Teachers’ unions pick holes in NEP

Large sections of the teaching community in the State’s higher education sector have come out against the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The Association of Kerala Government College Teachers (AKGCT) allege that the policy has greater thrust on protecting corporate interests. The Centre’s move of introducing the NEP by neither tabling the document in Parliament nor incorporating the States’ opinions does not auger well for a democracy. The policy comprises several recommendations put forth by feeder organisations of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

AKGCT president M. Sathyan and general secretary N. Manoj caution that by phasing out the university affiliation system and setting up a dedicated agency to sanction funds for research projects, the Centre has attempted to bring the sector under a tight leash and drive its future course in accordance with its interests. The introduction of vocational crafts from Class 6 could push many youngsters to seek temporary employment without completing formal education.

The All Kerala Private College Teachers’ Association (AKPCTA) fears that the implementation of the policy will undo the progress attained by the State since the reformation movement. With Kerala bound to be among the worst hit by the move, the NEP is likely to widen social, financial and knowledge divide among various sections in the country, AKPCTA president Jogy Alex and general secretary C. Padmanabhan say.

The Federation of State Employees and Teachers Organisations has registered its protest against the policy.

The All Kerala School Teachers Union (AKSTU) has appealed to the Union government to reject the NEP as it “challenges the country’s secularism and nationalism.” The AKSTU alleges that the policy lacks vision and does not consider the educational rights of the disadvantaged. It promotes only skill development, traditions, and study of Sanskrit. The policy calls for increasing spending on education to 6% of the GDP, but remains silent on the Union government’s share. The amendments suggested by the State in the draft policy have been ignored. Only the universalisation of pre-primary education seems to be a welcome idea in the policy, union president N. Sreekumar and general secretary O.K. Jayakrishnan say.

The Aided Higher Secondary Teachers Association (AHSTA) says the policy totally ignores the Kothari’s commission’s directions on structure and approach to education and democratic, secular, and scientific aspects. Rather than a student-centric, rights-based approach, a structure-based approach directs the goals and path of education. While promising universalisation and quality education till secondary level, it does not address issues such as access, equality, and participation. Adopting a school structure that is in operation in other countries, curriculum, skill training are not considered the best model by education experts. The policy is not clear on how a change in structure would aid quality education.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 1:21:15 AM |

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