Three reasons why National Education Policy has rattled Communists and rigid Islamists
Two groups are not pleased with the new National Education Policy (NEP): The Communists and the Islamists.
The new National Education Policy (NEP) has found good words from most shades of the political spectrum. It has been praised for having a bold vision, and most importantly, making life of a child much easier with interdisciplinary flexibility, study breaks and a greater opportunity to learn in own’s mother tongue or regional language.
Two groups, however, are not pleased. The Communists and the Islamists. These two have been somewhat entwined by their motive to usurp India’s rooted culture and traditions with their monolithic, extra-national ideologies, or their minimal contribution to the national good.
They sense grave danger to one of the last bastions in which they wield disproportionate influence: academics. It is also the tool which Communists and Islamists have used to distort history, subvert Hindu civilisational knowledge and manipulate the software of this nation, its young minds.
1. Left fears losing Fort Academia
“Bypassing Parliament, ignoring opinion of state governments and rubbishing opinions of all stakeholders, Modi government is unilaterally destroying our education system,” CPM chief Sitaram Yechury tweeted.
Bypassing Parliament, ignoring opinion of state governments and rubbishing opinions of all stakeholders, Modi government is unilaterally destroying our education system. pic.twitter.com/TxhS4GRzOi
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) July 29, 2020
That is a gross lie. If at all, the government can perhaps be pulled up for stretching the limits of democratic process.
On 26 January, 2015, the Ministry of Human Resource Development started formulating the NEP.
Doing away with the top-down approach of the past, it embraced an extensive, time-bound, participatory approach. In all, 33 themes were identified for focused discussions.
Village education committees across 2.5 lakh gram panchayats took part in the deliberations, along with parents, students, teachers, elected officials, administrators, members of civil society and citizens.
By 26 November, 2015, a staggering 1,00,421 villages, 5,155 blocks, 1,201 urban local bodies, 573 districts and 11 states had uploaded their recommendations on how they wished to see education in the country.
More than 29,000 citizens submitted recommendations on MyGov.in. More than 15,000 students submitted their suggestions through the CBSE’s portal.
If that is not democratic enough, one wonders what is. Actually, the Left’s fear stems from the fact that the massive bottom-up exercise will replace the elitist stranglehold of the Left, which has run education as if British colonisers and Muslim invaders had outsourced to it the job of keeping the nation’s children in darkness and denial, thus stunting the growth of the nation.
2. Left-Islamists fear NEP signals revival
The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Telangana and Odisha is fuming. It has accused the Centre of trying to resuscitate a Sanskrit, a “dead language”. It is also distraught that yoga, which it calls “a polytheistic practice deeply rooted in Hindu mythology”, will be promoted. Yoga involves shlokas for the sun and the moon, which are creations, it says. Muslims worship the creator.
Its fears are not unfounded. The NEP draft makes the intention to unlock ancient knowledge from the iron cage of Leftist-Islamist control amply clear.
“The Indian education system produced great scholars such as Charaka, Susruta, Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, Chanakya, Chakrapani Datta, Madhava, Panini, Patanjali, Nagarjuna, Gautama, Pingala, Sankardev, Maitreyi, Gargi and Thiruvalluvar, among numerous others, who made seminal contributions to world knowledge in diverse fields such as mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, civil engineering, architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, yoga, fine arts, chess, and more,” it says.
“Indian culture and philosophy have had a strong influence on the world. These rich legacies to world heritage must not only be nurtured and preserved for posterity but also researched, enhanced, and put to new uses through our education system.”
Decades of political patronage have given Jamaat and others the brazenness to badmouth and attempt to block Sanskrit, Indian civilisation’s mother language which is revered the world over. There are over a dozen university courses in Sanskrit in just Germany; many more across the West and Southeast Asia.
Yoga is popular across the world including Muslim nations, but Indian mullahs have a problem with it.
3. They fear NEP is pro-poor, anti-caste
Spurious arguments about the NEP being casteist has come up on social media from little-known handles. Opposition hawks like Digvijaya Singh have amplified these posts.
One such argument is that the NEP is anti-Dalit and it will widen the economic gap. That rich kids will learn coding from Class 6 on their expensive computers but poor ones won’t. And that poor children will be deprived of learning English in school while the rich ones will learn in private tutorials.
This is the last-ditch effort to create a fake divide in the face of blurring caste faultlines, at least electorally, under Modi’s BJP.
First is the assumption that the poor only come from the lower castes and lower caste means being poor. After decades of reservation and creation of a creamy layer, that is patently untrue.
The argument that only the rich use of technology in India is bunkum. In fact, technology has been a great leveller.
A 2020 Mobile Phone survey report by MoMagic Technologies says 81 percent of Indians use 4G phones. Also, India has one of the lowest 4G mobile data prices in the world. It is going to have more than 600 million internet users by 2021. Only a tiny fraction of them are rich.
The Left propagandists also conveniently forget that English as a medium of instruction causes rampant dropouts and comprehension problems for children from non-urban or poor backgrounds. Jyoti Basu’s Left Front government in the 1980s was at the forefront of advocating and carrying out mother tongue as the medium of instruction in schools.
Besides, the Centre isn’t proposing to do away with English, just defer its introduction till Class 5 or 8.
The Communist-Islamist cabal faces an existential crisis on campuses. Its restlessness and dismay are understandable. The imminent changes in the National Curriculum Framework are likely to take the last flicker of light out of its once resplendent space.
The party is over, and they know it.
It is for the first time in 75 years of India’s independence that high schools will start functioning in Assam’s tea estates. A total of 97 high schools will start their academic session on 10 May, while 22 more will become functional next year
Prime Minister Modi observed that the implementation of NEP 2020 in the two years since its launch has seen many initiatives being unrolled to achieve the objectives of access, equity, inclusivity and quality, as laid down under the policy