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National Education Policy-2020 is silent on minorities’ educational issues: Webinar

India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 6—Various participants at a webinar on the “Impact of NEP-2020 on Minority Educational Institutions” organized by the Federation of Muslim Educational Institutions-India (FMEII) on Sunday expressed concern over the status of minority educational institutions under Article 30 of the Constitution as the final draft of the New Education Police-2020 is silent on this issue as also on ‘madrasas’ (Muslim religious seminaries) and reservation in admission to educational institutions, a policy that also benefitted a large section of minority communities besides members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes.

FMEII’s vice president Mr Nusrat Ali said that while the new policy talked of creating a central authority for education in the country, it maintained total silence on Article 30 of the Constitution that allowed minorities to establish and manage educational institutions that not only helped in providing education but promotion of their own language and culture. Drawing attention towards merging of smaller schools under NEP2020, he said that it did not make clear as to what would happen to minority schools as large number of schools run by minorities, particularly Muslims, were small. He demanded that the authorities should have made all these things clear, instead of keeping them vague.

Expressing serious concern over omitting the mention of the word ‘madrasa’ as also reservation from the NEP 2020, he said that a large number population of the minority communities were covered under reservation in educational institutions. It was not made clear in the new policy as to what would happen to ‘madrasas’ and reservation.

Stating that the NEP 2020 argued about allowing 100 top universities of the world to set up their campuses in India but it was silent if the reservation policy would extend to these institutions.

While appreciating the NEP 2020 for giving education upto Std 5 in the mother tongue of the children and increasing the education outlay to 6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, Mr Ali took exception to the draft that talks of contribution of ancient India to the education in the country and completely failing to mention the contributions during the medieval period, British period and after Independence. Stating that knowledge is not constant and keeps on changing and improving with the passage of time, he pointed out that several universities like Shantiniketan, BHU, AMU, JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia and other universities made immense contribution to the educational growth of India in post-Independent India. But the educational contributions of institutions in post-independent India had been totally neglected in the final draft.

Stating “ideological concerns” over the new policy, he also pointed out that minorities in India were having their own rich history and played a significant role in contributing to educational growth but these, unfortunately, did not find space in the new education policy draft.

P A Inamdar, President of the Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society that run dozens of education institutions in Pune, felt that that the NEP 2020 and educational rights of minority communities protected under Article 30 of the Constitution were not related. He wanted the government to set up at least one government school in every one kilometre radius to achieve the goal of education for all. He also argued for making students proficient in spoken English and computer literacy as the concept of education was changing from the traditional to digital system.

Stating that the entire focus of the NEP 2020 seemed to be making a paradigm shift from the existing pattern of education to what the policy says as “decolonization” of education, Fr Sunny Jacob expressed disappointment that the NEP 2020 has omitted the contribution of Christians and other minorities in education in India. He said that the new policy has also ignored the glorious progress in education made during the post-Independence period.

He, however, appreciated the policy for introducing elements like diversity, equity and inclusion, community participation, use of technology and innovation and creativity in the new education programme of the country.

Stating that the NEP 2020 was discriminatory to the minorities, Dr. Nirmal Jain, Principal of the Hiralal Jain Senior Secondary School, said that while it talked of making Indian into a global knowledge super-power, the 62-page policy document did not talk of ‘Muslim madrasas’ even once.

Former Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) chairman Kamaal Faruqi, retired Controller of Examination of Delhi University D S Jaggi and former DMC member Harvinder Kaur also participated in the webinar.

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