Published: 09th April 2022
NEP a throwback to Kulakkalvi days in TN, claims Dravidar Kazhagam leader
K Veeramani, President of the Dravidar Kazhagam, has claimed that the centre's education policies such as the NEP, NEET and CUET rob economically weaker sections of education opportunities
Tamil Nadu's Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) has made its displeasure clear about the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) which has been made compulsory for admissions into UG programmes in central universities from this academic year by the University Grants Commission (UGC). K Veeramani, President of DK said that students from economically weaker sections, students of the state board syllabus and students from rural areas will find it difficult to get admission into "even BA or MA courses".
The Dravidar Kazhagam is a social movement to address the discrepancies created by the caste system in Tamil Nadu. At a public meeting held in Thanjavur on the night of Friday, April 8, the Veeramani said that NEET had become a "stumbling block" for students from disadvantaged sections. This meeting was a part of the 21-day statewide campaign from Nagercoil to Chennai against the Union Government's backing of NEET, the National Education Policy and the issue of the rights of the state in policy matters in education.
He blamed NEET for reducing the chances of students who studied Tamil and students from economically weaker sections of getting a medical seat in India. He said that that was the reason why a large number of these students had to turn to Russia, China, Ukraine and the Philippines for affordable medical education. He reiterated Tamil Nadu's demand for exemption from NEET. "Education is in the concurrent list and both the Union Government and State Government have powers to legislate on the subject including that of medical education," he added.
The Tamil Nadu government has been trying to pass a bill to exempt the state from NEET, but has been stalled by the Governor on two occasions. Veeramani said the (Tamil Nadu) Governor who took an oath to safeguard the Constitution ought to have sent the bills passed by the Assembly to the President. The DK leader questioned whether under Article 200 of the constitution the Governor has the power to withhold assent to a bill that was passed once again in the Assembly after he initially returned it.
Criticising the National Education Policy, Veeramani accused the union government of heralding a "new edition of Kulakkalvi or the caste-based education system. This system required students to learn the vocation of their father's caste for half a day. That system was introduced by the Congress Government in Tamil Nadu in 1953, and was officially known as the Modified Scheme of Elementary Education or New Scheme of Elementary Education, and was dismantled after a movement led by Thanthai Periyar, who is the founder of the DK. Veeramani said that his campaign will be a similar struggle against the NEP.