The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 posed a threat to regional pluralities of the Indian education system by pushing through a general tendency of homogenisation, Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel has said.
Dr. Jaleel was addressing the annual Governors’ Conference on the NEP, hosted by the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which was also attended by State Education Ministers and eminent academicians on Monday.
Raising the State’s concerns towards the policy, he said it lacked provisions to ensure social justice and protect federalism which were the core pillars of the Constitution. Opining that the policy was announced without “meaningful discussions,” the Minister said the move was made by the Central government despite Education figuring on the concurrent list of the Constitution.
He flagged the lack of guidelines on financial assistance and grants offered by the Centre to the States to achieve the targeted Gross Enrolment Ratio of 50%. The States currently did not possess the financial capability to meet the expenses required to achieve the objectives of NEP 2020.
Dr. Jaleel said that the emergence of the proposed Higher Education Commission of India as a single regulatory system could render the sector “inaccessible” to the States. He added that the centralisation of research activities under the National Research Foundation could usher in a restrictive and biased system. The proposal to end the affiliation system in higher education and grant autonomy with degree granting powers to colleges could create academic chaos, considering most colleges were affiliated to State universities across the country.
While the idea to conduct a common entrance examination by the National Testing Agency for admission to higher education institutions might serve to reduce stress among students, Dr. Jaleel feared it could also make the sector inaccessible to large sections of society.