Reject NEP-2020, Oppose Centralisation, Commercialisation and Communalisation of Education

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The President of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi 

 Respected sir,

            STFI, School Teachers' Federation of India, a largest Federation of School Teachers in the country, wants your attention on some drawbacks in NEP-2020, Actually NEP-2020 needs major amendments in it, before it is to be implemented. The STFI is of the opinion that too many important issues must be solved positively before NEP-2020 comes in force.

            STFI, is of the opinion that both timing and method of realizing the NEP-2020 are not right. Presently in whole over the country people are facing with great Pandemic, so in this time their necessities & questions are of job, food & shelter rather than NEP-2020. Secondly this NEP-2020 is related to masses & also assumed for a long period. Thus this should be announced after full discussions in the parliament. There was no such hurry.

            The NEP-2020 seems to be only a vision document rather than a real policy document. It lacks in details the road map for implementation. As this is the 1st Education Policy in the country in 21st  century & would (hope) last for a long period, Thus it should carry each & every value that may prepare Indian child - future youth to face the challenges of 21st century. But in it the ideological drive seeks compliance of our children by promoting irrationality in thought and action, in place of rationality, promotion of unscientific thinking rather than strengthening scientific temper amongst our children. There are so many resolutions & intensions in it, that would create anarcy among students-teachers and institutions.

Early Childhood case, development & Education (ECCE) :-

*           It is welcomed that NEP proposes to add 3 years to a child's education, as pre primary education through ECCE for the age group of 3-6 yeas. As per international norms the idea is to prepare the child for primary school through play, activities, nutrition and case so as to aid cognitive growth and learning abilities in a safe & caring enviornment.

            Thus this foundational stage should be only for 3 yrs. i.e. from 3-6 yrs. age. This foundational should be the part of exiting primary schools. In this stage child should be completely free to learn with play way method & doing self activities, watching skills etc. Trained teachers & sufficient infrastructure including school breakfast & mid-day-meal should be provided by the state.

            Here only & only mother tongue should be permitted, no 2nd or any other language burden may be allowed.

            Local administration should ensure props sanitation, clean drinking water, food security & other benefits for all.

*           Then there is a proposal in NEP-2020 for preparatory stage for std. 3rd to 5th or for age group 8-11 yrs. Here in preparatory stage class 1st & 2nd should also be added. Hence it should be from class 1st to 5th or age group 6-11 yrs. (Previous primary school). The aim of ECCEE is also to prepare a child by the age of 6 yrs. to enter in 1st class for learning. It is already mentioned in NEP that the medium of teaching in this stage i.e. upto class 5th would be mother tongue/local language, it is again welcomed but this should be implemented strongly for all schools it may be government or private-convent schools. In this stage 2nd language can be introduced as a subject.

*           It should also be considered that education is in concurrent list, but the sharply increased centralization will seriously erode federalism and the rights of the states. Thus some flexibility & powers should be given to states, already we are witnessing protest in different states, particularly in Tamilnadu with respect to the language policy.

*           In next middle stage class 6th-8th with different subjects. Here maximum syllabus should be left to state govt. So that they can add the local history, tratitions, culture, vaules, geographical conditions of that area/region. The child must know first about his/her neighborhood. In this middle stage the vocational subjects should not be introduced. At this pre mature stage of age 11 years a child can not decide his future. In middle stage there should be no intership system, this would be violation of child labour act also.

*           NEP calls for National text book with local content & flavour. But where as in most of the developed countries the practices is of formulating "a national curriculum frame work" & development of text books is left to states. India is a vast country with so many diversities of cast, colour, culture, traditions, religions, regions etc. Infect strength of India lies in "Unity in Diversity" slogan. Thus centralization of education should not be forced.

*           Next in NEP-2020, the proposal is for secondary, classes 9th-12th presently there is secondary 9th-10th class & senior secondary 11th-12th class. STFI proposes that existing system should carry on i.e. secondary 9th-10th & Sr. Secondary 11th-12th. There should be annual examination system in these four classes not the semester system as proposed in NEP. In four years joint system the dropout rate would increase & particularly in the poor & weaker sections & all categories of girl students. Already mentioned in NEP that merely 56% reach in 11th class, in this system it would be more in 11th-12th. The specific streams of Arts, Commerce & Science should continue. The specialization in any stream is necessary for advance study of IIT, IIM, MBBS etc.      

*           Thus the proposal for new system in Education should be 3+5+3+2+2

3 - Foundation stage - 3-6 yrs.

5 - Preparatory stage - (primary stage)  - 6-11 yrs class 1st-5th

3 - Middle stage - 11-14 yrs.      class 6th-8th

2 - Secondary stage - 14-16 yrs. class 9th-10th

2 - Sr. Secondary stage - 16-18th yrs.    class 11th-12th (with arts, e-commerce & science streams) and right to education should be extended & implemented from 3yrs to 18 yrs child i.e. pre primary (foundation) to Sr.Sec. class.

*           It is mentioned that 6% of GDP would be invested in education, but such promises have been around since the Kothari commission, 1966. In respect to the increasing population, higher studies, new researches advance technology now the investment in education must be minimum 10% of GDP.

*           NEP-2020, document mentions that 5 crore children of Primary stage didn't know basic knowledge in regards maths, language etc. But here the reasons behind it are not mentioned, they along with their remedy should be mentioned. Then only it will serve any purpose. Main reasons may be large number of vacant post, lack of infrastructure and too much non teaching work given to teachers throughout the nation. The socio-economic conditions of majority of children in these 5 crore number is also one of the main reason.

            NEP-2020 should address properly these issues. There should be no vacant post of any teacher in any state, actually some extra recruitment policy should be there. Non teaching work from teachers (any kind) should be banned. Full infrastructure should be provided. And to meet out the backwardness of socio-economic conditions of poor students, special incentives should be given to them & to their parents also.

*           Again in NEP-2020 document it is mentioned that around 3.22 crore children are out of school, actually this number may be much larger, but here also in document reasons for it are not mentioned. Similarly, why such  a large number of children are out of schools, the reasons should be studied & proper planning to enroll each & every school going children should be ensured.

*           There is a proposal to close up small schools & to run complex schools. Actually formula for teaching all children should be that school will go to child not that child would come to school. For small children upto class 5th it is too much hard to go even some kilometers to complex school. Thus more & more schools should be opened in each locality.

*           Previously in all education policies there was a view of common school, funded by state, a common school for children of all sections of society of a particular locality. Infect this system is in practice in all the developing countries, but in NEP-2020, this important issues is totally dropped. To achieve the target of 100% education & equal education to the wards of all sections, the common school or neighborhood school system should be implemented.

*           Language question is also a major issue. All the 22 National language mentioned in article 8 of constitution should be given equal importance. No single language even sanskrit may be given extra weight age. No language should be forced upon students. It should be the option of student, to which language he or she wants to learn.

*           Peer teaching & volunteers imparting education - Teaching is job/skill which only a skilled trained teacher can do. This peer teaching & volunteers entry would disturb the whole system  of education completely. Volunteers are never treated irresponsible for any duty. Thus it should not be.

*           Govt. should strengthen the public education system. But the private schools who are already advancing rapidly, NEP-2020 opens the door for further extensive privatization, including schools run by so called 'true philanthropic institutions, NEP-2020 also provides for "Alternate models of Education." NEP allows relaxations on inputs and self regulation to all non-government schools. This all will undermine the public education system. STFI demands to strengthen the public education system only & no parallel system should be there.

*           NEP proposes the socio economically disadvantage groups (SEDG) including differently able children would be taught mainly through National & State open schools (NIOS/SIOS). This will create further discrimination among them. Instead of it special arrangements with in the common public education system, should be done for them.

*           NEP-2020 proposes for common All India exams for grades 3, 5, 8, 10th & 12th. This is also violation of RTE & state structure. Again need to mention that education is in concurrent list. This responsibility should be left with state govts. & here also only 10th & 12th std. exams should be taken that also on annual basis.

*           In NEP-2020 proposal some hidden agendas' are also seen. As NEP says knowledge of Indian Society and culture, "Indian knowledge system" but in whole document 'secularism' word doesn't occur even once. Similarly critical thinking, scientific temper and constitutional values are also not given due space in it. Actually these should be the major pillars of any "National Education Policy".

*           Vocational Education :- No doubt this is very much important for a child. But it should be imparted from 9th std. Moreover this vocational education would be meaningless if the required infrastructure in not made available. Atleast at each distt. headquarter industries should be developed. Placement of students should be a practice from institution level in 12th std. at least. Our system should not only prepare cheep labour for capitalist.

*           Library at school & village level :- NEP-2020, propose for libraries at school & village level. At school level they are already, need is to improve them in every respect. Standard of books, literature, budget, distribution & ensuing that students are benefited. A librarian post & posting must be in every institution.

            Proposal of village level library is also welcomed. But this should be under the Panchayati Raj & same infrastructure should be made available.

            The most important thing is that, what kind of material will be available there. It must be ensured that there would be progressive, scientific temper, moral, democratic & constitutional values containing books & other material would be provided. The book should increase harmony among society i.e. multi culture, religion, region etc. which is the strength of the Nation. No superstitions & unscientific or such which spread hate, material, books should be allowed in these libraries.

*           Health :- NEP-2020, also proposes to check health of 100% children in school. This practice also actually already exist in our school education system, but is merely on paper work at most of the institutions. No proper monitoring is there. STFI, submission is that this health check up, should be under the charge of health department of the respective state. History of each & every student should be recorded & those students who requires any kind of extra assistance in any field they should be provide that, well in time. It may be notorious food, equipments etc. They must be encouraged & treated as normal children.

*           Teachers :-

(i)         Qualifications & other requirements for new appointment. NEP proposes that 4 years integrated B.Ed. degree with one subject specialization would be compulsory for nursery to 12th std. teachers. This is not understandable, present system has NTT, D.El.Ed., B.El.Ed., & B.Ed. These are separate diplomas & degree for separate age group of children. Lakhs of youth are having these diplomas & degrees. Thus separate qualification for separate std. according to their pedagogy should stand.

            2nd objectionable issue here is the centralized exam in NEP, here is the provision for "Teacher Eligibility Test" (TET) for all levels from foundation to 12th. The required diploma or degree should be sufficient for eligibility of a teacher.

            NEP doesn't address to those large number of teachers who are working for past many years, through their respective state govt. recruitment policy, but are not having required professional qualifications. They must also be considered & adjusted in the system.

(ii)        Working Teachers :-

            NEP-2020 proposals deny the annual increment or fixed encasement in salary after 365 days service & also deny the promotion on seniority basis. This is totally against law of nature. It propose both on the basis of "Good work done". No doubt good work done by anyone should not be ignored, but this "good work" should be regarded by extra benefits like extra encasement in salary, extra promotion or increase in length of service. Thus the existing system & natural law of yearly increment & promotion on seniority should be continue as it. And 'Good work' judgment should be totally transparently.

            In service, training should be must, but the required infrastructure for this should be made available. Moreover this should also be planned, when a teacher is on training his/her students may not suffer, without teacher.

            Online education or training are only a tool, to be used in very special circumstances as present pandemic, but it should not be a permanent practice.

            In all STFI, School Teachers' Federation of India, places before you the some drawbacks & shortcoming of the NEP-2020. Keeping in view the interest of children, society, Nation & teachers, STFI requests you to do the needful & make it sure that NEP-2020 would be a complete policy, which can face the challenges of 21st century.

                                                   Abhijit Mukharjee,       CN Bharti

                                                          President,      General Secretary

                                                           9732315656,      9466861373