equal priority.
However, the report NEP-19 prepared by SIO’s educational body, Centre for Educational Research and Training, threw light on the education policy and presented some recommendations. They felt that it is essentially promoting a Hindutva approach towards knowledge which is exclusionary in its nature.
“References are made throughout the draft to the ancient Vedic education system, which was a model that promoted exclusion by limiting access to education to certain castes. Hence the policy must refrain from homogenising India’s heritage as being representative of any religion or certain castes. If the policy intends to promote “Indian knowledge system”, it should encompass all contributions from different religious, regional, and linguistic communities who are an inalienable part of the Indian knowledge tradition,” noted the report.
The report also noted that the education policy draft promotes commercialisation and privatisation of education which will subsequently create a negative impact on the education.
“Increasing commercialisation has led to an increase in corruption such as “donations” and “capitation fees”. Private contracts for syllabus textbooks must be abolished in order to prevent expensive retailing by private publishers. Regularisation of educational institutions in terms of licensing and fee-capping of tuition and hostel fees must also be ensured so that exploitation of students is prevented, and education is accessible to all,” demanded the SIO in the report.
The report recommended opening bridge courses for madrasa students who want to study in national universities and government education institutions. It also demanded 10% reservation for Muslims and 5% for other minorities.
“The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutes (NCMEI), a statutory body under the act of Parliament, must be strengthened. Its affiliations must be recognised and enforced across the nation. Autonomous Madrasa Boards must be established under the National Commission for Minority Education Institutions (NCMEI) at state levels with powers to grant degrees, regulate and provide accreditation to Madrasa institutions in the respective states.
The proposed Madrasa boards should design bridge courses to facilitate entry of Madrasa graduates into HEIs, in all streams of education. HEIs must mandatorily be required to offer these courses and all HEIs should commence Arabic and Islamic Studies courses,” read the demands in the report.
The Draft National Education Policy 2019 was drafted by a committee headed by Dr. K. Kasturirangan and was submitted on May 31, 2019 for public consultation, respectively.