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Karnataka: Experts disappointed over roll back of NEP 2020

August 23, 2023
Reshma Ravishanker 

The Congress-ruled Karnataka government’s decision to scrap the National Education Policy 2020 sans consultations has invited severe criticism from educationists.

On Monday, deputy chief minister D K Shivakumar, in a statement said that the decision to scrap NEP 2020 was taken after consulting with vice chancellors and several state government officials. The state now proposes to form an expert committee that will draft a state education policy.

Academicians and politicians alike disagreed that the state’s move to roll back the policy is not in the best interest of students.

Maya Menon, founder-director, Teacher Foundation, a Bengaluru-based teacher development organization opined, “I think it is the prerogative of every state government to decide on the scope of education it wants to impart to its children and youth. However, it shouldn’t be a case of ‘throwing the baby with the bath water’.

“It would have helped if the government had constituted a committee of education experts from the state and consulted them to recommend what could be the way forward for Karnataka – for school education as well as vocational and higher education. It is vital that we DON’T take decisions about education that are emanating from political expediency. Education is an area that far outlives serving governments.”

D Shashikumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Private Schools in Karnataka said that even as the government could have the right to take decisions as education is a state subject, consultations are necessary.

“We must not forget that by and large, the NEP vision was mostly a derivative of Karnataka’s education system when the congress system was in power. The Karnataka Knowledge Commission’s recommendations were similar. At the national platform, it was served as old wine in a new bottle.  

Why was there such a hue and cry when NEP was not even implemented for primary and secondary education? The first three chapters are all about children’s rights and basic necessities. No appropriate   government should not oversee this. NEP is not bad overall. State should have only rectified some aspects that they disagreed with on an implementation level. For instance Chapter 1-3, chapter 8 have no political intent and are well justified. Any democratic government would have had consultations with representatives from school education before arriving at such a decision,” he said. 

Responding to the state’s decision, union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, “What kind of politics (do) they want to play? Let politics take its own route and the Karnataka government should not play with the futures of the young generation.”

The minister also posed questions for Shivakumar. “Does he and the Congress oppose early childhood care and education as a part of formal education? Does he not want our children to achieve foundational literacy and numeracy by the time they complete grade 2? “Does he oppose localised Indian toys, games and play-based learning for our children? Does he oppose education in Kannada and other Bharatiya bhasha (language)? Does he not want examinations such as NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test), CUET (Common University Entrance Test), JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) to be conducted in Bharatiya bhasha, including Kannada, in a transparent manner?” Pradhan questioned.

(Inputs from PTI) 

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