Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin on Saturday said the Centre’s New Education Policy was an attempt to impose Hindi and Sanskrit languages on the entire country, NDTV reported.
Under the New Education Policy released earlier this week, the Centre has proposed that education upto Class 5, and preferably until Class 8, will be imparted in the mother tongues of students. Classical languages like Sanskrit have also been proposed at all levels, while foreign languages will be offered at the secondary level.
However, Stalin rejected the proposals and said the new education system was nothing but a “glossy coat on the old oppressive Manusmriti”. Manusmriti is ancient text of Hindu laws that encoded the caste system.
In a letter to the members of his party, the DMK chief said he will fight against the changes by joining hands with like-minded political parties and chief ministers of other states. Stalin also questioned why the “successful” 10+2 system was being replaced with 5+3+3+4 and described the vocational education for children as a “psychological attack” on them.
“With education placed in the state list, the Centre will assume the remaining rights of the states and take in its control [aspects ranging] from syllabus to university,” he added. “This is an attack on the federal structure being underscored by the Constitution of India.”
He said his party was committed to oppose “such policies of the government” and recalled that he had also moved the Madras High Court on the issue of reservations for Other Backward Class candidates for medical seats in the “All India Quota”.
NEP was drafted unilaterally: West Bengal government
Meanwhile, West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee also criticised the Centre’s New Education Policy, claiming it was formulated without being passed in Parliament and states were not taken into confidence. “I wonder how come they [the Centre] thought of enforcing it without any discussion in Parliament and with the state government,” he said. “This is unilateral.”
Chatterjee added that the West Bengal government has compiled a list of about 10 to 12 points on the new education system, which they will point out to the central government in a letter “very soon”. However, he did not elaborate on the details of it.
West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party chief Dilip Ghosh retorted and said “those who have destroyed the state’s education system” had no right to criticise others. “It is an irony that the state government which does not have any education policy are opposing the central government’s education policy. The education system has completely broken down in Bengal,” Ghosh said.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, on Thursday had also criticised the New Education Policy and said it provided for a “highly-regulated and poorly-funded” model of learning. Sisodia added that the new policy has not been able to break free of the old ways of understanding and imparting education.
NEP focusses on quality education: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday extolled the New Education Policy and said it emphasises on interdisciplinary study, which “will ensure the focus is on what student wants to learn”, The Mint reported. Speaking at the virtual grand finale of the “Smart India Hackathon”, Modi said the NEP emphasises on making “job creators” instead of “job seekers”.
“We are focussing on the quality of education in India,” the prime minister said. “Our attempts have been to make our education system the most advanced and modern for students of our country.” He said the changes brought about in the education system were framed keeping in mind the “aspirations of the youth of 21st century of the country”.
On his government’s decision to introduce mother tongue for the medium of education, the prime minister said the move would not only increase India’s knowledge but will also increase its unity. “Languages of India will progress and develop further due to the changes brought in the education policy,” he added.
He said the factor of flexibility is central to the NEP. “There are provisions for multiple entry and exits,” Modi said. “[There are] no one way streets for a student.”