Shimla, 31 July – Adv Ashok Agarwal (All India Parent Associantion National President)

NEP 2020 Encourage Private Schools!

Having read National Education Policy 2020, I found that there is nothing new in it except jugglery of words to confuse the readers. Moreover, it emphasizes on encouraging private schools at the cost of government schools.

We all know standard and functioning of Anganwadis and have no doubt in mind that they are not the ideal place for 3-6 years children for imparting quality education. Right place for 3-6 years children is mainstream regular schools as happening in private schools. Policy leads to arbitrary and discriminatory situation in which 3-6 years children of rich would attend mainstream private school whereas children of poor would go to Anganwadis. Shame.

Report talks of bringing back 2 crore out-of-school children. This figure of 2 crore is absolutely incorrect. We have over 2 crores of children with disabilities alone not attending school. Figures must be over 10 crore. Pandemic and Lockdown crisis would add more children to this category. Question also arises as to what governments have done in last 73 years to bring back out of school children. Enrolment of students is drastically going down in government schools countrywide. Moreover, many existing government schools have been closed down or handed over to NGOs.

Report talks of reducing curriculum in all subjects to its core essentials. Recent example of reducing curriculum of classes 9 to 12 which raised lot of controversy is enough to understand Government’s real motive.

Medium of instructions would be mother-tongue up till grade 5 and preferably till grade 8 and beyond, report says. It seems very ideal. However it will apply only to children of poor who attend government schools and not children of rich who attend private schools. If this is not unjust, discriminatory and arbitrary then what else would be? Entire report is based on class divide theory and approach.

Report goes on to say that private/philanthropic schools to be encouraged and enabled to play a beneficial role. It simply means commercialization of education which is legally prohibited. During ongoing pandemic and lockdown, we all have witnessed how private schools have behaved in matter of school fee. A lesson to learn is that private schools and hospitals cannot serve the common man. We need to have robust public schools and hospitals systems as we can no longer depend upon private schools and hospitals.

Report further says “Fee waivers and scholarships will be offered to meritorious students from all SEDGs on a larger scale”. It gives a clear impression that though all students in SEDG constitute one single class, but all would not be given fee waivers and scholarships and would be subjected to unjust discrimination. Such an approach defeats the very object and purpose underlying therein.

Report also says “Setting-up of additional JNVs and KVS in aspirational districts/SEZs”. We are all aware of the fact that there are 35 to 40 types of public funded unequal schools that discriminate among students and go against the letter and spirit of the Constitutional goals of equality, egalitarian society and quality education to all children. It was time to abolish such unequal schools and all public funded schools are required to be brought at equal footings but unfortunately the report is silent on this aspect.

Report talks “Alternative forms of schools will be encouraged to preserve the alternative pedagogical styles” for children with special needs. It seems a dangerous move. In the name of alternative pedagogical styles, there is every possibility of going back to special schools for children with disabilities.

The only positive aspect of the report is that it talks about universalization of school education up to class 12. However, merely incorporating it in the report will not be helpful at all. If Government is really serious to provide benefit of the same to children belonging to disadvantaged group and economically weaker sections to enable them to continue beyond class 8 and up to class 12 in private schools, it needs to be incorporated in the RTE Act, 2009 by bringing necessary amendments therein. Unless amendments are carried in the Act, situation would continue to be the same.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are that of the writer and Keekli takes no responsibility for the same 

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