NEP lacks clarity on implementation roadmap, strategy and finances: Congress

NEW DELHI: The Congress party on Sunday said the National Education Policy (NEP) was “‘high on catchwords, gloss, appearance and verbosity”, but lacked clarity on key issues like roadmap and strategy, and did not detail the scale of finances required to execute it.

The party, in its official statement, said the policy not only comes at a time of the coronavirus pandemic, but also circumvents parliamentary oversight indicating that it could raise the issue in the next session.

Congress’ views were expressed at joint press conference of senior leaders of the party including chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, former union minister Pallam Raju and Rajeev Gowda, chief of party’s research department. Some of the key concerns raised by Congress include lack of transparency in consultations, record of the union government’s public spending on education, pushing digital divide for the less privileged and impact on socially disadvantaged groups.

“The timing of the NEP 2020 in the middle of the Corona Pandemic when all educational institutions are closed is, in and of itself, questionable,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “On a policy that impacts and affects our present and future generations, even parliamentary oversight has been circumvented. Contrast this with the rigorous parliamentary and widespread consultation that preceded the Right to Education Act,” they added.

Congress’ views are significant as it comes in the backdrop of the Parliament session whose dates are not yet announced but is expected to take place in a month or so.

“There is thus a huge mismatch between promise and delivery with no clarity on whether NEP 2020 proposes financing of 6% of GDP to come from public funds or private investment,” the statement said.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new NEP that is expected to set the roadmap for the sector keeping in mind present employment scenario. This policy comes after almost three decades, and post deliberation of almost six years. It aims to reduce regulatory hassles and promote autonomy in the higher education sector, and make learning outcome a key part of India’s school sector.

“What about affirmative action. India over 70 years has put in a huge amount of effort to be inclusive and take care of the disadvantaged groups in terms of education and related job opportunities. In the new NEP there is skirting around on all these key issues. There is talk of special education zones but that will limit it to certain geographies,” Gowda said in the press conference adding that the advances made over several decades could be reversed if these concerns are not given centrestage in the policy.

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