Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah on Friday urged the state government to withdraw its decision to implement the new National Education Policy (NEP).
He claimed the intention behind the NEP is to indoctrinate students with the idea of communalism through education, and that it alsoinfringes upon the autonomy of states over education and universities.
The former Chief Minister was responding to a letter written by the office of Minister of Higher Education C N Ashwath Narayan informing about the implementation of the new National Education Policy and seeking an appointment with the Leader of Opposition to discuss the same.
"It is to be noted that the government has already decided and inaugurated to implement the said policy from the current academic year, without any discussion with the students, teachers, education experts or opposition. It is not correct to call for discussion now after inaugurating the implementation," Siddaramaiah said in his letter to Narayan.
Noting that policy change in matters like education and health are not small issues, he said detailed deliberations should have been initiated democratically before drafting such issues with wide implications.
"India has a high student to teacher ratio which should come down for the benefit of students. Also the government allocation for education as a percentage of GDP is very low. The NEP also recommends the allocation to education to be at 6 per cent of GDP. So then Karnataka should allocate about Rs 1.08 lakh Crore," he added.
Pointing out that there are many objections and concerns about NEP, Siddaramaiah said it violates federal arrangements and infringes upon the autonomy of States over education and universities.
"It promotes privatisation leading to inequality and social injustice. The intention is to indoctrinate students with the idea of communalism through education. NEP is unscientific and will push lakhs of students to darkness," he was quoted as saying in a release by his office, sharing the contents of the letter.
Further, suggesting that the government should have discussed and debated these issues before the implementation, the Congress Legislature Party leader said, NEP decides the future of many students shaping their next 70-80 years.
"Education is a tool for social elevation for many marginalised sections. Has BJP implemented NEP to prevent this elevation of social status among marginalised sections?" he asked.
"If there has to be a debate about NEP in good spirit, I urge the government to withdraw the implementation of NEP immediately and we will come for discussion about that. If, after deliberations, NEP is found to be good, we will support the government to implement NEP.
Otherwise, the government will have to take the burden of pushing lakhs of people to misery," he added.