Delhi University Teachers’ Association on Friday criticised the Draft National Education Policy (DNEP), saying it paves the way “for handing education entirely over to the markets”. The teachers’ body submitted its detailed feedback on the policy recommendations on higher education contained in the DNEP to the HRD ministry.
“Through its feedback, DUTA has slammed the thin and uninformed recommendations made in the DNEP that favour extreme centralisation of command, transfer all local, state-level and parliamentary decision-making prerogatives to the executive authority of the union government, and pave the way for handing education entirely over to the markets,” the teachers’ body said.
The DNEP talks about the need for expansion in education infrastructure and teachers, but does not bind the government to any financial commitment; instead it makes a purely abstract case for privatisation, expansion through online digital learning and financial autonomy of institutions, DUTA said.
In doing so, it completely ignores questions of justice ? especially institutional responsibility in ensuring social and professional justice to students, teachers and non-teaching employees, it added.
“There is nothing original in the DNEP. Its operative part is wholly derived from the NITI Aayog’s three-year action agenda. In fact, the DNEP’s recommendations will only exacerbate all the existing problems in institutions - ranging from growing contractualisation in appointments, erosion of participative decision-making, etc,” they alleged.
DUTA also alleged that the DNEP has “eliminated teachers’ role in statutory decision-making and policy interventions”.
“Its advocacy of autonomous unitary institutions in place of large, federally-governed institutions is guided as much by the intention to make education a business, as it is to dismember sizeable collectives of teachers such as DUTA that have critiqued policies of commercialisation,” they said.
Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union, along with student organisations, students from Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Ambedkar University, protested outside the HRD Ministry and demanded the rejection of DNEP, 2019.
Students alleged the DNEP is part of government’s “dangerous design” to shut down government schools and colleges, invite foreign universities, reimpose self-financing in the name of graded autonomy, dilution of Right to Education Act, 2009 and absence of secularism in constitutional principles to be taught to students.
JNUSU appealed to students all over India to write to the HRD ministry rejecting the DNEP by July 31.
N Sai Balaji, JNUSU president, said, “The new education policy is new exclusion policy of Modi 2.0. Continuing its attack on higher education Modi government wants to hand over our education to foreign universities like it has handed over our economy to corporate loot by MNCs.”