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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

The New Education Policy appeases minorities to extreme levels, will impede nation-building

The New Education Policy (NEP) is being hailed in various quarters. While it does contain some good reforms on paper, a careful scrutiny reveals that, very much like earlier drafts, it grants excessively special privileges to minorities.

Creates a new category SEDG to include minorities along with SC/ST, OBC etc.

NEP creates a category “SEDG”, i.e. Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups, and includes minorities in it, besides SCs, STs, OBC, etc. Since the existing educational system already has enabling provisions for SC, ST, OBC, and girls, the purpose of creating this new category “SEDG” is specifically to appease minorities. This is made clear in 6.2.4 (emphasis added):

“Minorities are also relatively underrepresented in school and higher education. The Policy acknowledges the importance of interventions to promote education of …all minority communities, and particularly those communities that are educationally underrepresented”.

Thus, Christians, who are not educationally weak and in fact are already privileged in terms of running schools & colleges due to  Article 30(1) of Constitution and other factors, are also entitled to special benefits through this policy. This is dangerous, and must be reversed.

Directs Government to provide Cash Transfers and Special Scholarships

The new policy requires the government to provide special scholarships and cash transfers for minorities (and other SEDGs). Section 6.4 clearly says(emphasis added):

“there have been various successful … schemes such as … scholarships, conditional cash transfers … that have significantly increased participation of SEDGs in the … schooling system. … These successful schemes must be significantly strengthened across the country”.

Recommends Special Education Zones for Muslims

Section 6.6 states:

“regions of the country with large populations from educationally-disadvantaged SEDGs should be declared Special Education Zones”.

We do not have such concentrated areas for Divyangas and or Kinnaras, etc. Thus, the policy implies that Muslim-dominated areas will be primary beneficiary of such zones. This is a continuation of the sectarian MsDP (Multi-sectoral Development Plan) scheme introduced by UPA in minority-concentration districts.

Government will Fund Madrasas

Section 6.15 of NEP states:

“alternative forms of schools, will be encouraged to preserve their traditions or …pedagogical styles”.

Now it is only the Muslims among SEDGs, which run alternative forms of schools. Thus, through the NEP, madrasas will be encouraged so that Muslims can preserve their traditions and maulvi-based education system. Further, madrasas will get “financial assistance … to introduce science, mathematics, social studies..” but only “as may be desired by these schools”.

Madrasa students can appear for Board Exams

The new policy brings madrasas at par with regular schools by further stating in Section 6.15 that “students in such schools would be encouraged to appear for … Board examinations …, and thereby enrol in higher education institutions”. Thus, Muslim community will have zero incentive to send their children to regular schools.

Culture of Regular Schools will be changed to force acceptance of extremist views in name of ‘inclusion and equity’

Section 6.19 states “a change in school culture (of entire) school education system” and 6.20 states “changes in school curriculum” will be implemented to promote “inclusion and equity”. Clearly, such changes will not happen in madrasa schools, as “alternative forms of schools” have to be “encouraged”. The policy also promotes targeted hiring of teachers and leaders from minorities (and other SEDGs).

Such one-way and misplaced “generosity” is dangerous, it promotes separatist mindsets even further, equates separatism with right to dissent, and dilutes our national character.

Minorities Continue to Get Privileges Even at College Level

Section 14 of the NEP is replete with schemes to privilege minorities thru the terminology of SEDG over others. These include provision of funds, creation of minority-specific colleges and universities, provision of special scholarships (14.4.2.b), relaxation of norms for admissions (14.4.2.d), and even modification of curriculum (14.4.2.e).


New Education Policy 2020

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