Published: 24th August 2020
Mixed reactions as Dept of School Education seeks suggestions from teachers on implementation of NEP
Prince Gajendra Babu, a Chennai-based education activist, pointed out that it did not make sense to ask for suggestions when the Tamil Nadu state government itself has not taken stand on NEP
The Department of School Education and Literacy is now calling for suggestions from school teachers and principals from across the country on how to take the forward the implementation of the National Education Policy. The Department has sent a letter to the School Education Secretary by Anita Karwal, IAS, Secretary of the Department.
The letter states that in order to simplify the process by which teachers can give suggestions to the ministry, the feedback is being called on each theme of the NEP related to school education through a question-answer process. “The questions are framed in such a manner that teachers can relate to them from their experiences as teachers and classroom transactions. Each question also gives reference to the paragraph of NEP to which refers to, to enable the teacher to read the same for better understanding fo the policy before uploading suggestions,” the letter said. The suggestions, however, are only being invited between August 24 and August 30, which gives teachers and principals only six days.
All the suggestions that are received will be examined by a team of experts from NCERT. The Department will also be contacting individuals personally if they find that the suggestions are found useful and are selected to be incorporated in the National Curriculum framework or in the implementation plan. After logging into the link, the teachers and principals can first register their details and then browse through the chapter-wise questions and give suggestions on as many areas as they deem fit. “We hope that teachers will give suggestions based on their own experiences and learnings. This will add value and richness to this whole exercise. States and Union Territories are requested to disseminate this widely amongst all teachers in the state. They may hold video conferences on priority, send texts to WhatsApp groups,” the Department directed.
Prince Gajendra Babu, a Chennai-based education activist pointed out that it did not make sense to ask for suggestions when the Tamil Nadu state government itself has not expressed its stand on the NEP. He also said that the implementation of NEP may require parliamentary legislation and in effect could many many laws with regard to education, enacted by the State Legislature, infructuous. “NEP was released after the approval of the Union Cabinet. It was not placed in Parliament. The implementation of NEP will deprive the Right of State governments to frame its own policies. Even before the state government decides on the policy issue, teachers who are employees of the state are being asked to give suggestions,” he said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
Babu demanded the letter be withdrawn because it violates the Constitution, “This is now a routine administrative exercise. It is concerned with a policy that will have far-reaching effect on the power of the state government and legislature.” He urged the Chief Minister to analyse the implications of the letter and having a wider consultation and announce the state’s stand on NEP. “ In the past, based on the Constitutional Amendment, Panchayat Raj Act was passed. The Act empowered the Union Government to give the grants straight to the Local Bodies ignoring the State Government. Strongest protest by the State Governments forced the Union Government to make suitable amendments to the Act and the funds granted for Local Bodies got routed through the State Governments. State Platform for Common School System- TN earnestly requests the Government of Tamil Nadu to stand firm with the same spirit and commitment to protect the rights of the State Government, to uphold the Parliamentary Democracy and carry forward the social justice measures,” the activist wrote.