National Education Policy dilutes federal structure, says Bengal Education Minister

Such centralised policy will marginalise the role of the States, says Partha Chatterjee

The West Bengal government on Monday expressed its strong reservations against the National Education Policy (NEP). Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told the national conference on NEP chaired by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the policy tries to dilute the federal structure by trying to prescribe almost everything centrally.

Also read: The Hindu Explains | What has the National Education Policy 2020 proposed?

“Such centralised policy in a vast and diversified country like ours, if implemented without flexibility with the State governments, may not yield good results and may be regressive,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that proposals like “consolidation of higher education systems, centralisation of education by creating National Level Councils, despite education being in the Concurrent List, will only defeat various goals set in the NEP, 2020 and marginalise the role of the States”.

He also touched upon the issue of the Centre not mentioning whether 6% of the GDP will be adequate to meet the goals set by NEP or how the fund sharing will take place.

Also read: National Education Policy 2020 | Leave no child behind, bridge digital divide

Mr. Chatterjee also raised questions on why a “rich language” like Bengali has been excluded from the list of classical languages prescribed to be learnt by the students of middle schools. “This needs to be rectified, lest the entire clause should be removed from NEP, 2020,” he said.

Later, the Minister held a press conference and said the government was “not in favour of such hurried implementation of NEP in this COVID-19 scenario” without due consideration to our reservations.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also raised objections about the NEP saying the views of the State were not taken into consideration before coming up with it. The State government has set up a committee of prominent experts seeking their inputs on it.

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