The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches in India, meeting in Chennai on August 13, 2016, has expressed grave concern over the new education policy drafted by the Government of India.
The major points of concern are the following:
1. The preamble of the draft eulogizes the ancient patriarchal gurukul system, and praises the contributions of male hindu scholars of the past and of hindu leaders in modern India. Such a review smacks of ‘hindu reading’ of educational history and gives rise to the apprehension of introducing a deliberately purported hinduized educational system. Furthermore, the draft makes mention of male hindu scholars only thereby giving the impression of a male-dominated hinduized educational system.

2. The draft does not give any credit to the immense historic and continuing contribution of the Church to education in Indian society. The Church has been making a very valuable positive impact to school, college and professional education through its thousands of institutions in the country.
3. The policy lays emphasis on internationalization of education, which raises concerns of educational equity. It would lead to a class divide in society: the rich availing international education, and the poor left with a different standard of education.
4. The policy also makes an implicit division in the quality and levels of education: the higher international standard education for the rich and the skill-oriented education for the poor. It thereby again reinforces a kind of caste and class hierarchy in education.
5. While the government hardly invests 3% of GDP on education, the policy aspires to invest 6% of GDP on education. Way back in the 1990s, the government had committed to invest 6% of GDP on education, but failed to do so. In the present context the government should invest at least 8% of GDP, if not more.
6. The draft with its emphasis on governance and administration through a hierarchy of offices at state division, district, block and schools gives rise to the fear of the imposition of a centralized system of education which takes away the freedom and dynamism of minority-run institutions and individual schools.
7. The Government would also have to be sensitive to the pluralistic multicultural, multi-religious context of the country, before imposing any centralized system of education for it to be truly inclusive.
8. The draft also suggests reviewing of RTE 12 (1) clause. This issue has been settled in the Supreme Court after several litigations. Therefore the suggestion for reviewing RTE 12 (1) clause appears to be a ploy of the government to interfere in the life and administration of institutions run by religious minorities. Article 30 of the constitution upholds the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
The NCCI, with its emphasis on Just and Inclusive Communities, strongly urges the government to have a special consultation with minority educational Institutions on the draft national education policy.


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