Pune: Educationists decry Centre’s new policy

PUNE: Some educationists and activists in the city have pointed out flaws in the Centre’s New Education Policy (NEP).

Early childhood care, ef fective implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) are among the important aspects of education that have been left out of the NEP, making the policy extremely flawed, argued educationists John Kurrien and Kishore Darak, at a press conference held in the city on Monday.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry is consulting all stakeholders across the country before making the final draft. Some activists say the policy document lacks vision and leaves many quality concerns in the existing education system unresolved.

Kurrien and Darak are of the view that the process and the content of formulating the NEP are seriously flawed.Kurrien said, “What will emerge from the ongoing grassroots meetings, expert body consultations and online discussions to develop the final NEP document will merely culminate into an unmanageable plethora of views and opinions, signifying nothing in the absence of a unified consultation of experts.”

Kurrien said there are deficiencies in the NEP document. “Important issues that have been neglected entirely or merely tangentially referred to include: RTE Act and its implementation, early childhood care and education, public private partnership in school education, strengthening of state and sub-state academic institutions, financing of education etc,” he said.

Darak said the entire process of drafting the NEP is being done in secrecy with none of the recommendations from the consultation meetings being put on the government portal. “We do not know which recommendations will be selected and by whom. Moreover, the NEP draft document which will emerge from these secretive discussions is not for public discussion or revision,” Darak said.

The two educationists have suggested a substantive review of the current status of NEP formulation by the ministry before the end of 2015.”This review should be made public for organised discussions and comment and suitably revised. Besides, the new status note and draft NEP documents that are scheduled to be prepared should be widely circulated,” said Darak.

Started in 2014, the NEP is a work in progress spearheaded by the HRD ministry. The formulation of NEP visualizes a bottom-up approach beginning with about 2.4 lakh gram panchayat meetings, followed by discussions at each block, district, state, groups of states and national-level meetings that account to more than 2.6 lakh meetings. These meetings will provide recommendations and other inputs which will culminate into a draft NEP document by the end of this year.

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