Maharashtra-based trade unions representing teaching staff will join the All-India strike called by 10 trade unions across the country on November 26, 2020. Protesting the several ‘anti-people’ legislations (farm sector, privatisation of public sector units etc.) imposed by the government during the current health and economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the unions are also demanding the withdrawal of the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) which they say “will cause irreparable harm to the equity and access of education”.
Opposing the implementation of the NEP 2020, trade unions say the new education policy will lead to the end of public funded education as its ICT based online education and autonomous structure would favour the elite class while systematically breaking the post-independence education structure set up by the Kothari Commission in 1966. The Union’s list of grievances states, “The NEP 2020 violates the constitutional mandates of the policy of Reservation and Right to free and compulsory education act |(RTE) (2009)”. Without these safeguards, inclusive education especially for rural, tribal, backward class, minority and other marginalized section students in the country will get compromised, believe teachers’ unions.
Unions also fear the NEP 2020’s over emphasis on large institutions with high enrolment will lead to closure of thousands of schools and colleges with a large section of students forced to take up non-formal or distance education.
“Not only will this lead to a sharp rise in the students’ drop-out rates from schools and higher-education institutions, but teaching and non-teaching staff too will also be open to rampant manipulation by school and college managements. They will be further pushed into ad-hoc/contractual appointments that pay a pittance as salaries and give no job guarantees,” says a teacher supporting the protest on condition of anonymity.
As representative organisations of teachers (schools, colleges and universities) within Maharashtra, the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO), Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (MFUCTO), Shikshak Bharti and the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU) have all expressed their solidarity with the ‘All-India Strike’. While the Trade Union Joint Action Committee (TUJAC) and the Samanvay Samiti of government employees are spearheading the strike in Maharashtra, representatives of BUCTU and Shikshak Bharti will hold a demonstration at Mumbai University campus on November 26.
Also read:News, States