Is the New Education Policy against the interest of minorities?

The New Education Policy (NEP), tabled by the previous HRD minister Smriti Irani has run into troubles. It has attracted opposition from the minority institutions and political parties over what is being termed as ‘against the interest of minorities.’

In the latest row over the NEP, which had already attracted ire of teaching community over its recommendations on no detention policy and introduction of ancient Indian values into its curriculum, political parties and minority institutions, mostly from South India, have alleged that the new policy is against the interest of minorities. Parties like DMK led by Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi took part in a fast organized by Confederation of Egalitarian Association, held to reflect their dissent with the new policy for which HRD ministry has invited suggestions from general public till August 15, 2016. According to her, party leader Karunanidhi has already voiced his dissent over the policy.

New education Policy

The Tamil Nadu Bishop Council and Church of South India (CSI) also held a rally in Vellore in front of Holy Cross School and later proceeded to Vellore Collectorate. The rally was led by P. Soundararaju, a Catholic Bishop. CSI also distributed pamphlets according to which the central government was making “attempts to distort history” with its new education policy.

The controversies relating to the New education Policy are multifarious. It includes those which claim attempts to saffronize the education and others like going against the interests of minorities. Suggestions were made to introduce the ancient Indian knowledge as part of curriculum which would introduce students to Vedic mathematics and other sciences like yoga and ayurveda are seen as undue influence which RSS holds over the government in centre.

The NEP has also recommended that 25 percent seats in the minority institutions be reserved for economically weaker sections.

According to A. C. Savarimuthu, one of the lead protesters of Vellore rally, “the NEP is against minority educational services and rights”. He added that the policy is full of inconsistencies and that the centre needs to respect the separation of powers between state and union government while drafting a NEP. New committee has to be set up to draft a new education policy and the committee should have representation from experts from the field of education, anthropology, sociology, psychology, law and other discipline apart from social groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minorities, Women.

This latest setback to the much flagged NEP by the government, touted as the next big leap in education, has added another blemish to the BJP government over its alleged apathy towards minorities.

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