Where is the Infrastructure, Asks Bengal Syllabus Committee Head on ‘Illogical’ National Education Policy

Sujit Nath

The chairman of the West Bengal syllabus committee on Thursday called the new National Education Policy (NEP) illogical and irrational, saying there is no proper infrastructure to implement the proposed changes.

The NEP, announced on Wednesday, seeks to replace the 10+2 structure of school education with a 5+3+3+4 structure corresponding to age groups 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years, respectively. It also announced an SAT-like university entrance test and offers the option of a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Speaking to News18.com, Aveek Majumdar, chairman of the West Bengal syllabus committee, said “I am not against anything new, but where is the infrastructure to implement the new National Education Policy? It’s just like the unplanned lockdown announced by the Centre. 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 state governments.”

“I personally believe that the government should have discussed the issue in Parliament before announcing it. Do you have adequate infrastructure to teach a three-year-old child? Is the government aware about the expertise it requires to teach them at this tender age? Do we have enough Montessori or kindergarten teachers in India? I personally believe that it is irrational and illogical,” Majumdar added.

As per the policy, students will be allowed to choose between subjects in Science, Arts and Commerce streams in higher education. Commenting on the move, Majumdar, said, “This is an attempt to eradicate the scientific approach of students. Each and every subject requires special attention and it’s not like you simply expect them to become masters in all subjects. Do you think a student will be able to concentrate on his future academic career with a combination of Music, Biology and Political Science? We had made 18 suggestions, but unfortunately, none of them were considered.”

Accusing the Centre of trying to ape the American model of education, Majumdar said, “Do they know even Ishwar Chadra Vidyasagar was against Vedic Maths in Sanskrit College. He stressed on the scientific approach of education. I am sorry to say this, but it seems that the NEP is a political strategy as they are trying to mix ‘cow urine’ with ‘science’. If you want to implement American model of education, then please bring the infrastructure first.”

He said the plan to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India is also riddled with loopholes. “How many people have the money to send their children to these foreign universities? It is a good thing, but what about the fees. No one talks about that. In India, nearly 77% people are economically lagging behind. How will they afford to avail foreign education in foreign universities?”

Expressing similar concerns, Jadavpur University V-C Suranjan Das said the NEP has several loopholes. “Unfortunately, it was announced without taking the state's recommendations in account. I think this will create a major problem for students. It was done in haste with no future planning.”

However, iLEAD chairman Pradip Chopra is optimistic about the new education policy.

“All over the world, teachers and professors from Bengal are among the most sought after. As new NEP allows foreign universities of repute to set up campuses in India, the government of West Bengal should make all efforts to get some of the best universities of the world to set up their campuses in the state,” he said.

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