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Draft of new edu policy worries educationists

New Delhi: An unsigned draft of the proposed new education policy which appeared on HRD ministry’s website is a cause of worry to educationists, intellectuals, social workers etc who have decided to protest against it. They fear that if this new educational policy, as outlined in this draft, is implemented, in addition to further increasing communalism, will close the doors of education for poor people. A group of about 55 social and educational NGOs sat on a protest dharna against this draft policy at Parliament Street on 17 November and expressed their indignation and opposition against the proposed educational policy which the BJP-led central government wants to introduce in the country. The draft on HRD ministry’s webstie is probably a feeler to see the reaction of educationists, NGOs and people in general to this draft policy which is not yet finalised but is only a draft. The protest against this proposed policy was sponsored by Joint Action Committee, according to which higher educational institutions will themselves have to arrange for their funds for which they can increase tuition and other fees and charges. (It probably implies that government’s and UGC’s financial grants and assistance etc will be reduced very much). It also clearly shows and speaks of saffronisisng education. It is also stated, or clearly indicated that Urdu and other languages will not be made medium of education (at central level).

Addressing the people sitting on protest dharna, senior Congress leader Dig Vijay Singh said that it is the Sangh outfits old policy to give saffron clour to education in as many ways as possible and poor and backward people may be deprived of education, though at the same time he firmly said that they (Sangh) will never succeed in their objectives in this great pluralist country. President of Delhi University Teachers Association (Ms.) Nandita Narain demanded that the draft document put on the website should immediately be withdrawn, stating that this draft document has been prepared under Hindutva agenda and by World Trade Organisation (WTO) whose objective is to prepare employees for (private) companies and business establishments and not to make people educated and prosperous. Another speaker Prof. Satish Pande said that for survival of democracy it is essential that education should be imparted to children in a transparent manner but we find that the provisions and suggestions made in the proposed new educational system totally reflect injustice and communal mentality. He warned that if this draft document is not withdrawn, our culture and country’s democratic structure will be greatly harmed. Dozens of eminent educationists, social and political leaders also addressed the demonstrators, the sum and substance of all speakers was that while preparing this draft document, 200 years old educational system has been totally ignored because of which acquisition of education by common people, poor, rural and tribal people dalits and minorities has been made almost impossible. They also stated in their speeches that HRD minister Prakash Javdekar had given assurance in the parliament that this draft policy document will be removed from the website but he has not so far fulfilled this promised assurance. The speakers said that this policy has been made with a view to abolishing all Indian regional languages, particularly Urdu and the languages / dialects spoken by tribals and adivasis. Among those who addressed the protesters were Manish Sisodia, Kuni  Mozhi , D. Raja, Amrish Rai, Shabnam Hashmi, John Dayal, A. C. Michael, V. Satyonathan, Madhu Prasad etc. etc.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2016 on page no. 15

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