Terming the New Educational Policy (NEP) ‘illogical and irrational’, renowned scholars and academicians in West Bengal feel that the NEP will lead to more number of school dropouts, creating ‘two classes of citizenship’.
The state government on Monday formed a six-member committee to study and share observations on the NEP which was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29. The new policy has replaced the 34-year-old National Policy on Education, 1986.
The six-member committee was constituted of Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Suranjan Das, well-known educationist Pabitra Sarkar, scholar and Indologist, Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, West Bengal syllabus committee, Aveek Majumdar.
The NEP restructured the school education by setting outage 3-6 years as pre-school while giving less importance to the traditional board examinations. The policy has also decided to go for an SAT-like university entrance test and offers the option of a four-year bachelor’s degree for students.
“Those who prepared the NEP are America-return and they are simply trying to slap this burden on the students. Do you think an American model of education is possible in India where the population is around 130 crore. How many of us can afford to sustain the financial burden of learning under the NEP?,” Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri told News 18.
“Sorry to say, but I didn’t expect this draft from those (well known) who prepared the NEP. The final draft is disappointing and absolutely rubbish. Do you think we have the infrastructure to follow the NEP in India? We have a good number of first-generation learners and most of their parents are not educated. How come those who prepared the draft overlooked this ground reality?,” Bhaduri added.
Adding to it, well-known academician, Pabitra Sarkar, said, “The illogical semester systems under the NEP will lead to more drop out in schools. Students will lose interest in education because of financial burden while availing it due to the financial autonomy of the educational institutions in India. Scarcity of adequate teachers and infrastructure will be another problem.”
“This new education system will create two classes of citizenship in India. One will be poor and another will be rich. This will be a major problem as this will have an adverse effect on students. As far as ‘mother language clauses’ is concerned, there are many grey areas. It seems to be an attempt towards a vested interest. What will happen to the children of those who are having transferable jobs? What language will his/her children learn?” he added.
On paving the way for foreign universities to set up campuses in India, he said, “You tell me, how many people have the money to send their children to these foreign universities.”
Education Minister Partha Chatterjee termed it as a ‘copy of the western education system’ with no realisation of ground realities.
The Chairman of the West Bengal syllabus committee, Aveek Majumdar said, “I can’t imagine that a national education policy which is directly related to our children was simply passed in a cabinet meeting ignoring suggestions from the state governments”.
“In India nearly 77 per cent people are economically lacking behind. How will they afford to avail foreign education in foreign universities? Already, we are struggling with the existing education framework in India and bringing the new education policy without improving the infrastructure will be disastrous,” Majumdar added.
Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Suranjan Das, had said, “I think this will create a major problem for the students while implementing. It was done in haste with no future planning.”