04 July 2019

The recent Draft New Education Policy put forward by the Modi government based on the 2018 draft put forward by the seven-member TSR Subramanian Committee Report with no known educational experts in it, replacing the existing 10+2+3 year pattern with 5+3+3+4+4, is an ingenious move to saffronise and commercialize education, at the same time making it more elite-oriented. In the proposed scheme, while there is no formal education to children in the “pre-primary stage” up to the age of 8 and “later primary stage” during the 8-11 age, the so-called secondary education that is envisaged thereafter is totally oriented to vocationalisation, for equipping students with certain skills and making them eligible as job-seekers in the un-organized labour market. Mixing up all subjects including arts, music, craft, community service, yoga, and making no differentiation between curricular and co-curricular areas and having no separation among arts, humanities, science and social science, the implicit agenda in the draft NEP is to deconstruct and dis-organise the existing education system to pave the way for its unhindered commercialisation and saffronisation.

Under the garb of providing all opportunities for each student, the hidden tactic is to delay the process of students earning degrees and the government thus evading responsibility for providing jobs. The agenda of the apex body, Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog (National Education Institution or Commission) that is proposed in the draft, is to end an era of ‘liberal’, secular and scientific education and propagate the saffron agenda under the garb of Indianising education. Though the move to superimpose Hindi over non-Hindi people is temporarily frozen due to strong resistance, the focus on Prakrit, Persian, and Sanskrit should be seen as having ulterior motives of going back to the archaic, ‘the ancient’ , and ‘the orient’ with obscurantist nuances totally lacking critical thinking or role of dissent in education. The proposals to transform all higher educational institutions either to universities or degree-granting autonomous colleges on the one hand, and abolition of affiliating universities and affiliated colleges on the other, to hand over both the determination of its content and implementation of education to private-corporate hands, the decision to share public educational resources with private institutions, and,  above all, to form special education zones for upper-class superrich elite are all aimed at informalisation of education for the vast majority, together with unprecedented commercialisation of higher-professional education catering to a tiny elite minority.

We appeal to all progressive, democratic and secular people together with the student-teacher community to come forward with a critical evaluation of this draft NEP of the Modi regime and rise up in campaigns throughout the country along with all like-minded forces to defeat the heinous saffron elitist agenda behind it. n

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Kabeer Katlat

The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.