Cong finds fault with Natl Edu Policy

‘NEP misses fundamental goal of human development, knowledge expansion’

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday said the new National Education Policy (NEP) misses the fundamental goal of human development and expansion of knowledge, noting that it is high on “catchwords” and “verbosity” but lacks critical finances and a coherent roadmap for implementation.
It alleged that the policy has circumvented parliamentary oversight and there has been no discussion with the academia except the RSS.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leaders MM Pallam Raju, Rajeev Gowda and Randeep Surjewala said the NEP seeks to create a digital divide between the poor and the rich as it promotes privatisation of public education and “this will lead to it going out of reach of the middle class and the disadvantaged in the society”.
They also questioned the government’s intent in raising spending on education to 6 per cent of the GDP, saying the same has fallen from 4.14 per cent of GDP in 2014 to 3.2 per cent currently under the Modi government and is likely to fall further due to cuts in outlays on account of resource crunch due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The National Education Policy 2020, which aimed to pave the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education, is high on catchwords, gloss, appearance and verbosity yet lacks a coherent implementational roadmap and strategy, clearly defined milestones and the critical finances necessary to execute this grand vision,” they said in a joint statement.
“All in all, the NEP 2020 misses the fundamental goal of human development and expansion of knowledge,” they said.
The Centre on Wednesday announced sweeping reforms under the new education policy.
The Congress leaders said the timing of NEP in the middle of a pandemic is, in itself, questionable. More so when almost the entire academia has complained of no consultation, the leaders alleged. “On a policy that impacts and affects our present and future generations, even parliamentary oversight has been circumvented. Contrast this with the rigorous parliamentary and widespread consultation that preceded the Right to Education Act,” they said in the statement.
Former HRD Minister, Pallam Raju, said, “There are going to be severe challenges due to the over-centralisation of education sector”.
“While the intent seems to be there, there are serious shortcomings in the policy,” he said.
“In the later stages also, we would like to question, what is the roadmap? What is the resource allocation? How do you plan to implement the broad ideal of universalisation? There’s an intent expressed about online education. But there is a wide disparity in the access level for online education; not only due to personal affordability but also in terms of the quality of connectivity. This will bring a large digital divide,” he added.
Gowda, a former IIM faculty member, asked where the money is going to come from for funding the ambitious plans. “Or is it going to come out of people’s pockets,” he asked.
“Any policy coming out of the Modi govt. must be assessed against its track record over the last 6 years, for example, the Delhi University. One of the first actions of this government was to abolish the 4-year programme in DU and now we’re turning back to it,” he added.
Surjewala said the policy will remain a document on paper as the required finances are not there, asking how does the government propose to fill 12 lakh vacancies of school teachers.
As per official records, he added, only 10 per cent of government schools in the country have access to computers and only 4 per cent have network connectivity. (PTI)

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