‘New education policy draft misses out on critical thinking, deeper understanding’

Participants at a seminar organised by Muslim Students Federation on Draft National Education Policy fear school/college curricula would be riddled with religious texts instead of a secular education

The seminar on National Education Policy was organised at Constitution Club, New Delhi on July 17, 2019.
The seminar on National Education Policy was organised at Constitution Club, New Delhi on July 17, 2019.

NH Web Desk

The new Draft National Education Policy drafted by Kasturirangan Committee and submitted to the Union HRD Ministry on May 31 this year is in direct contrast to the prevailing National Policy on Education, 1986, which categorically stated: “All educational programmes will be carried on in strict conformity with secular values."

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 stated that among the social values within which we locate our educational aims, the first is a “commitment to democracy and the values of equality, justice, freedom, concern for others’ well-being, secularism, respect for human dignity and rights."

While the draft National Education Policy 2019 lacks the goal of critical thinking and deeper understanding on one hand, the omission of secularism as an objective in National Education Policy on the other hand is “frightening”, said the panelists which included prof. Rajeev Gowda, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, Haris bin Zaman and prof. Basheer Ahamed.

“It is a badly written document which hides behind a plethora of terms that are half-understood and clubbed under the overarching master concept of ‘skill. In short, the policy lacks depth and loses focus of the richness of secular democratic ideals by aiming for 21st century skills,” the MSF said in a statement after the seminar.

“We have valid apprehension that the Policy is designed to inject the majoritarian ideology of the ruling party into the educational system of India.

The words ‘secular’ or ‘secularism’ are not found anywhere in the National Education policy. This constitutes a departure from the existing model of secular education in the country and violates constitutional guarantee that states that “no religious instruction is to be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of state funds (Article 28 (1)),” it said.

The panellists noted with concern that the exclusion of Christian and Islamic traditions of India is consistent whenever moral instruction is discussed in the National Education Policy.

Adnan Abu Al Hija, Ambassador of Palestine to India was the chief guest at the event that was attended by IUML National General Secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty, P.V. Abdul Wahab, Navas Kani, C.K. Zubair, Adv Haris Beeran, T.P. Ashrafali, S.H. Mohammed Arshad and P.V. Ahamed Saju.

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