On April 6, Tamil Nadu is all set to vote what is likely to be an intense contest between political heavyweights the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), there are other, newer and smaller parties in the fray but it is one of these two who are expected to be the one to form the next state government.
One of the key points in the TN Assembly elections is the discussion around National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020). Educationists from across the country have backed an appeal by State Platform for Common School System Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN), and asked the electorate to vote to reject National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020), and usher the “evolution of Tamil Nadu State Education Policy”. The platform’s general secretary P. B. Prince Gajendra Babu, and President Dr. P. Ratnasabapathy, recently issued a public statement asking that people of TN consider the issue of education when they cast their vote on April 6 2021.
It has called for the voters to reject the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) when they chose the next government. The platform has called the NEP “most undemocratic, unconstitutional” and said it was not inclusive as “it undermines the Federal character of the Union of India. The NEP 2020 they said “is not a document concerning education alone. It is a road map for establishing cultural nationalism. Mono-cultural nationalism will destroy the multi-cultural fabric of India and pave the way for extinction of almost all Indian languages. It will demolish the strongly built Public Education System in many States in India.” According to the platform, the NEP “reduces the role of schools and colleges as a skilling centre” and renders school education “meaningless as students are skilled in some vocation that helps to meet the skilling needs of the ‘local community’.”
According to media reports, in 2020, DMK president MK Stalin had said the NEP will confine education to a few in a decade, and asked that the AIADMK also reject it. Stalin had also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion on “NEP ensuring all-round coverage vis-a-vis providing education,” stated a 2020 report by Firstpost. Stalin had said contrary to Modi’s assertions, “education will not be available to all” adding that “If this education policy is implemented, in 10 years, education will be confined to a select few.”
Now, on the eve of the state elections, the SPCSS-TN have reminded people that “if the respective State Governments do not have powers to protect and further the interest of the people of the State,” then “why should they elect their representatives for the State legislature?” They have appealed that the voters elect those who will formulate a “state specific education policy.” Tamil Nadu has many firsts to its credit in universalisation of education, stated the platform, and the voters must vote for those who promise to “formulate State Education Policy to further strengthen and widen the State funded educational institutions for providing equitable access to quality education for all.” The DMK has in its manifesto stated that it rejects NEP 2020 and will constitute a high level committee for formulating State Education Policy. It has found support of almost all Parties in the Secular Progressive Alliance on the issue.
The SPCSS-TN stated that the state’s 16th State Legislative Assembly election is “an opportunity for the people of Tamil Nadu to elect their representative based on the policy issues, more particularly to ensure that the next generation is ensured with state funded education at all levels for all people.”