A Critique of the recent MHRD draft on
“National Education Policy(NEP) 2016”
“Neo-Macaulay + Neo-Manu dharma”
Organizing secretary, All India Forum for Right to Education
Education plays a vital role in enlightening the society. However it is also one of the powerful tools in the hands of State through which a particular domain of knowledge is transferred to working masses, thus serving the ruling class interests and lays the foundation for seamless exploitation. The Modi govt.’s “New education policy-2016 (NEP)” is another step in this direction. The recent draft on NEP heavily stresses on “skill development” for the workers of our country. It is committed to produce skilled bonded labor for global capital by denying education to 80% of working masses with the Brahminical value which is referred in the preamble of the draft as “global citizens with their roots deeply embedded in Indian culture and traditions”.
Last year Ministry of Human Resource development (MHRD) formed a five member committee headed by T. S. R. Subramanian to draft the New Education Policy-2016(NEP). Four among these members are bureaucrats and the sole academician is J.S Rajput who made NCERT a courtyard of RSS while serving as its chairman. The committee submitted the NEP report on April 30th. Subsequently MHRD has released 43 page document titled “Some inputs for the draft of New Education Policy 2016”, seeking public opinion.
The committee claims that the quality of school education, in terms of learning outcomes, is deniably poor, particularly in government schools. The committee proposes a dreadful recommendation to improve the outcomes by excluding majority of working masses from education. The draft says that “Alternative schools (evening schools) will be provided for children from slums and migrant labor background; no detention policy will be limited up to class V and detention will be restored at the upper primary (6th-8th); Open schooling for the school dropouts, 10th exams will be at two levels: Part-A at a higher level and part-B at a lower level; Only 10 lakh scholarship for higher education” and so on;
As per RTE Act-2009 free and compulsory education is fundamental right till the age of 14 to all children. But implementation of NEP will lead to denial of school education for slum children who are in socially and economically deprived condition. According to the annual Status of Education Report -2014 (ASER) survey nearly 50% of Class 5 students and 25 % of class 8 students are not able to read a Class 2 level text and their basic arithmetic skill is poor. Mere restoration of detention policy above 5th class without assuring quality of education will further increase the dropouts in upper primary.
As per NEP 10th has two levels: Part-A at a higher level and part-B at a lower level. Students who feel that science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) is difficult can choose level-B. But they are not eligible to pursue higher education in STEM stream. Further, NEP recommends national talent test after class 10th to receive higher education fellowship. Currently 33.3 million students are enrolling in higher education but NEP will be offering only 1 million fellowships. i.e. a mere 3% of students can get fellowships. Moreover these exam will be mostly based on the CBSE frame work which will turn out to be beneficial for children from urban elite; those from rural area will be worst affected. Only a small section comprising upper caste and upper middle class will have access to higher education.
The District Information System for Education-2014 statistics reveals that level wise school drop outs for Ist –Vth, Ist– VIIth and Ist-Xth are 20%, 36.3% and 47.4% respectively. The recommendations of NEP instead of enhancing the learning outcomes, sets out to double the dropout level and the dropouts are tactically pushed to skill training. As per Prof. Anil Sadgopal(AIFRTE) “this policy will be aggressively pursued to exclude more than 80% of the Indian population comprising SCs, STs, OBCs and Muslims from education, and push them into skill shops.”
In the same line Modi government introduced the Child Labor (Prohibition and protection) amendment act 2016. It allows children to “help the family in the fields, do home-based work or work in the forest” after the school hours, on holidays and children can be engaged in entertainment industry. “Home based work” is nothing but caste based occupation. Instead of abolishing child labor, RSS-Modi govt. is pushing the children to caste based occupations which in turn leads once again to compartmentalized caste system . The old Manu Dharma denies education for Panchmas and Suthras and reserves education exclusively for Brahmins which makes them so power full in the Brahminical system and made them rulers in the feudal system. Similarly in the Neo-Manu Dharma, New Education Policy-2016 creates a new division of laborers by denying education to 80% of Indian population and training them as skilled wage laborers to serve imperialism and reserving knowledge based work for small section of people, a regeneration of caste compartmentalization.
NEP recommendations in higher education section are in line with WTO-GATS agreement. NEP acts as the strategic framework to implement the GATS agreement completely. CEO in the governing bodies, Educational tribunal, curbing student politics in campus; financial autonomy; compulsory in-take of foreign students and faculty in higher education institutes; GAIN, dismantling the UGC and AICTE; MOOCs; allowing foreign universities; center for excellence; incubation centers; fees hike; allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) and so on. More than half of the recommendations have been already implemented in IITs. For instance, MHRD singed a MoU with U.S. to import 1000 faculty every year to teach in Indian institutions under GIAN program. Each U.S. faculty’s salary is 7.2 lakh for 20 sessions. India signed similar MoU with Germany, Canada and other European countries. Further, MHRD decided to conduct a job fair in top institutions (mostly from U.S.) to recruit a faculty for IITs. MHRD claims Indian students are (PhDs from IITs, NITs) not up to the mark. However 2,600 faculty positions are vacant in IITs and 16,000 faculty positions are vacant in IITs, NITs, IIITs, IISERs and central universities. NEP/MHRD worries more on foreign faculty than the qualified Indians. Any country which committed its education to WTO-GATS, mode-4 “Movement of natural person”, should give importance to teachers/professors from other countries. Indian education system is controlled by WTO-GATS. Similarly trades in Goods, services and intellectual rights are also controlled by the WTO through various agreements (GATS, GATT, TRIPs) to serve the interest of the imperialists. (We refer this as recolonization)
Macaulay education system trained Indian people to be physically Indian but English in their thought process so that they serve British imperialists without any hesitation. Now Neo Macaulay education policy (NEP) will produce millions of skilled work force as cheap labor for global capital; it welcomes foreign educational monopolies as a quality education provider to loot the Indian education market.
Finally, NEP recommends that Sanskrit must be a compulsory subject in schools. Already, MHRD has initiated several activities with an agenda; to saffronize young minds imposing Sanskrit in central government schools and Sanskrit cell in IITs with the intention of achieving their long term agenda Hindu-Hindi-Hindu Rashtra. Text books will preach Rama is the greatest king in Tamil Nadu, Mahabali is a demon, artificial intelligence were discovered in Vedic period, aerodynamics laboratory was first established in Ayodya and so on. Such unscientific, irrational nonsense will be taught in class rooms as Indian history and our glorious past. Our future generations’ mind will be flooded with the conservative thoughts and superstitious beliefs which retards rational scientific thinking and nurtures slave mentality. Naturally, such an employee in a factory won’t understand and question the unlimited exploitation of global capital. During feudal era what caste system did for the feudal exploitation, in recolonization era, Hindutva will play a same role in protecting/justifying exploitation by imperialists. Hence, Hindu Rashtra is not merely a Hindu state; it is a state which assures subordination of Indian working masses and Natural resources to sustained exploitation by U.S. imperialists. Such an anti-people education policy must be prevented at any cost. We the students of the frontier Institute should be at the fore-front to demolish the National education policy-2016.
Let us unite to defeat the NEP-2016