IOS Discussion on National Education Policy-2019 Document

November 12, 2019 at Institute Building, 162, Jogabai, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi

A discussion on the National Education Policy-2019 Document was organised by the Institute of Objective Studies at its conference hall on November 12, 2019 to deliberate on the points inimical to the cause of education.

Initiating the discussion, vice-chairman of IOS and professor of law, GGSIP University, Prof. M. Afzal Wani, held that the proposed policy went against the spirit of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). If the new policy document was adopted in its present form, it would defeat the very purpose of education, he said.

Education consultant Naaz Khair, made ten points to explain the loop holes in the new policy document. Pleading against forcible imposition of a majoritarian ideology through education, she said that contribution of veteran educationists like, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad found no mention in it.

She expressed concern over the dilution of specialisation which was bound to cause irreparable damage to the practice and profession of teaching. The policy sought to revamp the education system by revising the curricula in a big way. Linguistic superiority was being imposed by way of introducing Sanskrit at every level while Urdu found a place in section-3 only.

This was obviously discriminatory and needed to be rectified. She noted that the budget earmarked for education was mandated to be 6 per cent of the GDP, but it had now been cut drastically. This exposed the indifference of the government to education.

Instead of putting more resources in place, the government was laying stress on online education. Universities were being asked to generate resources and save money for conducting their affairs. The government was unwilling to fund them. Moreover, public sector undertakings were being directed to fund educational institutions. To make the matters worse, more stress was laid on the teaching and study of compulsory subjects, she added.

Professor of political science, Aligarh Muslim University, Prof. Arshi Khan, opined that the whole exercise was part of a systematic operation aimed at cultural deprivation of Muslims. In the name of cultural reform, the politics of Chanakya and yoga, were being introduced to force “Indian religion” on students whether they belonged to Hindu religion or otherwise. He said that the present dispensation treated India as “punya bhoomi” (sacred land) of Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan. The entire exercise was made to glorify Hindu national pride.

He said that the philosophical aspect of the new education was questionable.

Professor of political science, AMU, Prof. Asmer Beg, said it was surprising that the term “secularism” was not mentioned even once in the entire document. The present policy planners argued that India was misunderstood and sought to reinterpret Article 30 of the Indian Constitution that guaranteed right to equality to every citizen irrespective of his caste, creed, and gender. A narrow vision of nationalism was being enunciated by calling everyone to come and contribute to nation building, he remarked.

Professor of political science, AMU, Prof. Aftab Alam of observed that the move of the UPA government to set up special education zones in the South, had been scrapped. The SEZ sought to open community-wise zones to benefit Muslim community which was educationally backward. This resulted in the loss of seats reserved for Muslims in educational institutions, which were pocketed by other categories up to 50 per cent. He regretted that nothing tangible had been done by the madarsas that were otherwise refined. They should be transformed from religious seminaries to centres of modern education, he suggested.

The Secretary General, IOS, Prof. ZM Khan, pointed out that education should not be made the exclusive preserve of government. There should be some way out of this impasse. Government control over education must end. We must think over the initiative that our community needs to take. He said that there was only 7 per cent unemployment among the youth in the South. But since they lacked specialisation and professionalism, they wanted to send their professionals to the North, he said.

The Finance Secretary, IOS, Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, brought to light the plight of Urdu and Sindhi under the present dispensation. Both languages were facing injustice since the days of Congress rule that was dominated by the Brahminical order which backed Hindi to the hilt.

He also referred to the discrimination against those Muslims who opted for the Sanskrit. He cited the current case of a Muslim teacher of Sanskrit who was not allowed to join as an assistant professor of the subject by students of Sanskrit department at Banaras Hindu University. He said that today many Hindus did not want to be called “secular”, but preferred to be called “liberal”. He added that culture meant Sanskritised culture. Religion has been replaced by a supposed “Indian religion”, which meant every religion except Islam.

He remarked that the government had meticulously planned to hand over education to private players. That was the reason why every private university had been asked to generate funds, he said.

Senior journalist and a member of the executive committee, Press Club of India, New Delhi, AU Asif, said that it was the singular contribution of Justice Suhail Aejaz Siddiqui who as head of the Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, granted recognition to around 10,000 minority educational institutions. It was a bold decision taken by the UPA government of Manmohan Singh, this facility was optimally utilised by the minority educational institutions run by Christians; he concluded.

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