Published: 10th November 2021
Move aside protests, hello resistance fest: How the SFI is changing the protest paradigm in style
Several political, educational and student organisations have been protesting against NEP and NEET for some time now. Up until now, it is only Tamil Nadu that will come out with an alternative for NEP
Disaffection towards the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP) and incessant problems with the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) has made the Students' Federation of India start a Festival of Resistance across the country. Even though the event includes the word 'festival', it would be unwise to associate it with food as the student unionists would be on an intense Satyagraha for at least one day, November 11, in various parts of the country — this will involve a hunger strike.
The General Secretary of SFI, Mayukh Biswas, said, "We would be protesting at places with enough footfalls such as railway stations and bus stands in different parts of the country." On November 14, which is celebrated as Childrens' Day in memory of Jawaharlal Nehru, SFI is planning to observe a 'Save Anganwadi Day' which would be a protest against the poor implementation of schemes like midday meal and Integrated Child Development Services. "This is also a part of our protest against NEP," Biswas said. The resistance against NEP and NEET will go on from November 11-15, the festival will resume again on November 19 and put the spotlight on the farmer's struggle against the Centre's three farm laws.
How effective are these protests?
Several political, educationists and student organisations have been protesting against NEP and NEET for some time now but there has been little to no change in terms of the policy. So will the festival really make a difference? That's a contentious question, but they do believe that there is strength in numbers. Biswas said that restrictions on movements have started easing in many places and the plan is the gradually intensify the protest in collaboration with other unions and outfits. "We are gradually planning to intensify it under the banners of organisations like Joint Forum for Movement on Education, where different groups with one cause would be protesting against the Centre's education policies."