Published: 10th September 2020
NEP backlash: 100 educationists, IAS, IPS, write to TN CM demanding education be brought back to State List
The joint statement addressed to the Chief Minister, invokes the National Education Policy and its implications for the state
One hundred educationists, activists and civil society representatives came together to release a joint statement demanding that the Government of Tamil Nadu take necessary action to bring Education as a subject to the state list. The list of signatories include former Vice Chancellors, IAS and IPS officers, former judges, former principals and even a freedom fighter.
The joint statement, addressed to the Chief Minister, invokes the National Education Policy and its implications on the state. “Till date, the Government of Tamil Nadu has not expressed their stand with regard to NEP 2020. Even before the State Government decides on the policy issue, teachers who are the employees of the State Government are asked to give suggestions for the policy implementation process. There is an elected government in the State headed by the Chief Minister, which is responsible and answerable to the State Legislature and the people of the State. Ignoring the State Cabinet and by-passing the elected State Government, the Union Secretary has written the letter directly to the School Education Secretary with regard to the NEP 2020 implementation process, even before the Policy is placed before the Parliament for approval. This is a serious violation of the federal structure of India,” the signatories said.
They argued that this wasn’t just another routine administrative process and that it made a mockery of the Constitution and Parliamentary democracy and demanded that the letter be withdrawn. “The state government is urged to analyse the implications of the aforesaid letter. The government should immediately initiate wider consultation and announce its stand on the NEP 2020. 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. Strong 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. We earnestly request the state government 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 signatories advised.
They pointed out that originally education was a state subject in the Constitution and that in 1976, it was shifted to the Concurrent list. They argue that the NEP demolished the federal character of the country by promoting the centralisation by controlling all decision-making from primary to higher education. “The NEP was released after the approval of the Union Cabinet. It was not placed in the Parliament. Implementation of NEP would require new parliamentary legislation with the concurrence of the States/UTs. Implementation of NEP will usurp the Constitutional Right and duty of State/UT Governments to frame its own policies and programmes or enact laws concerning education, as per the needs and aspirations of the people of the State,” the statement said.
“Tamil Nadu has progressed well in the field of education. To carry forward the universalisation of education from pre-Primary to post-Doctoral levels by ensuring equitable access to quality education, the undersigned would urge the Government of Tamil Nadu to convene a Special Session of the State Legislative Assembly to discuss NEP and reject its provisions which are not in consonance with federal structure, social justice and equity. State Assembly also should adopt a unanimous resolution demanding transfer of Education as subject to List II in Seventh Schedule under Article 246 of the Constitution of India and take all consequent measures to ensure the same,” the letter said.
Some of the signatories include M Anandakrishnan, Former Vice Chancellor, Anna University and Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT, Kanpur, Vasanthi Devi, Former Vice Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, MG Devasahayam retired IAS, V Balachandran retired IPS, SP Ambrose, retired IAS, R Poornalingam retired IAS, Sashikant Senthil, IAS (Resigned),
Justice Hari Paranthaman, Retired High Court Judge, Chennai, Henri Tiphagne from People’s Watch & National Working Secretary, Human Rights Defenders Alert, Kodikkal Sheik Abdullah, a freedom fighter, Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary, SPCSS-TN, Dr CS Rex Sargunam, Retired Director and Superintendent, ICH & HC, Egmore Chennai, President, Tamilnadu Health Development Association, Dr Sylvia Karpagam, Public Health Doctor, Education activist, Dr J Amalorpavanathan, Social Activist besides various others including headmasters, teachers and activists.