Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress MP in Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday termed the National Education Policy 2020 a “backward-looking document’’ that looks “2,000 years back instead of planning and preparing our children for the future”.
Raising the issue in a Zero Hour mention in the Upper House, Kharge said, “Higher education cannot be based on ancient cultural values. State-run as well as state-aided institutes were always meant to be kept separate from religious institutions.”
“Moreover, the NEP does not address some key issues such as the dropout rate in schools with nearly 50 per cent students dropping out after Class X. Out of the dropouts, 33 per cent are Dalits, 35 per cent minorities and 16 per cent tribals. The government has not developed any plan to address this issue,’’ he said.
The Congress MP pointed out that the policy also did not address the urban-rural divide in education.
“By 2035, India will lose the advantage of its young population. It is time to look at the future within a short time period of 15 years. Priority should be on Maths, Science and English if we have to provide opportunity of development to children of rural and backward areas,” he said.
“Children belonging to weaker sections and rural areas are already facing disadvantage in NEET and JEE examinations. Indian culture will be learnt by students through their language and literature classes. Such kind of activism to promote a single culture of Sanskrit or Hindi by the Government will only keep backward children out of modern education,” he added.
Speaking about teachers, Kharge said, “The teachers are already burdened with several duties like elections, census, vaccination, etc. which makes it difficult for them to concentrate on teaching and it is impossible to improve the quality of education.”
NCP MP Vandana Chavan spoke on the need to upgrade the infrastructure for digital education in India, especially for students in rural areas. “
“In the month of July, during the lockdown, the death of Adarsh Harale from the district tehsil of Sangli made headlines in the state of Maharashtra. Adarsh was a 10th standard (student) who committed suicide when his father, a marginal farmer with meagre means, was not able to buy him a mobile phone for his online classes. Adarsh is a telling example of many such cases of deprivation and frustration of a large section of the student population all across our country,” she said, urging the government to upgrade the infrastructure on a war footing.
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