CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, asking him if the new National Education Policy sought to end the reservation policy in the educational institutions.
In the letter, Yechury highlighted how the NEP had no mention of reservations for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Class communities, and the differently-abled.
Approved by the Union cabinet in July, the NEP replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education framed in 1986. It is aimed at paving the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems.
“I am writing this letter to highlight one particular issue which is causing great anxiety especially among SC, ST, OBC communities and the disabled,” Yechury said. “It is truly shocking that NEP 2020 makes no mention of reservations for these sections, either for admissions or for appointments to teaching and non-teaching positions.”
In fact, even the word ‘reservation’ does not appear anywhere in the policy document. This has led to widespread concern whether this act of omission is deliberate, conveying the intention to reverse many decades of efforts to integrate quality, quantity, and equity in the education system, according to Yechury.
The CPI(M) leader sought Modi’s response to a set of questions, which the former said were pertinent aspects that need to be discussed.
“Does NEP 2020 seek to end the policy of reservations for SC, ST, OBC, and disabled in educational institutions? If not, could you please clarify as to why NEP2020 does not contain any mention of reservations?,” Yechury asked.
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He alleged that various elements of the NEP were being rolled out in different parts of the country in an ad-hoc “piecemeal manner” without discussing with important stakeholders — state governments (education is on the concurrent list), students, teachers, non-teaching staff and experts.
“This is creating grave uncertainties and confusion about the actual direction proposed for the Indian Education system under this new policy, by your government,” he added.