Mohan Bhagwat is Right, Time’s Running Out for New Education Policy But Autonomy Concerns Remain

New Delhi, October 20, 2018: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Vijaydashami speech touched a wide array of topics from 2019 elections to Rafale to Sabarimala, and beyond. Amid all these ‘hot issues’, his disappointment over the New Education Policy (NEP) was almost lost according to reports published in news18.com

Bhagwat lamented over the delay in the launch of the NEP and pointed out that time was running out.

The RSS chief has expressed his displeasure over the delay several times in the past too but the HRD ministry continues to hold “wider consultations” over the draft and is discussing it with various stakeholders.

News 18.com has learnt that a meeting of the New Education Policy committee took place on October 7 when representatives from seven BJP-ruled states gave their opinion on the draft New Education Policy.

As a follow up of the last meeting, the panel headed by K Kasturirangan will meet again on October 20 in Bengaluru to work on some of the suggestions.

Concern over the degree of autonomy to be given in higher education was one of the key issues raised. Many stakeholders holders were worried that there might be unnecessary “privatisation in education”.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar was present in the meeting along with representative from seven states—Vinod Tawde from Maharashtra, Suresh Bhardwaja from Himachal Pradesh, Rambilas Sharma from Haryana, Dinesh Sharma from Uttar Pradesh, Kiran Maheshwari from Rajasthan, Bhupendra Singh Chudasama from Gujarat and governor Anandiben Patel from Madhya Pradesh.

The representatives were of the view that the degree of “autonomy” being proposed for higher education institutes might lead to “privatisation” and could be reworked to make education accessible for all.

The HRD ministry though has been batting for autonomy, and has in the past given autonomy to the IIMs and graded autonomy to the universities and colleges.

At the time of granting ‘graded autonomy’ to 52 universities there was an uproar within the academia. Delhi University Teachers’ Association and Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA) had organised “March to Education” in Delhi according to news18.com

New18.com contacted several members of the NEP committee seeking details about the meeting but they declined to comment.

The committee is expected to submit the NEP draft by October 31 2018. Javadekar has said on several occasions that it is a policy based document from 2020 to 2040 meant to educate a generation.

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