A section of academicians on Friday stressed the need for a movement like the one spearheaded by farmers against three agriculture laws to demand a rollback of the National Education Policy (NEP), which they said makes a “mockery of the education system”.
The Left-affiliated All India Students’ Association (AISA) organised a public meeting on Friday on the NEP and to announce its campaign against it. At the meeting, professor Syed Irfan Habib said, “This government and this NEP seek to saffronise our whole culture and our daily lives.”
He said that there needs to be a huge movement, similar to the one spearheaded by the farmers against the three contentious farm laws, to demand that the NEP be rolled back. “Today, there is a danger to our brotherhood and education. It is a matter of sadness that we could only partiality achieve the objectives of equality…. We have come back to those challenges that were there after the partition. A divisive ideology is being taught,” he added.
“I do not think that a small movement will do anything. This government will only take note of a movement like the one that was spearheaded by the farmers for a year. We will have to wage a battle like the farmers. The fight for a rollback of the NEP has to be fought on a similar level,” Habib said. Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha also sought inspiration from the farmers’ movement.
He also said that the NEP is like a disclaimer document of mutual funds, which has many risks. “Parliament is just a building and since the old building had wandering souls, they decided to construct a new one. Do not trust Parliament. Farmers did not trust Parliament. They issued a whip. I had said one day, the farm laws would be repealed but I did not know that those would be repealed while we are alive,” the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader said.
He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not afraid of parliament but is afraid of people taking to the streets. Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) president Moushumi Basu said education has to be made a political issue and the students and the teachers have to start a movement like the farmers did.
Delhi University (DU) professor Ratan Lal said the NEP contains “high-sounding phrases” and makes a “mockery” of education. “In the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Delhi University, some portions of the policy are being implemented. If professors raise their voice, they face so-called disciplinary action,” he said.
Another DU professor, Nandita Narain, concurred with Lal, saying the policy is all rhetoric. Speaking of the ills of online education, she said the NEP enforces it. The AISA announced the start of a 50-day campaign against the NEP, culminating in a “Parliament gherao” programme during the budget session from all over the country.
“The movement will take up different activities all over the country, including collecting signatures and staging protests on all campuses,” the students’ body said in a statement.