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One lakh schools closed down, draft policy 'seeks' commercialisation: Whither RTE?

By Our Representative
A national consultation on the new draft National Education Policy (NEP) with senior experts, teachers’ association representatives and other stakeholders at the India International Centre in New Delhi on July 11, organised by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, has expressed serious concern over curtailment in the budgeted expenditure on education year after year, even as closure of more than one lakh schools over the "last few years."
Wondering how could the dream of universalisation of education be realised by stoking commercialisation, Ambarish Rai, national convener, RTE Forum, asked, at a time when government schools are closing down under various pretexts, how would the dream of universalisation of education will be realised? "There is a apprehension that the draft new policy will encourage commercialisation of education by favouring low-cost private schools”, he said.
Underlining the importance of consultation on NEP in this context, Rai said, “We agree that there is a need for NEP. It was due since long. The last national education policy came in 1986. And it was revised in 1992. Since then, significant changes of far-reaching effects have taken place both nationally and internationally."
"The most important among them are the advances made in the areas of technology, particularly information and communication technologies, which have a bearing on the kind of education that is most relevant and on the modality of providing such education", he added.
Addressing the gathering, Prof Muchkund Dubey, former foreign secretary, said, “A new education policy shouldn’t be adopted at the cost of or divert attention from the recent advances made in the realm of school education policy. The most important among them is the adoption of the RTE Act. Because of this Act, elementary education is now a fundamental right.”
Prof Dubey, who is also president of the Council for Social Development, added, “In any case, we cannot accept any dilution in the RTE Act. In the preamble as well as in the draft report, it is stated that in school education, India has pursued equity and access at the cost of quality. This assertion is not based on facts. We have to take into account attendance and dropout rates also.”
The assertion that India has encouraged equity and access to school education at the cost of quality is not based on facts
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Jagmohan Singh Rajput, India’s representative to the executive board of UNESCO, said that running away from existing problems won’t serve any purpose. Education is an area where we have to pay our utmost attention immediately. “We are not looking at education practically", he asserted.
"We will not reach anywhere without reforming our education system. In that context, we can’t overlook or ignore Indian tradition of gaining knowledge. Today, nobody is talking about academic leadership, which has been ruined over the years. It’s highly unfair that academicians had no significant say in formulating policies related to education in the past. Education had been left at the mercy of non – academicians, particularly bureaucrats”, Prof Raiput said.
“It’s imperative that the NEP should be formulated in such a manner that it encourages positive work culture and devotion to the nation. For this, reevaluation of curriculum after every five years is required,” he added.
Shatrughan Prasad Singh, ex-MP and general secretary, Bihar Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh, said, “Teachers are key component of education system. But it’s very sad that teachers are more engaged in non – teaching works than their actual duty of teaching."
He added, "In that context, we can praise this draft as it also discards non-teaching works for teachers. But in totality, this draft is lopsided. It keeps mum on a commission for teachers’ appointment. Such commission is very essential for ensuring teachers’ prestige. Commission for teachers’ appointment. Such commission is very essential for ensuring teachers’ prestige.”
Prof Poonam Batra of the Delhi University said, “The draft of the proposed NEP is full of positive notes. It promises for the extension of the ambit of the Right to Education 2009. It also talks about foundational learning. But in reality, it doesn’t prescribe any concrete positive mechanism for the ground. In fact, this draft encourages inequity in the field of education."
Others participants included Prof Anita Rampal, formerly at the Delhi University; Ramchandra Begur, education specialist, UNICEF; Prof. AK Singh, associate professor, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration; Dr Neerja Shukla, former head, Department of Education of Groups with Special Needs, National Council of Educational Research and Training; Sanjeev Rai, adjunct professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Rampal Singh, president, All-India Parent-Teachers' Federation; and Dr Bhola Paswan, Bihar Arajpatrit Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh.

Comments

Rakesh Chaudhary said…
How u arrived at figure of 1 lac? Can u explainvthe source or u r also like Rafale Gandhi who just fire in air without Bullet?

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