Actor Suriya Sivakumar criticised the Central government’s draft National Educational Policy (NEP) and its focus on improving the quality of students in India through more examinations.
While there were several appreciable suggestions in the National Education Policy, there were also several dangers in it, he said. Speaking after distributing prizes to students benefited by the Sri Sivakumar Charitable Trust, he said, “The concern is that again and again…the focus is on exams, qualifying exams and entrance exams, but not on accessible quality education to all students.”
He said it was important to raise awareness about the draft National Education Policy, as it would affect 30 crore students in India. The draft states schools that have only one teacher or less than 10 students should be shut down.
The primary education of tribals and poor rural students would be affected, as 1,848 schools would be closed, he said.
Mr. Suriya said over 60% students were from rural areas. He also spoke about the emphasis on exams and entrance exams and criticised the decision to close down thousands of colleges, which would also affect rural students. He appealed to educationists, scholars, teachers, parents and the media to raise awareness about the issue.
Vasanthi Devi, former vice-chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, said major mistakes had been made in the education system in India.
“In India, the education system has a major issue of inequality. Nowhere in the world can we see such inequality, even in countries that have embraced capitalism. Governments have been involved in providing education. Education cannot become a product in the market. In Tamil Nadu, there was opposition to the “three language” formula because of our tradition. The opposition died down after they made a few changes, but every page poses a great challenge,” said Ms. Vasanthi Devi.
Suriya’s brother and actor Karthi, and his father Sivakumar, also participated in the event.