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Education of over 70 percent of youth disrupted by Covid-19: ILO

Most of the affected youth have been unable to transition to online learning successfully

14 Aug 2020

education

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has discovered that 73 per cent of youth who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the closing of schools, universities and training centres. According to an analysis published in a recently released ILO Report titled Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being, 65 per cent of young people reported having learned less since the beginning of the pandemic because of the transition from classroom to online and distance learning during lockdown.

The report says, “Despite their efforts to continue studying and training, 51 percent believed their studies would be delayed and nine per cent thought that they might fail. The divide is even more shocking when we take into account the varying degrees of privileges enjoyed by youth in countries from the developed and developing world.”

The Global Survey aimed to capture the immediate effects of the pandemic on the lives of young people (aged 18–29) with regards to employment, education, mental well-being, rights and social activism. The survey covered 12,000 youth from 112 countries, with a large proportion of responses coming from educated youth and those with Internet access.

According to the report, while 65 per cent of youth in high-income countries were taught classes via video-lectures only 18 per cent in low-income countries were able to keep studying online. This highlights the ‘digital divide’.

In another important finding, the report has discovered, “Severe disruption to learning and working, compounded by the health crisis, has seen a deterioration in young people’s mental well-being. The study finds that 17 per cent of young people are probably affected by anxiety and depression. Mental well-being is lowest for young women and younger youth between the ages of 18 and 24.” This underscores the interlinkages that exist between mental well-being, educational success and labour market integration.

“The pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people. It is not only destroying their jobs and employment prospects, but also disrupting their education and training and having a serious impact on their mental well-being. We cannot let this happen,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The entire report may be read here: 

 

Education of over 70 percent of youth disrupted by Covid-19: ILO

Most of the affected youth have been unable to transition to online learning successfully

education

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has discovered that 73 per cent of youth who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the closing of schools, universities and training centres. According to an analysis published in a recently released ILO Report titled Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being, 65 per cent of young people reported having learned less since the beginning of the pandemic because of the transition from classroom to online and distance learning during lockdown.

The report says, “Despite their efforts to continue studying and training, 51 percent believed their studies would be delayed and nine per cent thought that they might fail. The divide is even more shocking when we take into account the varying degrees of privileges enjoyed by youth in countries from the developed and developing world.”

The Global Survey aimed to capture the immediate effects of the pandemic on the lives of young people (aged 18–29) with regards to employment, education, mental well-being, rights and social activism. The survey covered 12,000 youth from 112 countries, with a large proportion of responses coming from educated youth and those with Internet access.

According to the report, while 65 per cent of youth in high-income countries were taught classes via video-lectures only 18 per cent in low-income countries were able to keep studying online. This highlights the ‘digital divide’.

In another important finding, the report has discovered, “Severe disruption to learning and working, compounded by the health crisis, has seen a deterioration in young people’s mental well-being. The study finds that 17 per cent of young people are probably affected by anxiety and depression. Mental well-being is lowest for young women and younger youth between the ages of 18 and 24.” This underscores the interlinkages that exist between mental well-being, educational success and labour market integration.

“The pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people. It is not only destroying their jobs and employment prospects, but also disrupting their education and training and having a serious impact on their mental well-being. We cannot let this happen,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

The entire report may be read here: 

 

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PM Modi says the NEP hasn't raised concerns of any bias

He added that “national interest” was a key factor as "Every country equates education to its national interest and moves forward”

07 Aug 2020

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

Speaking for the first time on the issue after the Union Cabinet approved the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on July 29, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised it as a system that will generate “future-ready” citizens. In his video address at a conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under National Education Policy, the PM asserted that, “No section of the country said that the policy has any bias. It is a matter of happiness" 

The PM added that “national interest” was a key factor of the NEP as "Every country equates education to its national interest and moves forward.” He said it was a timely replacement long due. The NEP 2020, has replaced the 34-year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986. In attendance at the conference was HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriya Nishank.

The PM, while applauding the entire policy, and Dr Kasturirangan, the man in charge of creating it, made special mention of the multiple ‘entry’ exit’ points and using ‘mother’ tongue as a medium of instruction. The government hopes now to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to 50% by 2035 and add 3.5 crore seats.

The PM also made special mention of using a child’s ‘mother tongue’ as a medium of instruction “wherever possible’ for upto class five. However the Centre's plan had already been called “painful and saddening”, by Tamil Nadu chief minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami. An ally of the BJP, CM Palaniswami (AIDMK), had demanded a ‘reconsideration’ of the three-language policy, with states being allowed the constitutional independence to implement their own. The opposition DMK had opposed the elite bias in the proposed policy changes. 

Palaniswamy clearly said there will not be any deviation from the two-language policy in Tamil Nadu, which has been followed for several decades. “Tamil Nadu will never allow the Centre’s three-language policy. The state will continue with its dual language policy (of Tamil and English),” he said.

While Prime Minister Modi, on Friday,  said that the "NEP was approved after extensive discussions over 3-4 years and deliberation over lakhs of suggestions," there have been voices saying they were not even consulted. Education is a subject on the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution, that allows for instance of regional variations and emphasis respecting the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. Earlier central education policies were also not necessarily adopted by various states of the Indian union.

The West Bengal Government has already formed a six-member committee to study the New Education Policy according to news reports. Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University Suranjan Das, retired professor and TMC MP Sougata Roy and educationist Pabitra Sarkar will also be a part of this review committee. The state education Minister Partha Chatterjee slammed it as a "copy of the system prevalent in western countries". Chatterjee told the media that the committee will scrutinise the NEP, seeking views of school teachers and varsity professors on the matter, and submit a report to the state by August 15. The WB govt will then convey their “ opinion on the new policy to the Centre," said Chatterjee. He had earlier said that the Union government had formulated the NEP without taking the states into confidence, and without placing the matter for discussion in Parliament. "I wonder how they (Centre) can think of enforcing it without any discussion in the Parliament or with the states. This is unilateral," he had been quoted in the news report.

Recently the teachers organisations such as the Federation of Central Universities (FEDCUTA)  had stated that  these "reforms" and restructuring pushed by the Government aimed at selling education as a commodity. Instead of strengthening and repairing the public-funded higher education system, the Government has been pushing privatisation and commercialisation of education at a frightening pace through a slew of regulations such as Graded Autonomy, Autonomous Colleges, HEFA for loans instead of grants, Tripartite MOU, Institutions of Excellence, HECI Bill etc, all of which aim to push Higher Education Institutions into a self-financing model increasingly at the mercy of market forces.

And long before this, Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had written on the issue to Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in July 2019. Commenting on the draft NEP that was available then, Yechury had noted that certain aspects were potentially problematic.  The CPI(M)  had stated that the DNEP “completely contravenes with the powers of the state governments and therefore, the constitutional scheme of Federalism and should be withdrawn forthwith.”

The party had also said that the DNEP seemed to be ensuring the “centralization, commercialization and communalization of the Indian education system and structures. Instead of arriving at a balance between Quantity, Quality and Equity in the education system, this DNEP is promoting a more elitist and pro-corporate thrust.”

It had added that “scientific temper is on a decline and civic values are facing vicious attacks from an environment that is actively promoting obscurantism, deepening social divisions and encouraging backlash against the already-marginalised sections. Educational institutions are unable to retain academic talent and secure a just and equitable environment for students, teachers and researchers. Student-suicides are on the rise. Religious education in the garb of Shishu Mandirs, Ekalavya Vidyalayas and Madrassas are proliferating even as the Union Government orders the closure or merger of public-funded primary and pre-primary schools.”

The Congress has said that the “National Education Policy (NEP) has been formed without any consultation with stakeholders or parliamentary discussion.”

 

Related: 

Dravidian TN speaks out against NEP, no to 3-language formula
21st century brand of India’s Language Policy – NEP 2020
Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

PM Modi says the NEP hasn't raised concerns of any bias

He added that “national interest” was a key factor as "Every country equates education to its national interest and moves forward”

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

Speaking for the first time on the issue after the Union Cabinet approved the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 on July 29, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has praised it as a system that will generate “future-ready” citizens. In his video address at a conclave on Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under National Education Policy, the PM asserted that, “No section of the country said that the policy has any bias. It is a matter of happiness" 

The PM added that “national interest” was a key factor of the NEP as "Every country equates education to its national interest and moves forward.” He said it was a timely replacement long due. The NEP 2020, has replaced the 34-year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986. In attendance at the conference was HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriya Nishank.

The PM, while applauding the entire policy, and Dr Kasturirangan, the man in charge of creating it, made special mention of the multiple ‘entry’ exit’ points and using ‘mother’ tongue as a medium of instruction. The government hopes now to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to 50% by 2035 and add 3.5 crore seats.

The PM also made special mention of using a child’s ‘mother tongue’ as a medium of instruction “wherever possible’ for upto class five. However the Centre's plan had already been called “painful and saddening”, by Tamil Nadu chief minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami. An ally of the BJP, CM Palaniswami (AIDMK), had demanded a ‘reconsideration’ of the three-language policy, with states being allowed the constitutional independence to implement their own. The opposition DMK had opposed the elite bias in the proposed policy changes. 

Palaniswamy clearly said there will not be any deviation from the two-language policy in Tamil Nadu, which has been followed for several decades. “Tamil Nadu will never allow the Centre’s three-language policy. The state will continue with its dual language policy (of Tamil and English),” he said.

While Prime Minister Modi, on Friday,  said that the "NEP was approved after extensive discussions over 3-4 years and deliberation over lakhs of suggestions," there have been voices saying they were not even consulted. Education is a subject on the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution, that allows for instance of regional variations and emphasis respecting the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. Earlier central education policies were also not necessarily adopted by various states of the Indian union.

The West Bengal Government has already formed a six-member committee to study the New Education Policy according to news reports. Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University Suranjan Das, retired professor and TMC MP Sougata Roy and educationist Pabitra Sarkar will also be a part of this review committee. The state education Minister Partha Chatterjee slammed it as a "copy of the system prevalent in western countries". Chatterjee told the media that the committee will scrutinise the NEP, seeking views of school teachers and varsity professors on the matter, and submit a report to the state by August 15. The WB govt will then convey their “ opinion on the new policy to the Centre," said Chatterjee. He had earlier said that the Union government had formulated the NEP without taking the states into confidence, and without placing the matter for discussion in Parliament. "I wonder how they (Centre) can think of enforcing it without any discussion in the Parliament or with the states. This is unilateral," he had been quoted in the news report.

Recently the teachers organisations such as the Federation of Central Universities (FEDCUTA)  had stated that  these "reforms" and restructuring pushed by the Government aimed at selling education as a commodity. Instead of strengthening and repairing the public-funded higher education system, the Government has been pushing privatisation and commercialisation of education at a frightening pace through a slew of regulations such as Graded Autonomy, Autonomous Colleges, HEFA for loans instead of grants, Tripartite MOU, Institutions of Excellence, HECI Bill etc, all of which aim to push Higher Education Institutions into a self-financing model increasingly at the mercy of market forces.

And long before this, Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had written on the issue to Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in July 2019. Commenting on the draft NEP that was available then, Yechury had noted that certain aspects were potentially problematic.  The CPI(M)  had stated that the DNEP “completely contravenes with the powers of the state governments and therefore, the constitutional scheme of Federalism and should be withdrawn forthwith.”

The party had also said that the DNEP seemed to be ensuring the “centralization, commercialization and communalization of the Indian education system and structures. Instead of arriving at a balance between Quantity, Quality and Equity in the education system, this DNEP is promoting a more elitist and pro-corporate thrust.”

It had added that “scientific temper is on a decline and civic values are facing vicious attacks from an environment that is actively promoting obscurantism, deepening social divisions and encouraging backlash against the already-marginalised sections. Educational institutions are unable to retain academic talent and secure a just and equitable environment for students, teachers and researchers. Student-suicides are on the rise. Religious education in the garb of Shishu Mandirs, Ekalavya Vidyalayas and Madrassas are proliferating even as the Union Government orders the closure or merger of public-funded primary and pre-primary schools.”

The Congress has said that the “National Education Policy (NEP) has been formed without any consultation with stakeholders or parliamentary discussion.”

 

Related: 

Dravidian TN speaks out against NEP, no to 3-language formula
21st century brand of India’s Language Policy – NEP 2020
Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

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Dravidian TN speaks out against NEP, no to 3-language formula

Calling the Centre's plan “painful and saddening”, CM Palaniswami (AIDMK)—an ally of the ruling BJP-- has demanded a reconsideration of the three-language policy, with states being allowed the constitutional independence to implement their own, even as the opposition DMK has opposed the elite bias in the proposed policy changes

03 Aug 2020

Tamil Nadu chief minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami

Tamil Nadu, the epicentre of language federalism in the past, historically opposed to the imposition of Hindi has spoken out firmly against the Modi 2.0 government’s imposition of the three language policy in the NEP 2020. Speaking to the media today and expressing anguish over the Centre’s  pushing for a three language policy, Tamil Nadu chief minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami has categorically said that the state will continue to follow the more established, two language policy.

Palaniswamy has called the centre’s plan “painful and saddening” the three-language policy and demanded that the states be allowed to implement their own policy on the subject.

Education is a subject on the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution, that allows for instance of regional variations and emphasis respecting the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. Earlier central education policies were also not necessarily adopted by various states of the Indian union.

The CM of Tamil Nadu, Palaniswamy has clearly said there will not be any deviation from the two-language policy in Tamil Nadu, which has been followed for several decades. “Tamil Nadu will never allow the Centre’s three-language policy. The state will continue with its dual language policy (of Tamil and English),” he said.

 

 

Edapaddi’s statement came a day after Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said the Centre would not force any language on states, in a bid to allay fears on the imposition of Hindi. The Education Minister’s statement had come amid protests in Tamil Nadu on the grounds that the policy allegedly imposed Hindi and Sanskrit. Nishank had said the policy leaves it to states to choose the languages.

In a tweet to former Union minister from the state Pon Radhakrishnan, Nishank said he was looking forward to the guidance of the ex-central minister in implementing NEP in Tamil Nadu “I once again like to insist that the central government will not impose any language on any state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the M K Stalin-led DMK and many opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have opposed NEP and want a review of the sweeping reforms it has proposed. On Saturday, August 1, Stalin said the policy was an attempt at the alleged imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit, and vowed to fight it by joining hands with like-minded political parties and chief ministers of other states.Mounting yet another attack on the Centre’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, DMK President MK Stalin on Sunday alleged if it was implemented, education in a decade will be confined among a few. He also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion on NEP ensuring all-round coverage vis-a-vis providing education, and wanted the ruling AIADMK to oppose it.

“The Prime Minister has said this (NEP) ensures job creators than job seekers. It is not. I say the government has shied away from its duty of creating jobs for people,” he said at a virtual interaction with some educationists and others to discuss the reforms.

On Saturday, Modi had said the new education policy announced by his government emphasised on making ‘job creators’ instead of ‘job seekers’ and was an attempt to transform the ‘intent’ and ‘content’ of the country’s education system.

Stalin said contrary to Modi’s assertions, “education will not be available to all.”“If this education policy is implemented, in 10 years, education will be confined to a select few,” he claimed.

Villages will ‘collapse’ and “poor will become poorer,” he added.

Assuring his party’s opposition to the reforms, Stalin, also Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, wanted the AIADMK government also to follow suit. “The Tamil Nadu government should deny the NEP; reject it,” he added.

It should especially not accept the three-language formula suggested in NEP, he said.

 

Related:

21st century brand of India’s Language Policy – NEP 2020

नई शिक्षा नीति 2020 का उच्च शिक्षा शिक्षण संस्थानों पर प्रहार

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

 

 

Dravidian TN speaks out against NEP, no to 3-language formula

Calling the Centre's plan “painful and saddening”, CM Palaniswami (AIDMK)—an ally of the ruling BJP-- has demanded a reconsideration of the three-language policy, with states being allowed the constitutional independence to implement their own, even as the opposition DMK has opposed the elite bias in the proposed policy changes

Tamil Nadu chief minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami

Tamil Nadu, the epicentre of language federalism in the past, historically opposed to the imposition of Hindi has spoken out firmly against the Modi 2.0 government’s imposition of the three language policy in the NEP 2020. Speaking to the media today and expressing anguish over the Centre’s  pushing for a three language policy, Tamil Nadu chief minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami has categorically said that the state will continue to follow the more established, two language policy.

Palaniswamy has called the centre’s plan “painful and saddening” the three-language policy and demanded that the states be allowed to implement their own policy on the subject.

Education is a subject on the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution, that allows for instance of regional variations and emphasis respecting the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. Earlier central education policies were also not necessarily adopted by various states of the Indian union.

The CM of Tamil Nadu, Palaniswamy has clearly said there will not be any deviation from the two-language policy in Tamil Nadu, which has been followed for several decades. “Tamil Nadu will never allow the Centre’s three-language policy. The state will continue with its dual language policy (of Tamil and English),” he said.

 

 

Edapaddi’s statement came a day after Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said the Centre would not force any language on states, in a bid to allay fears on the imposition of Hindi. The Education Minister’s statement had come amid protests in Tamil Nadu on the grounds that the policy allegedly imposed Hindi and Sanskrit. Nishank had said the policy leaves it to states to choose the languages.

In a tweet to former Union minister from the state Pon Radhakrishnan, Nishank said he was looking forward to the guidance of the ex-central minister in implementing NEP in Tamil Nadu “I once again like to insist that the central government will not impose any language on any state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the M K Stalin-led DMK and many opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have opposed NEP and want a review of the sweeping reforms it has proposed. On Saturday, August 1, Stalin said the policy was an attempt at the alleged imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit, and vowed to fight it by joining hands with like-minded political parties and chief ministers of other states.Mounting yet another attack on the Centre’s new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, DMK President MK Stalin on Sunday alleged if it was implemented, education in a decade will be confined among a few. He also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion on NEP ensuring all-round coverage vis-a-vis providing education, and wanted the ruling AIADMK to oppose it.

“The Prime Minister has said this (NEP) ensures job creators than job seekers. It is not. I say the government has shied away from its duty of creating jobs for people,” he said at a virtual interaction with some educationists and others to discuss the reforms.

On Saturday, Modi had said the new education policy announced by his government emphasised on making ‘job creators’ instead of ‘job seekers’ and was an attempt to transform the ‘intent’ and ‘content’ of the country’s education system.

Stalin said contrary to Modi’s assertions, “education will not be available to all.”“If this education policy is implemented, in 10 years, education will be confined to a select few,” he claimed.

Villages will ‘collapse’ and “poor will become poorer,” he added.

Assuring his party’s opposition to the reforms, Stalin, also Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, wanted the AIADMK government also to follow suit. “The Tamil Nadu government should deny the NEP; reject it,” he added.

It should especially not accept the three-language formula suggested in NEP, he said.

 

Related:

21st century brand of India’s Language Policy – NEP 2020

नई शिक्षा नीति 2020 का उच्च शिक्षा शिक्षण संस्थानों पर प्रहार

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

 

 

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21st century brand of India’s Language Policy – NEP 2020

The National Education Policy, announced, without debate in Indian Parliament and without adequate inclusion of concerns and criticisms sent in by diverse Indian groups has raised several questions of concern, especially with related to access to education for all, democratisation of education, the language formula articulated, diversity concerns and worst of all, the all out privatisation of higher education. This note looks at the implications of the language policy in education as articulated in NEP 2020

03 Aug 2020

education

The Salient Points in the Draft Proposal :

1.  Children will join school at the age of three and will be taught three languages from the first day. The three languages for the Hindi region will be Hindi (as medium), English, and one Indian language from the scheduled 22 included in the Indian Constitution. The three languages for the Non-Hindi region will be Home/Local language (as medium), English and a modern Indian language, Sanskrit is designated as an ‘‘important modern Indian language.’’

2.  Wherever possible, the medium of education will be the family/mother/local language till the class V (preferably class VIII). Students, have opted for their mother tongue as medium of education will learn science in two languages from class VIII or earlier; the second language being English.

3.  Students who want to change one of the three languages can do so from the class VI. (That means in the ninth year of schooling). But the rule that will still be applicable is that the students from the Hindi region will take Hindi, English and one modern Indian language and students from the non-Hindi region will opt for the local language, an Indian language and English.

4.  Each and every student of the country will take a ‘‘fun’’ course about Indian Languages anytime between the class VI to class VIII. This course will teach the ‘‘remarkable unity’’ of Indian languages.

5.  Each student will also take a two year course on any classical Indian language anytime during the classes VI and VIII.

6.  Students can opt for one foreign language (such as French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese) as an elective subject during class VI to VIII, and this elective subject can be carried to higher classes.

7.  The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology and the regional bodies will co-ordinate with the scholars and the experts to coin and standardise technical terminology. This work for Hindi and Sanskrit will be done at the Central level in coordination with the states and the work for other languages will be done at the state level, with no responsibility of the Centre. There will be an appropriate coordination between the Centre and the states to ensure a maximally common technical terminology (read Sanskritised) among different languages.

Scrutiny of proposals on English/Foreign language teaching: This quote from the draft report describes the Committee’s belief on the issue:

‘‘Since children learn languages most quickly between 2-8 years, and multilingualism has  great cognitive benefits for students, children will be immersed in three languages early on, from the Foundational Stage.’’ (4.5.p80)

However, international common practice and international research both refute this belief. Exposure to second/foreign language generally starts around 9 years of a child’s age. The following quote about English teaching in China provides the average international picture:

‘‘According to the National Curriculum, English, as one of the three core subjects, starts from Primary Three; however, local education departments and individual schools have flexibility to decide when to include English lessons. Many schools in metropolitan areas introduce English earlier, from Primary One, whilst for those in remote and rural areas, the introduction of English may have to be delayed due to inadequate teaching resources.

Generally speaking, where English starts from Primary Three, based on the National Curriculum in the version of 2011, the weekly lessons for three core subjects in primary schools are required as’’ follows. ‘‘From Primary Three to Six, students are offered three English lessons per week with 40 min per lesson. However, the weekly contact hours for Chinese and mathematics are greater over six years of study. Compared to the minor subjects, such as PE (physical education – JS), science and music, English has a similar number of lessons (MOE 2001, MOE=Ministry of Education – JS. English, based on hours taught, could therefore be regarded as a minor subject.’’

(https://multilingual-education.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13616-016-0026-0)


As for the early age advantage, the following findings of MIT (USA) are revealing:

‘‘Thousands of adults who started learning after 20 years old scored in a native-level range,’’ (pp.3)

‘‘Students that compare children and adults exposed to comparable material in the lab or during hte initial months of an immersion program show that adults perform better, not worse, than children....perhaps because they deploy conscious strategies and transfer what they know about their first language.’’ (pp.7).

‘‘....even after a year of studying, the 20+ year old start group is commonly scoring 80-85% on this incredibly difficult grammar test.’’ (pp.9). 90% is the native-level score.

(https://medium.com/@chacon/mit-scientists-prove-adults-learn-language-to-fluency-nearly-as-well-as-children-1d

e888d1d45f?fbclid=IwAR0cSb4zP38MLDngtkWs7kQ51Mou_qsjXM4qiDo_-KTz1WhHeeXlGcxniFM)


Alex Rawlings of Britain, who speaks 15 languages, states his first hand experience thus:

“People say it’s too hard as an adult. But I would say it’s much easier after the age of eight. It takes three years for a baby to learn a language, but just months for an adult.”

(https://qz.com/753528/science-suggests-bilingualism-helps-keep-our-brains-mentally-fit/).

It is true that children can learn several languages at the same time in a natural set up. But the apparently hair-thin difference between a natural language environment and a formal classroom set-up is one of Himalyan dimensions, in reality. This should be clear from the fact that even a graduate Indian who studies English language from grade one cannot be considered fluent in English, a task which can be accomplished in less than a year. See the consequences of this formal/informal difference from the link below and also look at the MIT findings above:

(https://theconversation.com/whats-the-best-way-to-teach-children-a-second-language-new-research-produces-sur

prising-results-122059?fbclid=IwAR1dTTxunVVHmD_ECMLX7fX1i1ks6q7Y0W5gJ7nijEi3WFHLQkfntl1dkVM)

The English medium myth: The draft report recommends teaching science in the English medium (preferably before class VIII, so that the students could study science in higher classes. Thus, the English medium myth, with its all mystical dimensions, is inbuilt in this draft. The following statement from the British Council study reveals how ill informed the protagonists are: “There is little or no evidence to support the widely held view that EMI (English as Medium of Instruction) is a better or surer way to attain fluency in English than via quality EaS (English as Subject)….

A move to EMI in or just after lower primary, commonly found in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, yields too shallow a foundation of English to sustain learning across the curriculum from the upper primary years onwards. Early introduction of EMI is thus viewed as impairing learning in the formative years and limiting educational attainment.” (English language and medium of instruction in basic education in low- and middle-income countries: a British Council perspective, 2017:3).

The Linguallotine: The proposals if implemented will further ruin what little remains of Indian education because the languages black-hole thus created will devour Indian children. For instance, if a student takes a foreign language as an elective subject he/she will be having six language courses during class VI to VIII (three languages of the three language formula + the “fun” course on Indian languages + classical language course + foreign language (3+1+1+1=6). The above points are about the school education.

The poor well-wishers: Indian governments and Indian political parties are not the only problem for mother tongue based education advocates. Avowed well wishers of the poor and marginalised like Kancha Illaiah want to salvage poor children from the English massacre through an ‘English only’ education. He is engaged in converting government schools into English medium ones. He thinks this will make them ride over the English disadvantage. There is, though, ample international evidence that non-mother-tongue medium gives rise to far wider educational achievement gaps between marginalized and privileged children than the mother tongue medium. Thus the intellectual condition of the poor well-wishers is no different from the Indian policymakers. I did bring the findings of the British Council, UNESCO, the international investigations, and the successful international practices to the notice of Kancha Illaiah. He has not bothered to send even an automated acknowledgement.

The Niceties: The report does talk about the advantages of mother tongue medium and recommends it for primary classes, “wherever possible”. But remember that each committee and commission from 1947 to 2019 have recommended mother tongue as medium of education and these recommendations have been passed in the Parliament. The only benefit from these recommendations has been that after each recommendation, the education in mother tongues was further reduced.


For wider details on expert opinion on language issues:

http://punjabiuniversity.academia.edu/JogaSingh/papers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcuqlzPpaMJogbwN3I6DLkg/videos?view_as=subscriber

The Draft Report: The 484 page report can be accessed from

https://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/Draft_NEP_2019_EN.pdf For language, see part 4.5 (pp. 79-88) and Chapter 22 (pp. 385-387). Kindly excuse if there is something wrong in my understanding of the draft report and kindly bring it to my notice. I shall be thankful.

jogasinghvirk@yahoo.co.in


(Note: When the 485 page NEP draft proposal was released, the author had published an article on the language policy proposals in the draft proposal. The article was published in the Punjabi Tribune Punjabi daily.  This is the English summary of that article)

 

Related Articles:

नई शिक्षा नीति 2020 का उच्च शिक्षा व शिक्षण संस्थानों पर प्रहार

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

21st century brand of India’s Language Policy – NEP 2020

The National Education Policy, announced, without debate in Indian Parliament and without adequate inclusion of concerns and criticisms sent in by diverse Indian groups has raised several questions of concern, especially with related to access to education for all, democratisation of education, the language formula articulated, diversity concerns and worst of all, the all out privatisation of higher education. This note looks at the implications of the language policy in education as articulated in NEP 2020

education

The Salient Points in the Draft Proposal :

1.  Children will join school at the age of three and will be taught three languages from the first day. The three languages for the Hindi region will be Hindi (as medium), English, and one Indian language from the scheduled 22 included in the Indian Constitution. The three languages for the Non-Hindi region will be Home/Local language (as medium), English and a modern Indian language, Sanskrit is designated as an ‘‘important modern Indian language.’’

2.  Wherever possible, the medium of education will be the family/mother/local language till the class V (preferably class VIII). Students, have opted for their mother tongue as medium of education will learn science in two languages from class VIII or earlier; the second language being English.

3.  Students who want to change one of the three languages can do so from the class VI. (That means in the ninth year of schooling). But the rule that will still be applicable is that the students from the Hindi region will take Hindi, English and one modern Indian language and students from the non-Hindi region will opt for the local language, an Indian language and English.

4.  Each and every student of the country will take a ‘‘fun’’ course about Indian Languages anytime between the class VI to class VIII. This course will teach the ‘‘remarkable unity’’ of Indian languages.

5.  Each student will also take a two year course on any classical Indian language anytime during the classes VI and VIII.

6.  Students can opt for one foreign language (such as French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese) as an elective subject during class VI to VIII, and this elective subject can be carried to higher classes.

7.  The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology and the regional bodies will co-ordinate with the scholars and the experts to coin and standardise technical terminology. This work for Hindi and Sanskrit will be done at the Central level in coordination with the states and the work for other languages will be done at the state level, with no responsibility of the Centre. There will be an appropriate coordination between the Centre and the states to ensure a maximally common technical terminology (read Sanskritised) among different languages.

Scrutiny of proposals on English/Foreign language teaching: This quote from the draft report describes the Committee’s belief on the issue:

‘‘Since children learn languages most quickly between 2-8 years, and multilingualism has  great cognitive benefits for students, children will be immersed in three languages early on, from the Foundational Stage.’’ (4.5.p80)

However, international common practice and international research both refute this belief. Exposure to second/foreign language generally starts around 9 years of a child’s age. The following quote about English teaching in China provides the average international picture:

‘‘According to the National Curriculum, English, as one of the three core subjects, starts from Primary Three; however, local education departments and individual schools have flexibility to decide when to include English lessons. Many schools in metropolitan areas introduce English earlier, from Primary One, whilst for those in remote and rural areas, the introduction of English may have to be delayed due to inadequate teaching resources.

Generally speaking, where English starts from Primary Three, based on the National Curriculum in the version of 2011, the weekly lessons for three core subjects in primary schools are required as’’ follows. ‘‘From Primary Three to Six, students are offered three English lessons per week with 40 min per lesson. However, the weekly contact hours for Chinese and mathematics are greater over six years of study. Compared to the minor subjects, such as PE (physical education – JS), science and music, English has a similar number of lessons (MOE 2001, MOE=Ministry of Education – JS. English, based on hours taught, could therefore be regarded as a minor subject.’’

(https://multilingual-education.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13616-016-0026-0)


As for the early age advantage, the following findings of MIT (USA) are revealing:

‘‘Thousands of adults who started learning after 20 years old scored in a native-level range,’’ (pp.3)

‘‘Students that compare children and adults exposed to comparable material in the lab or during hte initial months of an immersion program show that adults perform better, not worse, than children....perhaps because they deploy conscious strategies and transfer what they know about their first language.’’ (pp.7).

‘‘....even after a year of studying, the 20+ year old start group is commonly scoring 80-85% on this incredibly difficult grammar test.’’ (pp.9). 90% is the native-level score.

(https://medium.com/@chacon/mit-scientists-prove-adults-learn-language-to-fluency-nearly-as-well-as-children-1d

e888d1d45f?fbclid=IwAR0cSb4zP38MLDngtkWs7kQ51Mou_qsjXM4qiDo_-KTz1WhHeeXlGcxniFM)


Alex Rawlings of Britain, who speaks 15 languages, states his first hand experience thus:

“People say it’s too hard as an adult. But I would say it’s much easier after the age of eight. It takes three years for a baby to learn a language, but just months for an adult.”

(https://qz.com/753528/science-suggests-bilingualism-helps-keep-our-brains-mentally-fit/).

It is true that children can learn several languages at the same time in a natural set up. But the apparently hair-thin difference between a natural language environment and a formal classroom set-up is one of Himalyan dimensions, in reality. This should be clear from the fact that even a graduate Indian who studies English language from grade one cannot be considered fluent in English, a task which can be accomplished in less than a year. See the consequences of this formal/informal difference from the link below and also look at the MIT findings above:

(https://theconversation.com/whats-the-best-way-to-teach-children-a-second-language-new-research-produces-sur

prising-results-122059?fbclid=IwAR1dTTxunVVHmD_ECMLX7fX1i1ks6q7Y0W5gJ7nijEi3WFHLQkfntl1dkVM)

The English medium myth: The draft report recommends teaching science in the English medium (preferably before class VIII, so that the students could study science in higher classes. Thus, the English medium myth, with its all mystical dimensions, is inbuilt in this draft. The following statement from the British Council study reveals how ill informed the protagonists are: “There is little or no evidence to support the widely held view that EMI (English as Medium of Instruction) is a better or surer way to attain fluency in English than via quality EaS (English as Subject)….

A move to EMI in or just after lower primary, commonly found in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, yields too shallow a foundation of English to sustain learning across the curriculum from the upper primary years onwards. Early introduction of EMI is thus viewed as impairing learning in the formative years and limiting educational attainment.” (English language and medium of instruction in basic education in low- and middle-income countries: a British Council perspective, 2017:3).

The Linguallotine: The proposals if implemented will further ruin what little remains of Indian education because the languages black-hole thus created will devour Indian children. For instance, if a student takes a foreign language as an elective subject he/she will be having six language courses during class VI to VIII (three languages of the three language formula + the “fun” course on Indian languages + classical language course + foreign language (3+1+1+1=6). The above points are about the school education.

The poor well-wishers: Indian governments and Indian political parties are not the only problem for mother tongue based education advocates. Avowed well wishers of the poor and marginalised like Kancha Illaiah want to salvage poor children from the English massacre through an ‘English only’ education. He is engaged in converting government schools into English medium ones. He thinks this will make them ride over the English disadvantage. There is, though, ample international evidence that non-mother-tongue medium gives rise to far wider educational achievement gaps between marginalized and privileged children than the mother tongue medium. Thus the intellectual condition of the poor well-wishers is no different from the Indian policymakers. I did bring the findings of the British Council, UNESCO, the international investigations, and the successful international practices to the notice of Kancha Illaiah. He has not bothered to send even an automated acknowledgement.

The Niceties: The report does talk about the advantages of mother tongue medium and recommends it for primary classes, “wherever possible”. But remember that each committee and commission from 1947 to 2019 have recommended mother tongue as medium of education and these recommendations have been passed in the Parliament. The only benefit from these recommendations has been that after each recommendation, the education in mother tongues was further reduced.


For wider details on expert opinion on language issues:

http://punjabiuniversity.academia.edu/JogaSingh/papers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcuqlzPpaMJogbwN3I6DLkg/videos?view_as=subscriber

The Draft Report: The 484 page report can be accessed from

https://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/Draft_NEP_2019_EN.pdf For language, see part 4.5 (pp. 79-88) and Chapter 22 (pp. 385-387). Kindly excuse if there is something wrong in my understanding of the draft report and kindly bring it to my notice. I shall be thankful.

jogasinghvirk@yahoo.co.in


(Note: When the 485 page NEP draft proposal was released, the author had published an article on the language policy proposals in the draft proposal. The article was published in the Punjabi Tribune Punjabi daily.  This is the English summary of that article)

 

Related Articles:

नई शिक्षा नीति 2020 का उच्च शिक्षा व शिक्षण संस्थानों पर प्रहार

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

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Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

New education policy that comes into force, ironically at a time when the Parliament is not in session, and schools are virtual

30 Jul 2020

New Education policy 2020

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has saved us all a lot of time writing long critiques, with its admission that the Education Policy the Union Cabinet approved in the silence of the Covid catastrophe bears its imprint. The Sangh’s several spokespersons focussed on the mother tongue – a polite phrase to mean the official language of a state, and not really the tongue spoken at home such as Maithili in parts of Bihar or Kui, of the Kondhs of Kandhamal – as the medium of education at the primary level. This was an early climbdown after Tamil Nadu rejected early attempts to foist Hindi. But the education policy bears the Sangh stamp much through its dreary path. 

It also bears Mr Modi’s distinct stamp, of course, who wants the Indian mind purged of all the garbage that Jawaharlal Nehru dreamt for the people of the newly independent India back in 1947. 

The vicious attacks in recent months on the many giants who led the Education Ministry, among them Maulana Abul kalam Azad, the preeminent jurist MC Chagla, Professor Humayun Kabir, Dr KL Shrimali, Dr VKRV Rao, and Professor Nurul Hasan, is an indication of the mindset, if an indication was needed. 

One wonders if a President Kalam would have emerged if his Education Policy was in force when he was a student. Instead of becoming the redoubtable rocket engineer that he became because of his single minded determination, he would have perhaps become a wonderful expert fisheries engineer. All that gentle persuasion to students to take the easy way to vocations instead of philosophy, economics, literature, or physics, the subject I love, is even older than the Sangh. Dates back to Manu. 

A New Education Policy was proposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, within weeks of returning to power for a second term in May 2019. It was a part of the Alliance’s election promise. The people at large were called upon to respond to the policy draft of over 470 pages, published on the website of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). 

The Modi government produced not one but two Draft National Policies. The current one is the third and possibly final one, unless Parliament, whenever it meets, forces changes in it. Or the Supreme Court rules on challenges that will emerge from impacted groups.

All versions have to be located in the political and social environment that has evolved in India since 2014. Political polarisation, the rapid rise of cultural nationalism, a euphemism  for religious majoritarianism, and the open championing of religious mores as national ethos by ministers and elders of the ruling party, competitive pandering by the opposition to communal electoral politics, and a substantive dent in federalism and democratic tolerance mark the new political climate. Persons facing charges of terrorism praising the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliamentary debates, and mob lynchings in many states of men belonging to religious minorities or Dalits, create the grassroots  political surface in which education, as much as other aspects of life, seek to find their place.

The MHRD minister, Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' told the Rajya Sabha in November that more than two lakh [2,00,000] suggestions were received on the policy draft, produced by a committee chaired by the eminent space scientist K Kasturirangan. It was said to be the world’s largest virtual consultation. 

In July, a national consultation was called in Delhi of the Christian and Muslim communities, as also educationists and experts, in Delhi, jointly by the United Christian Action, the Baptist Church Trust Association, the Evangelical fellowship of India. The Archbishop of Delhi, Most Reverend Dr Anil Joseph Thomas Couto presided and the former Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, retired Lt. General Z U Shah delivered the inaugural address. One of the decisions of the National Consultations was to bring together a series of reflections on the Draft National Education Policy 2019, and the government’s approach to human resource development and allied issues. The book is now available to scholars, academics and those involved in school education and institutions of higher learning in India and abroad. 

The MHRD website uploaded the National Education Policy 2019 without fanfare. It did not refer to minority institutions and painstaking avoided direct reference to contentious issues.  

The New Education Policy 2019 was the National Democratic Alliance government’s long-term ideological investment in the country. It sought to change the neurons of the Indian mind, to raise people who will conform to the dreams of its founding fathers, of an India which is one people, one tongue, one culture.  

A dream ‘heavy with nationalist and moral overtones’ has moved many leaders in the world. But no people are a homogenous singular entity, bound together in shared ethnicity, mother tongue, and perhaps faith or what goes for it when defined in the language of religion. Subcultures, immigrants, microscopic groups left behind by ancient cultures, and now trapped as some precious gemstone in a larger surrounding mass of a different people, have made modern countries a vibrant and lively cultural melting pot, or bouquet.  

Conquering medieval hordes have left their mark in the gashes of their swords and lances, language and some small syncretic cultures nursing their dialects and recipes. Colonialism, the two World Wars, have vastly influenced the new nations in North and South America, and Australia, recipients of larger migrations. As has the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, creating two nations, a Muslim majority Pakistan and India as a secular nation. 

That Pakistan, within a lifetime, broke into two, with-Bengali speaking East Bengal emerging as the independent state of Bangladesh, was evidence that no single bond can keep a nation together, especially religion, if inequity, economic and developmental imbalances and lacunae in distributive justice distort the critical equilibrium. 

While most nations struggle with issues of race and religion, India has the additional burden of Caste, unique to its soil, and carried as an heirloom wherever Indian people migrate in search of economic opportunity. Ironically, it was Caste rather than economic status that kept a large section of the Indian population away from education, classically reserved only for the ‘higher’ Castes.   

The basic social reforms of the 20th century were to devolve mass education to not just the economically backward, but the culturally deprived Castes and classes, once called the untouchables, and now classified in the more sterilised terminology of Scheduled Castes. The struggle eventually fructified in the passing of the Right To Education Act (RTE), recognising education as a basic human right, an important catalyst in a person realising to the full his or her inherent intellectual potential. The 86thAmendment in 2009 to the statutes inserted Article 21 A on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education.

In its two phases, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political face of the now nearly a century old Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and the lead party in the National Democratic Alliance, has sought to consolidate a nationhood based almost entirely on religion, silencing fitfully the divisions of caste, ethnic origins and language.  

The government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998-2004) tinkered with the education policy at the Centre, and more so in states where the party was in power, using modifications in text books and pedagogy to inject its ideology in as blatant a manner as was possible, and no longer surreptitiously through individual ideologues in positions of importance as had been its wont. 

It did not succeed as much as it had hoped for, partly because of its political fragility, and also because of the alertness of an Opposition and a civil society which had been galvanised by the occurrences of the early 1990s in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the consequent polarisation of the nation and a series of communally targeted incidents of violence.  

The period saw the setting up of the Ekal School movement by a frontal unit of the Sangh Parivar, a concept of one teacher schools in rural, and the remote and forested Tribal areas of central India, to ideologically challenge the influence of Christian missionaries. They are outside the government scrutiny or administration, and exact numbers are not known, but statements by political functionaries suggest there may be as many as 1,00,000 such schools.

The incomplete task of correcting perceived colonial or Nehruvian biases in education and bringing it in line with the cultural nationalism propounded in the ruling party’s election manifesto. Its campaign rhetoric was left to be completed by Mr Narendra Modi who led the National Democratic alliance to an overwhelming victory in the general elections in May 2014. 

While he quickly moved through such measures as demonetisation of high value currency notes to leave his mark on the economy, the Ministry of Human Resource Development was his instrument of choice to mould the nation to one of his dreams. The massive political mandate in his second term left Mr Modi free of any pressures from friends, allies and foes. 

Covid, the lockdown and the evaporation of the Opposition’s resistance, the emergence of a proto Presidential governance system, paved the way for the New education policy that comes into force ironically at a time when there is no Parliament in session, and there are no schools physically open.

Education, mercifully , remains in the Concurrent list and the states have a stake, and a hand on the pilot’s controls. 

The decades since Independence have seen a series of education commissions, operations and national campaigns attempting, with varying success, to see that education did not lose pace or slow down its momentum. The birth of the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Open School system, the National Education Policy of 1986, the 2001 Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal scheme at the primary level, and scholarships to Scheduled Caste  and Tribes, to religious minorities and other backward groups have sought to ensure that the economic status of the family was not a hindrance in the pursuit acknowledge for a student of capacity and talent.

The impetus has seen a massive growth of infrastructure. After China, India is the second in the world in terms of number of educational institutions at various levels and the population of its children in school. According to Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI) 2017 data, India had over 250 million students enrolled. But there were major hurdles in access and infrastructure. The approximately 17,000 teacher education institutions in the country, over 92 percent privately owned, have been found wanting in producing the quality of teachers the new education system needed. 

The Justice J S Verma Commission exposed this, saying most of these teaching colleges were not even attempting to provide good education, instead remaining mere commercial shops. Government data shows over one million teacher vacancies. Pupil-teacher ratios were consequently larger than 60:1, especially in rural  areas and small towns. Government claims gender parity in school enrolment, but elementary infrastructure issues as separate toilets for girl students, and transport, have perpetuated real-time gender skewness, especially in the post-primary sections. 

The NDA’s first Draft Education Policy had a short life. The Government’s weak position in the Rajya Sabha and the erudition of Marxist member of Parliament Mr Sitaram Yechuri and Congress lead speaker, Mr Rahman Khan, a former deputy chairman of the Upper House, saw the then HRD Minister, Mr Prakash Keshav Javadekar, beat a retreat, assuring Parliament he would come back with an education policy after due diligence and consultations with all stakeholders including Members of Parliament. 

Two years later, the Draft National Education Policy 2019 was put on the internet portal of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It was over 475 pages. In a first reading, it seemed to include the most vulnerable and marginalised members. A second, more careful reading by experts raised many red flags. 

At the heart of the policy was the Rashtriya Shiksa Ayog (RSA) / National Education Commission (NEC), an overarching institution with a mandate beyond MHRD was directly under the Prime Minister. “The Prime Minister can bring his/her authority to create necessary synergies and provide direction to this national endeavour, as part of the country’s overall vision of a knowledge society,” the DNEP said.

In its non-minority schools, the policy writers noted “the provisions of the NEP 2019 are for students from religious and linguistic minorities and not for minority “schools” per se. It reaffirmed  that linguistic minorities were to be encouraged. Special provisions included Special Education Zones for high population Muslim areas. It said “Traditional and religious schools such as madrasas, gurukuls, pathshalas, maktabs and religious schools form the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and other traditions may be encouraged to preserve their traditions and pedagogical styles, but at the same time supported to integrate into the NCF.” 

A contentious issue that roused immediate protest was on Minority Status of schools and colleges. The DNEP alleged “judicial exemptions granted by the Supreme Court have been misused... will be stopped.” As if in counterpoint, it commended “alternative models of education such as gurukuls, pathshalas, madrasas, and home schooling will be allowed. Other models for schools will also be piloted, such as philanthropic-public partnerships.”

The draft caused a near explosion in Tamil Nadu on the issue of language with charges that the government was foisting Hindi and Sanskrit. The DNEP 2019 had said of English as a medium of instruction and conversation: “Logically speaking , of course, English has no advantage over other languages in expressing thoughts. Moreover, Indian languages are very scientifically structured and do not have unphonetic, complicated spellings of words and numerous grammatical exceptions; they also have a vast and highly sophisticated ancient, medieval, and modern literature in the Indian context, as a consequence they have a certain home-feel and “apnapan” quality in the Indian context, making them easier, more relatable and more relevant for children. It is recommended that in interactions between people within India be conducted in languages native to India; thus Indian languages must be heavily promoted again and with new vigour.” 

Private sector in schools

The Federation of Central Universities (FEDCUTA) noted the "reforms" and restructuring pushed by the Government aimed at selling education as a commodity. Instead of strengthening and repairing the public-funded higher education system, the Government has been pushing privatisation and commercialisation of education at a frightening pace through a slew of regulations such as Graded Autonomy, Autonomous Colleges, HEFA for loans instead of grants, Tripartite MOU, Institutions of Excellence, HECI Bill etc, all of which aim to push Higher Education Institutions into a self-financing model increasingly at the mercy of market forces. The immediate corollaries of each of these have been the jeopardising of service conditions of employees, steep fee-hikes (euphemistically called "user-charges") and a crackdown on all democratic spaces and practices to stifle resistance to these policies. The Policy notified in June 2019 seeks to concretise and complete this process with its core agenda of "deregulation"(or privatisation) overseen by a centrally controlled Shiksha Aayog. 

While the DNEP 2019  suggested creating a ‘Special Education Zone’ to ensure access to education for all, there is no clarity about the sources and methods of funding quality education, especially in educationally, and economically backward states that face an acute resource crunch. Scepticisms arose from the fact that in the past most states have failed to provide financial wherewithal to support quality education, which is why nearly 50 percent of the students, mainly from poor families drop out before completing their secondary education.

Education Cess has been collected since 2004 from Income Tax payers, to augment the additional funds for investment in school education. The money collected on account of ‘educational cess’ has never been efficiently utilised. 

Covid has sharpened the chasm between the privileged and the underprivileged, or non-privileged. We now call it the Digital Divide.

How will the immediate young generation bridge that gulf in the strained resources of the near future remains a challenge, a. question mark before Mr Modi, the political apparatus, educationists, And most of all, the children and their parents. 

*Excerpted from the Editor’s introduction in Educating India – a critique the Modi Government’s Education Policy, edited by John Dayal and Sunny Jacob SJ, published by Media House, New Delhi  in January 2020

 

Related:

Are citizenship and secularism ‘disposable’ subjects for Indian students?

OBCs and their due in reservations in medical courses

‘Lawaris’ or let’s just admit it, Children of a Lesser God

 

Modi and Sangh shape education in their own mould

New education policy that comes into force, ironically at a time when the Parliament is not in session, and schools are virtual

New Education policy 2020

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has saved us all a lot of time writing long critiques, with its admission that the Education Policy the Union Cabinet approved in the silence of the Covid catastrophe bears its imprint. The Sangh’s several spokespersons focussed on the mother tongue – a polite phrase to mean the official language of a state, and not really the tongue spoken at home such as Maithili in parts of Bihar or Kui, of the Kondhs of Kandhamal – as the medium of education at the primary level. This was an early climbdown after Tamil Nadu rejected early attempts to foist Hindi. But the education policy bears the Sangh stamp much through its dreary path. 

It also bears Mr Modi’s distinct stamp, of course, who wants the Indian mind purged of all the garbage that Jawaharlal Nehru dreamt for the people of the newly independent India back in 1947. 

The vicious attacks in recent months on the many giants who led the Education Ministry, among them Maulana Abul kalam Azad, the preeminent jurist MC Chagla, Professor Humayun Kabir, Dr KL Shrimali, Dr VKRV Rao, and Professor Nurul Hasan, is an indication of the mindset, if an indication was needed. 

One wonders if a President Kalam would have emerged if his Education Policy was in force when he was a student. Instead of becoming the redoubtable rocket engineer that he became because of his single minded determination, he would have perhaps become a wonderful expert fisheries engineer. All that gentle persuasion to students to take the easy way to vocations instead of philosophy, economics, literature, or physics, the subject I love, is even older than the Sangh. Dates back to Manu. 

A New Education Policy was proposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, within weeks of returning to power for a second term in May 2019. It was a part of the Alliance’s election promise. The people at large were called upon to respond to the policy draft of over 470 pages, published on the website of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). 

The Modi government produced not one but two Draft National Policies. The current one is the third and possibly final one, unless Parliament, whenever it meets, forces changes in it. Or the Supreme Court rules on challenges that will emerge from impacted groups.

All versions have to be located in the political and social environment that has evolved in India since 2014. Political polarisation, the rapid rise of cultural nationalism, a euphemism  for religious majoritarianism, and the open championing of religious mores as national ethos by ministers and elders of the ruling party, competitive pandering by the opposition to communal electoral politics, and a substantive dent in federalism and democratic tolerance mark the new political climate. Persons facing charges of terrorism praising the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliamentary debates, and mob lynchings in many states of men belonging to religious minorities or Dalits, create the grassroots  political surface in which education, as much as other aspects of life, seek to find their place.

The MHRD minister, Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' told the Rajya Sabha in November that more than two lakh [2,00,000] suggestions were received on the policy draft, produced by a committee chaired by the eminent space scientist K Kasturirangan. It was said to be the world’s largest virtual consultation. 

In July, a national consultation was called in Delhi of the Christian and Muslim communities, as also educationists and experts, in Delhi, jointly by the United Christian Action, the Baptist Church Trust Association, the Evangelical fellowship of India. The Archbishop of Delhi, Most Reverend Dr Anil Joseph Thomas Couto presided and the former Vice Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University and a former Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, retired Lt. General Z U Shah delivered the inaugural address. One of the decisions of the National Consultations was to bring together a series of reflections on the Draft National Education Policy 2019, and the government’s approach to human resource development and allied issues. The book is now available to scholars, academics and those involved in school education and institutions of higher learning in India and abroad. 

The MHRD website uploaded the National Education Policy 2019 without fanfare. It did not refer to minority institutions and painstaking avoided direct reference to contentious issues.  

The New Education Policy 2019 was the National Democratic Alliance government’s long-term ideological investment in the country. It sought to change the neurons of the Indian mind, to raise people who will conform to the dreams of its founding fathers, of an India which is one people, one tongue, one culture.  

A dream ‘heavy with nationalist and moral overtones’ has moved many leaders in the world. But no people are a homogenous singular entity, bound together in shared ethnicity, mother tongue, and perhaps faith or what goes for it when defined in the language of religion. Subcultures, immigrants, microscopic groups left behind by ancient cultures, and now trapped as some precious gemstone in a larger surrounding mass of a different people, have made modern countries a vibrant and lively cultural melting pot, or bouquet.  

Conquering medieval hordes have left their mark in the gashes of their swords and lances, language and some small syncretic cultures nursing their dialects and recipes. Colonialism, the two World Wars, have vastly influenced the new nations in North and South America, and Australia, recipients of larger migrations. As has the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, creating two nations, a Muslim majority Pakistan and India as a secular nation. 

That Pakistan, within a lifetime, broke into two, with-Bengali speaking East Bengal emerging as the independent state of Bangladesh, was evidence that no single bond can keep a nation together, especially religion, if inequity, economic and developmental imbalances and lacunae in distributive justice distort the critical equilibrium. 

While most nations struggle with issues of race and religion, India has the additional burden of Caste, unique to its soil, and carried as an heirloom wherever Indian people migrate in search of economic opportunity. Ironically, it was Caste rather than economic status that kept a large section of the Indian population away from education, classically reserved only for the ‘higher’ Castes.   

The basic social reforms of the 20th century were to devolve mass education to not just the economically backward, but the culturally deprived Castes and classes, once called the untouchables, and now classified in the more sterilised terminology of Scheduled Castes. The struggle eventually fructified in the passing of the Right To Education Act (RTE), recognising education as a basic human right, an important catalyst in a person realising to the full his or her inherent intellectual potential. The 86thAmendment in 2009 to the statutes inserted Article 21 A on the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education.

In its two phases, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political face of the now nearly a century old Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and the lead party in the National Democratic Alliance, has sought to consolidate a nationhood based almost entirely on religion, silencing fitfully the divisions of caste, ethnic origins and language.  

The government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998-2004) tinkered with the education policy at the Centre, and more so in states where the party was in power, using modifications in text books and pedagogy to inject its ideology in as blatant a manner as was possible, and no longer surreptitiously through individual ideologues in positions of importance as had been its wont. 

It did not succeed as much as it had hoped for, partly because of its political fragility, and also because of the alertness of an Opposition and a civil society which had been galvanised by the occurrences of the early 1990s in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the consequent polarisation of the nation and a series of communally targeted incidents of violence.  

The period saw the setting up of the Ekal School movement by a frontal unit of the Sangh Parivar, a concept of one teacher schools in rural, and the remote and forested Tribal areas of central India, to ideologically challenge the influence of Christian missionaries. They are outside the government scrutiny or administration, and exact numbers are not known, but statements by political functionaries suggest there may be as many as 1,00,000 such schools.

The incomplete task of correcting perceived colonial or Nehruvian biases in education and bringing it in line with the cultural nationalism propounded in the ruling party’s election manifesto. Its campaign rhetoric was left to be completed by Mr Narendra Modi who led the National Democratic alliance to an overwhelming victory in the general elections in May 2014. 

While he quickly moved through such measures as demonetisation of high value currency notes to leave his mark on the economy, the Ministry of Human Resource Development was his instrument of choice to mould the nation to one of his dreams. The massive political mandate in his second term left Mr Modi free of any pressures from friends, allies and foes. 

Covid, the lockdown and the evaporation of the Opposition’s resistance, the emergence of a proto Presidential governance system, paved the way for the New education policy that comes into force ironically at a time when there is no Parliament in session, and there are no schools physically open.

Education, mercifully , remains in the Concurrent list and the states have a stake, and a hand on the pilot’s controls. 

The decades since Independence have seen a series of education commissions, operations and national campaigns attempting, with varying success, to see that education did not lose pace or slow down its momentum. The birth of the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Open School system, the National Education Policy of 1986, the 2001 Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, mid-day meal scheme at the primary level, and scholarships to Scheduled Caste  and Tribes, to religious minorities and other backward groups have sought to ensure that the economic status of the family was not a hindrance in the pursuit acknowledge for a student of capacity and talent.

The impetus has seen a massive growth of infrastructure. After China, India is the second in the world in terms of number of educational institutions at various levels and the population of its children in school. According to Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FICCI) 2017 data, India had over 250 million students enrolled. But there were major hurdles in access and infrastructure. The approximately 17,000 teacher education institutions in the country, over 92 percent privately owned, have been found wanting in producing the quality of teachers the new education system needed. 

The Justice J S Verma Commission exposed this, saying most of these teaching colleges were not even attempting to provide good education, instead remaining mere commercial shops. Government data shows over one million teacher vacancies. Pupil-teacher ratios were consequently larger than 60:1, especially in rural  areas and small towns. Government claims gender parity in school enrolment, but elementary infrastructure issues as separate toilets for girl students, and transport, have perpetuated real-time gender skewness, especially in the post-primary sections. 

The NDA’s first Draft Education Policy had a short life. The Government’s weak position in the Rajya Sabha and the erudition of Marxist member of Parliament Mr Sitaram Yechuri and Congress lead speaker, Mr Rahman Khan, a former deputy chairman of the Upper House, saw the then HRD Minister, Mr Prakash Keshav Javadekar, beat a retreat, assuring Parliament he would come back with an education policy after due diligence and consultations with all stakeholders including Members of Parliament. 

Two years later, the Draft National Education Policy 2019 was put on the internet portal of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. It was over 475 pages. In a first reading, it seemed to include the most vulnerable and marginalised members. A second, more careful reading by experts raised many red flags. 

At the heart of the policy was the Rashtriya Shiksa Ayog (RSA) / National Education Commission (NEC), an overarching institution with a mandate beyond MHRD was directly under the Prime Minister. “The Prime Minister can bring his/her authority to create necessary synergies and provide direction to this national endeavour, as part of the country’s overall vision of a knowledge society,” the DNEP said.

In its non-minority schools, the policy writers noted “the provisions of the NEP 2019 are for students from religious and linguistic minorities and not for minority “schools” per se. It reaffirmed  that linguistic minorities were to be encouraged. Special provisions included Special Education Zones for high population Muslim areas. It said “Traditional and religious schools such as madrasas, gurukuls, pathshalas, maktabs and religious schools form the Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and other traditions may be encouraged to preserve their traditions and pedagogical styles, but at the same time supported to integrate into the NCF.” 

A contentious issue that roused immediate protest was on Minority Status of schools and colleges. The DNEP alleged “judicial exemptions granted by the Supreme Court have been misused... will be stopped.” As if in counterpoint, it commended “alternative models of education such as gurukuls, pathshalas, madrasas, and home schooling will be allowed. Other models for schools will also be piloted, such as philanthropic-public partnerships.”

The draft caused a near explosion in Tamil Nadu on the issue of language with charges that the government was foisting Hindi and Sanskrit. The DNEP 2019 had said of English as a medium of instruction and conversation: “Logically speaking , of course, English has no advantage over other languages in expressing thoughts. Moreover, Indian languages are very scientifically structured and do not have unphonetic, complicated spellings of words and numerous grammatical exceptions; they also have a vast and highly sophisticated ancient, medieval, and modern literature in the Indian context, as a consequence they have a certain home-feel and “apnapan” quality in the Indian context, making them easier, more relatable and more relevant for children. It is recommended that in interactions between people within India be conducted in languages native to India; thus Indian languages must be heavily promoted again and with new vigour.” 

Private sector in schools

The Federation of Central Universities (FEDCUTA) noted the "reforms" and restructuring pushed by the Government aimed at selling education as a commodity. Instead of strengthening and repairing the public-funded higher education system, the Government has been pushing privatisation and commercialisation of education at a frightening pace through a slew of regulations such as Graded Autonomy, Autonomous Colleges, HEFA for loans instead of grants, Tripartite MOU, Institutions of Excellence, HECI Bill etc, all of which aim to push Higher Education Institutions into a self-financing model increasingly at the mercy of market forces. The immediate corollaries of each of these have been the jeopardising of service conditions of employees, steep fee-hikes (euphemistically called "user-charges") and a crackdown on all democratic spaces and practices to stifle resistance to these policies. The Policy notified in June 2019 seeks to concretise and complete this process with its core agenda of "deregulation"(or privatisation) overseen by a centrally controlled Shiksha Aayog. 

While the DNEP 2019  suggested creating a ‘Special Education Zone’ to ensure access to education for all, there is no clarity about the sources and methods of funding quality education, especially in educationally, and economically backward states that face an acute resource crunch. Scepticisms arose from the fact that in the past most states have failed to provide financial wherewithal to support quality education, which is why nearly 50 percent of the students, mainly from poor families drop out before completing their secondary education.

Education Cess has been collected since 2004 from Income Tax payers, to augment the additional funds for investment in school education. The money collected on account of ‘educational cess’ has never been efficiently utilised. 

Covid has sharpened the chasm between the privileged and the underprivileged, or non-privileged. We now call it the Digital Divide.

How will the immediate young generation bridge that gulf in the strained resources of the near future remains a challenge, a. question mark before Mr Modi, the political apparatus, educationists, And most of all, the children and their parents. 

*Excerpted from the Editor’s introduction in Educating India – a critique the Modi Government’s Education Policy, edited by John Dayal and Sunny Jacob SJ, published by Media House, New Delhi  in January 2020

 

Related:

Are citizenship and secularism ‘disposable’ subjects for Indian students?

OBCs and their due in reservations in medical courses

‘Lawaris’ or let’s just admit it, Children of a Lesser God

 

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Cancel mandatory university final exams: Joint Forum for Movement of Education

Demand to withdraw revised UGC guidelines about universities being required to complete final year examinations by September 2020

24 Jul 2020

Image Courtesy:ciol.com

The Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME) has launched a petition to draw attention to the crisis engulfing the education sector amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. As the first coronavirus cases trickled in, India shut its schools and moved the education system online. However, this just highlighted the digital divide and the lack of infrastructure required for education to be accessed by all.

In this context, the JFME, which consists of constituent organizations like the All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organization and the All India Forum for Right to Education, among others, launched a petition addressing PM Modi. The petition stated, “The recently released 'UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of Covid-19 Pandemic', propose illogical and un-academic solutions for evaluating and granting degrees to students.”

The UGC Revised Guidelines state “The universities are required to complete the Terminal Semester / Final Year Examinations (2019-20) by the end of September 2020 in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode following the prescribed protocols/ guidelines related to COVID-19 pandemic.”

Erroneous supposition by UGC

The petition states that the guidelines erroneously suppose two things. First – that the decision is taken on the premise of upholding the “principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students” and increasing their academic credibility and ensuring their future career progress. Second - that online exams could replicate assessments done through examinations in pen and paper mode and these are the best available alternatives in the current context.

Ground realities overlooked, state governments not consulted

The petition has therefore cited reasons on why UGC should withdraw these guidelines. Firstly, the diverse ground realities prevailing in different parts of the country and the concerns expressed by different State Governments and Universities are not acknowledged in the said Guidelines. It states, “The situation in many parts of the country is extremely critical. Recent floods in some parts of the country and consequent problems of electricity, etc. will also make it difficult for the conduct of examinations.”

The petition states that the UGC guidelines “ignore the fact that Education is on the concurrent list and State Governments ought to have a say in what is to be implemented. Not letting State Governments and Universities choose the method most appropriate to their conditions through their respective statutory processes and consultation with all stakeholders, therefore, amounts to a serious erosion of academic standards and institutional autonomy.”

It adds, “The one-size-fits-all approach cannot work because of the sheer diversity in the circumstances of different universities - their sizes and geographical spreads, socio-economic status of their students, whether they are unitary universities or have affiliated institutions, the relative importance of undergraduate and post-graduate courses, their disciplinary mix, their mediums of instruction and examination, etc.”

Safety of students compromised

The petition also states that given the increase of cases throughout the country, it would be near impossible for regular examinations to be conducted by September without the safety of the students being compromised. Given this situation, most would Universities would opt for online / blended mode of examination which cannot match up to the credibility of regular examinations.

Discriminatory

It also states, “The online / blended mode is discriminatory towards those without access to books, notes and online resources. Lack of stable internet connectivity, especially in the remote parts of the country, will put a large section of students at a huge disadvantage. Differently-abled students and those from the underprivileged sections of society will be the worst hit.”

Another point that the petition makes is that the online / blended mode of examination will not monitor the use of unfair means and will penalise those who are honest and promote malpractice. Given these problems, the JFME has suggested that other forms of “credible and meaningful assessment like internal / continuous assessment and / or average scores of past semesters would meet the criteria of fairness and integrity better.”

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifThe JFME also strives to clarify the misconception that “cancellation of “final exams” in view of the pandemic would amount to not evaluating students or giving them an undervalued degree.” It says, “Intermediate students are to be evaluated and promoted based on the average of past semesters and the internal assessment of the current semester. Hence, there is no reason that such an alternative cannot be adopted for final semester / year students.”

Hence, given the current scenario in the country, the JFME has sought immediate intervention from the PM for the “immediate intervention for the withdrawal of the UGC Guidelines, the immediate cancellation of the mandatory requirement of examinations for final year students and for alternative forms to be adopted for grant of degrees.”

The change.org petition by JFME may be accessed here.

As many as 31 students in 13 states have now filed a plea in the Supreme seeking the cancellation of final year exams and that results be declared on past performance and internal assessment. The Court is set to hear the plea in the next two days.

Related:

Students with disabilities, those from underprivileged households and women left out of online learning during pandemic
E-learning is corporate driven; not the way to go during lockdown and after

 

Cancel mandatory university final exams: Joint Forum for Movement of Education

Demand to withdraw revised UGC guidelines about universities being required to complete final year examinations by September 2020

Image Courtesy:ciol.com

The Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME) has launched a petition to draw attention to the crisis engulfing the education sector amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. As the first coronavirus cases trickled in, India shut its schools and moved the education system online. However, this just highlighted the digital divide and the lack of infrastructure required for education to be accessed by all.

In this context, the JFME, which consists of constituent organizations like the All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organization and the All India Forum for Right to Education, among others, launched a petition addressing PM Modi. The petition stated, “The recently released 'UGC Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of Covid-19 Pandemic', propose illogical and un-academic solutions for evaluating and granting degrees to students.”

The UGC Revised Guidelines state “The universities are required to complete the Terminal Semester / Final Year Examinations (2019-20) by the end of September 2020 in offline (pen & paper)/ online/ blended (online + offline) mode following the prescribed protocols/ guidelines related to COVID-19 pandemic.”

Erroneous supposition by UGC

The petition states that the guidelines erroneously suppose two things. First – that the decision is taken on the premise of upholding the “principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students” and increasing their academic credibility and ensuring their future career progress. Second - that online exams could replicate assessments done through examinations in pen and paper mode and these are the best available alternatives in the current context.

Ground realities overlooked, state governments not consulted

The petition has therefore cited reasons on why UGC should withdraw these guidelines. Firstly, the diverse ground realities prevailing in different parts of the country and the concerns expressed by different State Governments and Universities are not acknowledged in the said Guidelines. It states, “The situation in many parts of the country is extremely critical. Recent floods in some parts of the country and consequent problems of electricity, etc. will also make it difficult for the conduct of examinations.”

The petition states that the UGC guidelines “ignore the fact that Education is on the concurrent list and State Governments ought to have a say in what is to be implemented. Not letting State Governments and Universities choose the method most appropriate to their conditions through their respective statutory processes and consultation with all stakeholders, therefore, amounts to a serious erosion of academic standards and institutional autonomy.”

It adds, “The one-size-fits-all approach cannot work because of the sheer diversity in the circumstances of different universities - their sizes and geographical spreads, socio-economic status of their students, whether they are unitary universities or have affiliated institutions, the relative importance of undergraduate and post-graduate courses, their disciplinary mix, their mediums of instruction and examination, etc.”

Safety of students compromised

The petition also states that given the increase of cases throughout the country, it would be near impossible for regular examinations to be conducted by September without the safety of the students being compromised. Given this situation, most would Universities would opt for online / blended mode of examination which cannot match up to the credibility of regular examinations.

Discriminatory

It also states, “The online / blended mode is discriminatory towards those without access to books, notes and online resources. Lack of stable internet connectivity, especially in the remote parts of the country, will put a large section of students at a huge disadvantage. Differently-abled students and those from the underprivileged sections of society will be the worst hit.”

Another point that the petition makes is that the online / blended mode of examination will not monitor the use of unfair means and will penalise those who are honest and promote malpractice. Given these problems, the JFME has suggested that other forms of “credible and meaningful assessment like internal / continuous assessment and / or average scores of past semesters would meet the criteria of fairness and integrity better.”

https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifThe JFME also strives to clarify the misconception that “cancellation of “final exams” in view of the pandemic would amount to not evaluating students or giving them an undervalued degree.” It says, “Intermediate students are to be evaluated and promoted based on the average of past semesters and the internal assessment of the current semester. Hence, there is no reason that such an alternative cannot be adopted for final semester / year students.”

Hence, given the current scenario in the country, the JFME has sought immediate intervention from the PM for the “immediate intervention for the withdrawal of the UGC Guidelines, the immediate cancellation of the mandatory requirement of examinations for final year students and for alternative forms to be adopted for grant of degrees.”

The change.org petition by JFME may be accessed here.

As many as 31 students in 13 states have now filed a plea in the Supreme seeking the cancellation of final year exams and that results be declared on past performance and internal assessment. The Court is set to hear the plea in the next two days.

Related:

Students with disabilities, those from underprivileged households and women left out of online learning during pandemic
E-learning is corporate driven; not the way to go during lockdown and after

 

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Covid 19 and furthering of sectarian agenda in education

Chapters on human rights and secularism deleted from curriculum

20 Jul 2020

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

As Covid-19 has created havoc all round, the rulers of certain countries are using it to further intensify their set agendas. The democratic freedoms are being curtailed in certain forms, the reaction to which has come in America in the form of a campaign, which is opposing “stifling” cultural climate that is imposing “ideological conformity” and weakening “norms of open debate and toleration of differences”. In India similar intimidation has intensified. In addition the occasion has been used by the sectarian forces first to link the spread of Corona to Muslim community and now in the name of reducing the burden of curriculum certain chapters on core concepts related to Indian nationalism are being deleted from the text books.

It has been reported that chapters on federalism, citizenship, nationalism, secularism, Human Rights, Legal Aid and Local Self Government and the like are being dropped. Education has been an important area for communal forces and they constantly keep saying that leftists have dominated the curriculum content, it suffers from the impact of Macaulay, Marx and Mohammad and so needs to be Indianised. The first such attempt was done when BJP came to power in 1998 as NDA and had Murli Manohar Joshi as the MHRD minister. He brought the changes which were termed as ‘saffronisation of education’. Their focus is more on social science. Some of the highlights of this were introduction of subjects like Astrology and Paurohitya, and chapters defending caste system, nationalism of the type of Hitler was praised.

With the defeat of NDA in 2004, the UPA did try to rectify some of these distortions. Again after 2014 the RSS affiliates working in the area of education have been active, interacting with MHRD officials to impress upon them the need to change the curriculum matching with their Hindu nationalist agenda. Its ‘Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas’ has been asking for removal of English, Urdu words in the texts. It has asked for removal of thoughts of Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism, extracts of autobiography of M F Husain, references to benevolence of Muslim rulers, references to BJP being Hindu party, apology of Dr. Manmohan Singh for anti Sikh pogrom of 1984, the reference to killings of Gujarat carnage in 2002 among others. This they call as Bhartiykaran of syllabus.

As RSS is a multithreaded hydra one of its pracharak Dinanath Batra has set up ‘Shiksha Bachao Abhiyan Samiti’ which has been pressurising various publishers to drop the books which are not conforming to their ideology. One recalls their pressuring withdrawal of Wendy Doniger’s ‘The Hindus’, as it does present ancient India through the concerns of Dalits and women. Mr. Batra has already come out with a set of nine books for school curriculum, giving the RSS view of the past and RSS understanding of social sciences. These have already been translated into Gujarati and thousands of the sets of these books are being used in Gujarat Schools.

The present step of deleting parts of the curriculum which gives the basics of Indian Nationalism, secularism and human rights is a further step in the same direction. These are the topics which have made the Hindu nationalists uncomfortable during the last few years. They have been defaming secularism. They removed it from the preamble of Indian constitution, when they put out an ad on the eve of Republic day in 2015. From the last few decades, since the Ram Temple movement was brought up, simultaneously the secular ethos of India’s freedom movement and secular values of Indian constitution have been constantly criticised. Many an RSS ideologue, and BJP leaders, have been asking for change of Indian Constitution for this very reason.

Secularism is part of the concept of Indian nationalism. In the name of religious nationalism, sectarian divisive nationalism they have been attacking various student leaders in particular. When we study Nationalism, the very genesis of Indian nationalism tells us the plurality of our freedom movement with its anti-colonial roots. The struggle was for Indian nationalism and so the Muslims and Hindu communalists kept aloof from this great struggle against colonial masters, it was this struggle which built the Indian nation with all its diversity.

Similarly as we have equal rights as citizens the chapters on citizenship are being dropped. Federalism has been the core part of India’s administrative and political structure. As the dictatorial tendencies are becoming stronger, federalism is bound to suffer and that explains the dropping of this subject. Democracy is decentralization of power. Power reaching the lowermost part of the system, the villages and average citizens. This got reflected in Local Self Government. The power is distributed among villages, cities, state and center. By removing chapters on federalism and local self government, the indications of the ideology of the ruling party are on display.

While we are not dealing with all the portents of the planned omissions, one more aspect that is related to dropping a chapter on Human rights needs our attention. The concept of Human rights and dignity are interlinked. This concept of Human rights also has international ramifications. India is signatory to many UN covenants related to Human rights. The indications are clear that now rights will be for the few elite and ‘duties’ for the large deprived sections will be put on the forefront.

In a way this incidental ‘Corona gifted opportunity’ to the ruling Government is being fully used to enhance the agenda of the ruling party in the arena of Educational Curriculum. The part of the curriculum with which the ruling party is uncomfortable is being removed. This act of omission does supplement their other acts of commission in changing the shape of educational curriculum, which are reflected in RSS affiliates’ suggestions to MHRD regarding Bhartiyakaran of contents of syllabus. As per this the things like regarding the great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata as History, the things like India having all the stem cell technology, plastic surgery, aviation science etc. will have a place in the changes planned by communal forces!

* The writer is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay).  


Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Freedom of Religion: Indian Scenario
Palakkad, Kerala & death of a pregnant elephant: Communalisation of a Tragedy
Dealing with Corona Virus: No place for blind Faith
Delhi violence: Genesis of carnage

Covid 19 and furthering of sectarian agenda in education

Chapters on human rights and secularism deleted from curriculum

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

As Covid-19 has created havoc all round, the rulers of certain countries are using it to further intensify their set agendas. The democratic freedoms are being curtailed in certain forms, the reaction to which has come in America in the form of a campaign, which is opposing “stifling” cultural climate that is imposing “ideological conformity” and weakening “norms of open debate and toleration of differences”. In India similar intimidation has intensified. In addition the occasion has been used by the sectarian forces first to link the spread of Corona to Muslim community and now in the name of reducing the burden of curriculum certain chapters on core concepts related to Indian nationalism are being deleted from the text books.

It has been reported that chapters on federalism, citizenship, nationalism, secularism, Human Rights, Legal Aid and Local Self Government and the like are being dropped. Education has been an important area for communal forces and they constantly keep saying that leftists have dominated the curriculum content, it suffers from the impact of Macaulay, Marx and Mohammad and so needs to be Indianised. The first such attempt was done when BJP came to power in 1998 as NDA and had Murli Manohar Joshi as the MHRD minister. He brought the changes which were termed as ‘saffronisation of education’. Their focus is more on social science. Some of the highlights of this were introduction of subjects like Astrology and Paurohitya, and chapters defending caste system, nationalism of the type of Hitler was praised.

With the defeat of NDA in 2004, the UPA did try to rectify some of these distortions. Again after 2014 the RSS affiliates working in the area of education have been active, interacting with MHRD officials to impress upon them the need to change the curriculum matching with their Hindu nationalist agenda. Its ‘Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas’ has been asking for removal of English, Urdu words in the texts. It has asked for removal of thoughts of Rabindranath Tagore on Nationalism, extracts of autobiography of M F Husain, references to benevolence of Muslim rulers, references to BJP being Hindu party, apology of Dr. Manmohan Singh for anti Sikh pogrom of 1984, the reference to killings of Gujarat carnage in 2002 among others. This they call as Bhartiykaran of syllabus.

As RSS is a multithreaded hydra one of its pracharak Dinanath Batra has set up ‘Shiksha Bachao Abhiyan Samiti’ which has been pressurising various publishers to drop the books which are not conforming to their ideology. One recalls their pressuring withdrawal of Wendy Doniger’s ‘The Hindus’, as it does present ancient India through the concerns of Dalits and women. Mr. Batra has already come out with a set of nine books for school curriculum, giving the RSS view of the past and RSS understanding of social sciences. These have already been translated into Gujarati and thousands of the sets of these books are being used in Gujarat Schools.

The present step of deleting parts of the curriculum which gives the basics of Indian Nationalism, secularism and human rights is a further step in the same direction. These are the topics which have made the Hindu nationalists uncomfortable during the last few years. They have been defaming secularism. They removed it from the preamble of Indian constitution, when they put out an ad on the eve of Republic day in 2015. From the last few decades, since the Ram Temple movement was brought up, simultaneously the secular ethos of India’s freedom movement and secular values of Indian constitution have been constantly criticised. Many an RSS ideologue, and BJP leaders, have been asking for change of Indian Constitution for this very reason.

Secularism is part of the concept of Indian nationalism. In the name of religious nationalism, sectarian divisive nationalism they have been attacking various student leaders in particular. When we study Nationalism, the very genesis of Indian nationalism tells us the plurality of our freedom movement with its anti-colonial roots. The struggle was for Indian nationalism and so the Muslims and Hindu communalists kept aloof from this great struggle against colonial masters, it was this struggle which built the Indian nation with all its diversity.

Similarly as we have equal rights as citizens the chapters on citizenship are being dropped. Federalism has been the core part of India’s administrative and political structure. As the dictatorial tendencies are becoming stronger, federalism is bound to suffer and that explains the dropping of this subject. Democracy is decentralization of power. Power reaching the lowermost part of the system, the villages and average citizens. This got reflected in Local Self Government. The power is distributed among villages, cities, state and center. By removing chapters on federalism and local self government, the indications of the ideology of the ruling party are on display.

While we are not dealing with all the portents of the planned omissions, one more aspect that is related to dropping a chapter on Human rights needs our attention. The concept of Human rights and dignity are interlinked. This concept of Human rights also has international ramifications. India is signatory to many UN covenants related to Human rights. The indications are clear that now rights will be for the few elite and ‘duties’ for the large deprived sections will be put on the forefront.

In a way this incidental ‘Corona gifted opportunity’ to the ruling Government is being fully used to enhance the agenda of the ruling party in the arena of Educational Curriculum. The part of the curriculum with which the ruling party is uncomfortable is being removed. This act of omission does supplement their other acts of commission in changing the shape of educational curriculum, which are reflected in RSS affiliates’ suggestions to MHRD regarding Bhartiyakaran of contents of syllabus. As per this the things like regarding the great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata as History, the things like India having all the stem cell technology, plastic surgery, aviation science etc. will have a place in the changes planned by communal forces!

* The writer is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay).  


Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Freedom of Religion: Indian Scenario
Palakkad, Kerala & death of a pregnant elephant: Communalisation of a Tragedy
Dealing with Corona Virus: No place for blind Faith
Delhi violence: Genesis of carnage

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Himachal Pradesh CM lauds efforts of anganwadi workers during  Covid-19 pandemic

The anganwadi workers made over 5 lakh masks, but some still complain of inadequate pay

10 Jul 2020

anganwadi

As India grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, frontline workers have emerged as heroes, ensuring that the citizens remain safe during these trying times. Of these, the ones who have played a major role, going door-to-door, sensitizing people about the risks and precautions to be taken, are the anganwadi workers.

In light of their tireless efforts, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur lauded these anganwadi workers for controlling the spread of the pandemic in the state and said that the government was spending Rs. 586.82 crore on the overall development of women and children, The Tribune reported.

 

 

The CM held a video conference with anganwadi workers from different cities in the state and said that not only were the anganwadi workers educating citizens regarding the use of masks and social distancing, but they had also played a commendable role in making the government’s Nigah programme a success by ensuring that people do not jump quarantine.

 

Apart from that, he added that the anganwadi workers had played a major role in finding active cases where they covered a population of 70 lakh and collected data of people with influenza-like symptoms. Janta TV reported that 4,021 and 4,083 anganwadi workers contributed in the active case finding (ACF) mission and the cluster containment survey (CCS) respectively. It was also reported that anganwadi workers made and distributed 5.68 lakh masks to the people of the state. For this, the CM hailed the anganwadi workers from Hamirpur for their efforts.

 

 

 

 

Janta TV also reported that the CM announced that for their commendable work, the state has now increased the honorarium paid to anganwadi workers to Rs. 500 per month. It has also increased the honorarium to the tune of Rs. 300 per month for mini anganwadi workers and anganwadi assistants. Currently, anganwadi workers are being paid Rs. 6,800 per month opposed to Rs. 6,300 earlier and mini anganwadi workers are being paid Rs. 4,900 as opposed to Rs. 4,600 earlier. Anganwadi assistants are now being paid Rs. 3,500 instead of Rs. 3,200.

An anganwadi worker, Sonia, who joined the video conference held by the CM said that they completed the ACF mission in Kangra within seven days and the mobile phones they were given by the government came to their rescue. She also said that they helped provide rations to the needy with help of the panchayat at their homes.

Anganwadi workers from Mandi and Shimla told the CM that apart from relief efforts and educating people about protecting themselves, they also helped counsel families who witnessed cases of domestic violence.

While anganwadi workers have been appreciated for their efforts in the state, all has not been hunky dory. In April, speaking to the Hindu Businessline, an ASHA worker on the condition of anonymity had expressed the disparity between how tough their jobs were and how little they were being compensated for it. She had said, “We are roped in for election duty, Aadhaar registration and now Covid-19 data collection. I have 1,400 people in my anganwadi and I am doing a door-to-door survey of each household to find out if anyone has visited a foreign country recently or suffers from respiratory ailments of specific kinds. I am also supposed to track vaccination schedules and lactating mothers. Then I am supposed to upload all this information online. I get paid ₹6,500 a month. This is less than even the minimum wage which is about ₹300 a day. We don’t mind the work but at least we should get paid.”

The Anganwadi workers have been battling for a minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 per month, garnering support from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and other outfits affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI – M). They complain that the salaries promised to them don’t come on time and sometimes they have to go months without getting their pay. At such times, they selflessly contribute from their own pockets – for charts, toys and other items, for they love the job they do. Not just this, they also prepare food and ensure the kids get a variety in their diet.

Last year, The Wire had also reported of them being overburdened with tasks like Booth Level Officer (BLO) duties, surveys, maintenance of innumerable registers and even tasks that do not come under the ICDS.

Last year, speaking to SabrangIndia, Armaity Irani from the Anganwadi Karmachari Sangathana (Maharashtra) had said, “Currently, the Centre pays Rs. 4,500 to workers and Rs. 2,250 to helpers. There is also a disparity here for some governments do not contribute to salaries or benefits at all. The unions are now demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 21,000 per month for all anganwadi workers from the Central government.”

The anganwadi workers who work 24x7 are still awaiting regularization but don’t see that happening as the wages itself don’t come on time. Their fight, even before the pandemic was hard and continues to remain so.

Related:

Reports of glaring vacancies of ASHA workers in Covid-19 hotspots, no pay emerge

ASHA Workers on Covid-19 duty demand safety gear, healthcare, insurance and better wages

 

Himachal Pradesh CM lauds efforts of anganwadi workers during  Covid-19 pandemic

The anganwadi workers made over 5 lakh masks, but some still complain of inadequate pay

anganwadi

As India grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, frontline workers have emerged as heroes, ensuring that the citizens remain safe during these trying times. Of these, the ones who have played a major role, going door-to-door, sensitizing people about the risks and precautions to be taken, are the anganwadi workers.

In light of their tireless efforts, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur lauded these anganwadi workers for controlling the spread of the pandemic in the state and said that the government was spending Rs. 586.82 crore on the overall development of women and children, The Tribune reported.

 

 

The CM held a video conference with anganwadi workers from different cities in the state and said that not only were the anganwadi workers educating citizens regarding the use of masks and social distancing, but they had also played a commendable role in making the government’s Nigah programme a success by ensuring that people do not jump quarantine.

 

Apart from that, he added that the anganwadi workers had played a major role in finding active cases where they covered a population of 70 lakh and collected data of people with influenza-like symptoms. Janta TV reported that 4,021 and 4,083 anganwadi workers contributed in the active case finding (ACF) mission and the cluster containment survey (CCS) respectively. It was also reported that anganwadi workers made and distributed 5.68 lakh masks to the people of the state. For this, the CM hailed the anganwadi workers from Hamirpur for their efforts.

 

 

 

 

Janta TV also reported that the CM announced that for their commendable work, the state has now increased the honorarium paid to anganwadi workers to Rs. 500 per month. It has also increased the honorarium to the tune of Rs. 300 per month for mini anganwadi workers and anganwadi assistants. Currently, anganwadi workers are being paid Rs. 6,800 per month opposed to Rs. 6,300 earlier and mini anganwadi workers are being paid Rs. 4,900 as opposed to Rs. 4,600 earlier. Anganwadi assistants are now being paid Rs. 3,500 instead of Rs. 3,200.

An anganwadi worker, Sonia, who joined the video conference held by the CM said that they completed the ACF mission in Kangra within seven days and the mobile phones they were given by the government came to their rescue. She also said that they helped provide rations to the needy with help of the panchayat at their homes.

Anganwadi workers from Mandi and Shimla told the CM that apart from relief efforts and educating people about protecting themselves, they also helped counsel families who witnessed cases of domestic violence.

While anganwadi workers have been appreciated for their efforts in the state, all has not been hunky dory. In April, speaking to the Hindu Businessline, an ASHA worker on the condition of anonymity had expressed the disparity between how tough their jobs were and how little they were being compensated for it. She had said, “We are roped in for election duty, Aadhaar registration and now Covid-19 data collection. I have 1,400 people in my anganwadi and I am doing a door-to-door survey of each household to find out if anyone has visited a foreign country recently or suffers from respiratory ailments of specific kinds. I am also supposed to track vaccination schedules and lactating mothers. Then I am supposed to upload all this information online. I get paid ₹6,500 a month. This is less than even the minimum wage which is about ₹300 a day. We don’t mind the work but at least we should get paid.”

The Anganwadi workers have been battling for a minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 per month, garnering support from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and other outfits affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI – M). They complain that the salaries promised to them don’t come on time and sometimes they have to go months without getting their pay. At such times, they selflessly contribute from their own pockets – for charts, toys and other items, for they love the job they do. Not just this, they also prepare food and ensure the kids get a variety in their diet.

Last year, The Wire had also reported of them being overburdened with tasks like Booth Level Officer (BLO) duties, surveys, maintenance of innumerable registers and even tasks that do not come under the ICDS.

Last year, speaking to SabrangIndia, Armaity Irani from the Anganwadi Karmachari Sangathana (Maharashtra) had said, “Currently, the Centre pays Rs. 4,500 to workers and Rs. 2,250 to helpers. There is also a disparity here for some governments do not contribute to salaries or benefits at all. The unions are now demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 21,000 per month for all anganwadi workers from the Central government.”

The anganwadi workers who work 24x7 are still awaiting regularization but don’t see that happening as the wages itself don’t come on time. Their fight, even before the pandemic was hard and continues to remain so.

Related:

Reports of glaring vacancies of ASHA workers in Covid-19 hotspots, no pay emerge

ASHA Workers on Covid-19 duty demand safety gear, healthcare, insurance and better wages

 

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Are citizenship and secularism ‘disposable’ subjects for Indian students?

MHRD 'rationalises' curriculum, also drops modules on Human Rights, Legal Aid and Local Government 

08 Jul 2020

CBSE School
Picture for representational purpose only. 

In the latest policy decision taken in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided that high-school students no longer need to learn about  “federalism, citizenship, nationalism, and secularism”. Those chapters have now been deleted from the political science curriculum of Class 11.

The Union Minister for HRD Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said this was done in view of the “extraordinary situation prevailing in the country and the world. The government has done this as a part of its attempt to ‘rationalise syllabus up to 30% by retaining the core concepts.” 
 

 

Thus the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was advised to revise the curriculum and reduce course load for the students of Class 9 to 12. However the board seems to have gone above and beyond the brief to revise the syllabi for those classes for the academic session 2020-21, and removed large chunks across subjects.

Many senior teachers are baffled by the timing. “How can anyone say at this moment that what percentage is to be reduced? For the Board classes we used to complete syllabus by October-November,” said a senior teacher of a government school. 

According to another teacher, a political science expert himself, other subjects too have been affected. “For class 12 mathematics, a few sub topics have been removed from some chapters. This has hardly reduced ten days of work, how does it help,” he asked. Some other teachers are surprised at the choice of subjects removed as well. The subjects deleted they said were easy for the students to read and understand. And therefore they were easier to answer in the final exams and helped the student score better marks. “Easy topics which used to be helpful to get through, have been removed. In humanities complete chapters have been removed,” said a class teacher. Another added that most class 12 science students are also preparing for entrance exams for engineering and medical colleges and cannot skip any chapter in the syllabus at all. Not at least “till clear instructions received from National Testing Agency (NTA),” said a science teacher.
 

Political Science topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Federalism 
  • Local Governments
  • Why do we need Local Governments?
  • Growth of Local Government in India
  • Citizenship 
  • Nationalism 
  • Secularism 
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Completely Deleted)
  • Changing nature of India’s economic development Planning Commission and Five-year Plans
  • India’s Relations with its Neighbours: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar

History topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Understanding Partition
  • Peasants, Zamindars and the State
  • Colonial Cities
  • Early Societies
  • Nomadic Empires
  • Confrontation of Cultures

Legal Studies topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Historical context of Human Rights in India
  • History of the Legal Profession in India
  • Classification of Lawyers: Roles and Functions
  • Legal Profession in other Jurisdictions (This includes Legal Education in the United States, UK and other countries like France, Germany, Singapore, People's Republic of China and Australia)
  • Brief history of legal services
  • Legal background – Free Legal Aid under International law, the Indian legal system
  • Hierarchy of Legal Aid Service Authorities – The Central Authority, The State Authority, The District Authority and Taluk Legal Services Committee
  • Funding
  • Administrative Law

In English Core topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Writing Classified Advertisements
  • Letters to the editor (giving suggestions/opinions on an issue) 
  • Application for a job with a bio-data or résumé
  • Article & Report Writing
  • Narrative Grammar
  • Modals
  • Clauses
  • Change of Voice
  • Error Correction, editing task/cloze passages


The complete list of deleted topics may be read here:

http://www.cbseacademic.nic.in/Revisedcurriculum_2021.html

In an official communication HRD Minister Pokhriyal had also informed that a few weeks ago, he invited suggestions from all educationists on the reduction of syllabus on social media by using #SyllabusForStudents2020. He said changes made in the syllabi were finalised by various course committees and approved by the curriculum committee and governing body of the board. The CBSE has not told heads of schools to ensure that students are informed about the topics that have been reduced. However the reduced syllabus will not be part of the topics for Internal Assessment and year-end Board Examination.

The Indian Express has reported how, sub-sections such as ‘Why do we need Local Governments?’ and ‘Growth of Local Government in India’ have been removed from the curriculum. The CBSE’s official statements added that the teachers must now explain to the students “to the extent required to connect different topics” even as chunks have been removed. 

According to the IE report, “recently, the other central board – Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) – had announced to reduce their syllabus for class 10 and 12 by 25 per cent to “make up for the loss in instructional hours during the current session 2020-21.”

“It would have been easier on the students if the government had just delayed the session. They could have now opted for a session to start in January and last till December, like they do abroad. The wider syllabus was needed to help the students learn better, more holistically,” said a teacher, adding that the students will now need a lot of help to connect the dots and will still need to be told about the missing chapters even if they are not going to earn any extra marks.   


(The revised syllabus is available on CBSE Academic Website:  www.cbseacademic.nic.in )

Are citizenship and secularism ‘disposable’ subjects for Indian students?

MHRD 'rationalises' curriculum, also drops modules on Human Rights, Legal Aid and Local Government 

CBSE School
Picture for representational purpose only. 

In the latest policy decision taken in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided that high-school students no longer need to learn about  “federalism, citizenship, nationalism, and secularism”. Those chapters have now been deleted from the political science curriculum of Class 11.

The Union Minister for HRD Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said this was done in view of the “extraordinary situation prevailing in the country and the world. The government has done this as a part of its attempt to ‘rationalise syllabus up to 30% by retaining the core concepts.” 
 

 

Thus the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was advised to revise the curriculum and reduce course load for the students of Class 9 to 12. However the board seems to have gone above and beyond the brief to revise the syllabi for those classes for the academic session 2020-21, and removed large chunks across subjects.

Many senior teachers are baffled by the timing. “How can anyone say at this moment that what percentage is to be reduced? For the Board classes we used to complete syllabus by October-November,” said a senior teacher of a government school. 

According to another teacher, a political science expert himself, other subjects too have been affected. “For class 12 mathematics, a few sub topics have been removed from some chapters. This has hardly reduced ten days of work, how does it help,” he asked. Some other teachers are surprised at the choice of subjects removed as well. The subjects deleted they said were easy for the students to read and understand. And therefore they were easier to answer in the final exams and helped the student score better marks. “Easy topics which used to be helpful to get through, have been removed. In humanities complete chapters have been removed,” said a class teacher. Another added that most class 12 science students are also preparing for entrance exams for engineering and medical colleges and cannot skip any chapter in the syllabus at all. Not at least “till clear instructions received from National Testing Agency (NTA),” said a science teacher.
 

Political Science topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Federalism 
  • Local Governments
  • Why do we need Local Governments?
  • Growth of Local Government in India
  • Citizenship 
  • Nationalism 
  • Secularism 
  • Environment and Natural Resources (Completely Deleted)
  • Changing nature of India’s economic development Planning Commission and Five-year Plans
  • India’s Relations with its Neighbours: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar

History topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Understanding Partition
  • Peasants, Zamindars and the State
  • Colonial Cities
  • Early Societies
  • Nomadic Empires
  • Confrontation of Cultures

Legal Studies topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Historical context of Human Rights in India
  • History of the Legal Profession in India
  • Classification of Lawyers: Roles and Functions
  • Legal Profession in other Jurisdictions (This includes Legal Education in the United States, UK and other countries like France, Germany, Singapore, People's Republic of China and Australia)
  • Brief history of legal services
  • Legal background – Free Legal Aid under International law, the Indian legal system
  • Hierarchy of Legal Aid Service Authorities – The Central Authority, The State Authority, The District Authority and Taluk Legal Services Committee
  • Funding
  • Administrative Law

In English Core topics CBSE deleted include:

  • Writing Classified Advertisements
  • Letters to the editor (giving suggestions/opinions on an issue) 
  • Application for a job with a bio-data or résumé
  • Article & Report Writing
  • Narrative Grammar
  • Modals
  • Clauses
  • Change of Voice
  • Error Correction, editing task/cloze passages


The complete list of deleted topics may be read here:

http://www.cbseacademic.nic.in/Revisedcurriculum_2021.html

In an official communication HRD Minister Pokhriyal had also informed that a few weeks ago, he invited suggestions from all educationists on the reduction of syllabus on social media by using #SyllabusForStudents2020. He said changes made in the syllabi were finalised by various course committees and approved by the curriculum committee and governing body of the board. The CBSE has not told heads of schools to ensure that students are informed about the topics that have been reduced. However the reduced syllabus will not be part of the topics for Internal Assessment and year-end Board Examination.

The Indian Express has reported how, sub-sections such as ‘Why do we need Local Governments?’ and ‘Growth of Local Government in India’ have been removed from the curriculum. The CBSE’s official statements added that the teachers must now explain to the students “to the extent required to connect different topics” even as chunks have been removed. 

According to the IE report, “recently, the other central board – Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) – had announced to reduce their syllabus for class 10 and 12 by 25 per cent to “make up for the loss in instructional hours during the current session 2020-21.”

“It would have been easier on the students if the government had just delayed the session. They could have now opted for a session to start in January and last till December, like they do abroad. The wider syllabus was needed to help the students learn better, more holistically,” said a teacher, adding that the students will now need a lot of help to connect the dots and will still need to be told about the missing chapters even if they are not going to earn any extra marks.   


(The revised syllabus is available on CBSE Academic Website:  www.cbseacademic.nic.in )

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Covid-19: Schools terminate contractual services, reduce teaching staff during lockdown

Schools say that non-payment of fees and no support of government have led them to take these decisions

02 Jul 2020

t

In a desperate bid to remain financially viable, a number of schools are trying to cut costs as they are not getting fees and finding it increasingly difficult to raise funds for additional expenditure, reported The Telegraph.

Recurring contracts put on hold

Schools over the country are feeling the pressure amid the lockdown as it is not yet clear when classes would resume. In cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Delhi and other places where cases are burgeoning, schools are treading safe and cutting back on all investments that they currently feel are not of need.

In Calcutta, The Telegraph reported, Sri Sri Academy has decided to reduce its bus fleet by half and Chowringhee High School has discontinued its digital classroom contract for which it has to an agency every quarter. Some other schools have taken a break from upgrading their IT infrastructure and paused the renewal of contract with nurses.

Even though digital classrooms are imperative for kids to keep abreast with the syllabus during the lockdown, some schools like the Chowringhee High School see no alternative but to discontinue the service as parents face financial hardships in paying the fees, The Telegraph reported.

Earlier last month, twenty two contractual employees of the DAV Public School in Amritsar who worked as peons and sweepers protested as they were allegedly laid off by the management and not even paid their dues, The Tribune reported. However, the school authorities refuted the claims of the layoffs and told the publication that the management had issued orders to not renew contracts of outsourced employees until the school reopened.

Teachers hit hard

In Mumbai, The Times of India reported that the Private Unaided School Managements Association, Independent English Schools Association and Unaided Schools Forum which have a total membership of nearly 440 schools said that about 60 percent of budget private schools were in no financial position to pay their teachers and start online classes. Budget private schools are those that charge an annual fee of less than Rs. 15,000. Rajendra Singh of the Independent English Schools Association told TOI, “In many budget private schools where fees are minimal, there isn’t any scope to dig into reserves. So schools do not have resources to build up online infrastructure and start classes.”

In Telangana, in May, private school managements had decided to not renew the contracts of teachers as there was no clarity on when the 2020-21 academic year would commence, The Times of India had reported. The Telangana Recognized Managements Association (TRSMA) which has over 10,000 school managements as members, had also decided to stop paying teachers their salaries starting May, attributing the move to non-payment of fees by parents.

In Delhi, Hindustan Times reported that teachers working on a contractual basis who were paid every day, were forced to find alternative means of livelihood during the lockdown – by selling vegetables, setting up a repair shop or returning to farming, as schools continued to remain closed. These teachers who are not paid for Sunday’s, vacations or national holidays but somehow managed to find work during such times to support their income, are now left fending for themselves until schools reopen physically.

Domino effect of government apathy

The education system in India is in the doldrums. It is finding itself in a difficult position as it doesn’t have any answer to give to educational institutions about what help they will get to sustain during the pandemic.

When Hindustan Times spoke to Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia asking him about a plan to take back guest teachers, he said, “The matter is to be taken by the services department, which is under the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi. Service matters are not discussed with us.”

Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, which released the budget for 2020-21 reduced the allocation for the state’s education sector to 11.21 percent compared with 14.31 percent in the last academic year. P. Babu Reddy, General Secretary of the United Teachers Federation, AP, told the Wire that the budget cuts don’t bode well for the education sector which is already facing a host of problems during the pandemic.

In the Union Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earmarked Rs. 99,311 crore for the education sector in 2020 – 21 and around Rs. 3,000 crore on skill development. While Rs. 99,311 crore does look like a whopping statistic, on closer look it reveals only a 5 percent increase from the previous year’s allocation which was Rs. 94,800 crore. The 2020 budget also emphasized the need for quality teacher education, but the reduced budgetary outlay for the same from Rs. 870 crores in 2018-19, to Rs. 125 crore in 2019-20 and now to Rs. 110 crore for 2020-21, just goes to suggest that the government has not made this a priority.

Before the pandemic hit, almost all states in India experienced teacher and staff protests over pay with student movements taking place in universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadavpur University, Delhi University, etc. Now, the position of teachers and staff members has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic has further worsened the situation with salary cuts and non-renewal of contracts with no end of their struggles in sight.

Related:

Budget 2020 shows the bleak future of higher education in India

Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today

 

Covid-19: Schools terminate contractual services, reduce teaching staff during lockdown

Schools say that non-payment of fees and no support of government have led them to take these decisions

t

In a desperate bid to remain financially viable, a number of schools are trying to cut costs as they are not getting fees and finding it increasingly difficult to raise funds for additional expenditure, reported The Telegraph.

Recurring contracts put on hold

Schools over the country are feeling the pressure amid the lockdown as it is not yet clear when classes would resume. In cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Delhi and other places where cases are burgeoning, schools are treading safe and cutting back on all investments that they currently feel are not of need.

In Calcutta, The Telegraph reported, Sri Sri Academy has decided to reduce its bus fleet by half and Chowringhee High School has discontinued its digital classroom contract for which it has to an agency every quarter. Some other schools have taken a break from upgrading their IT infrastructure and paused the renewal of contract with nurses.

Even though digital classrooms are imperative for kids to keep abreast with the syllabus during the lockdown, some schools like the Chowringhee High School see no alternative but to discontinue the service as parents face financial hardships in paying the fees, The Telegraph reported.

Earlier last month, twenty two contractual employees of the DAV Public School in Amritsar who worked as peons and sweepers protested as they were allegedly laid off by the management and not even paid their dues, The Tribune reported. However, the school authorities refuted the claims of the layoffs and told the publication that the management had issued orders to not renew contracts of outsourced employees until the school reopened.

Teachers hit hard

In Mumbai, The Times of India reported that the Private Unaided School Managements Association, Independent English Schools Association and Unaided Schools Forum which have a total membership of nearly 440 schools said that about 60 percent of budget private schools were in no financial position to pay their teachers and start online classes. Budget private schools are those that charge an annual fee of less than Rs. 15,000. Rajendra Singh of the Independent English Schools Association told TOI, “In many budget private schools where fees are minimal, there isn’t any scope to dig into reserves. So schools do not have resources to build up online infrastructure and start classes.”

In Telangana, in May, private school managements had decided to not renew the contracts of teachers as there was no clarity on when the 2020-21 academic year would commence, The Times of India had reported. The Telangana Recognized Managements Association (TRSMA) which has over 10,000 school managements as members, had also decided to stop paying teachers their salaries starting May, attributing the move to non-payment of fees by parents.

In Delhi, Hindustan Times reported that teachers working on a contractual basis who were paid every day, were forced to find alternative means of livelihood during the lockdown – by selling vegetables, setting up a repair shop or returning to farming, as schools continued to remain closed. These teachers who are not paid for Sunday’s, vacations or national holidays but somehow managed to find work during such times to support their income, are now left fending for themselves until schools reopen physically.

Domino effect of government apathy

The education system in India is in the doldrums. It is finding itself in a difficult position as it doesn’t have any answer to give to educational institutions about what help they will get to sustain during the pandemic.

When Hindustan Times spoke to Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia asking him about a plan to take back guest teachers, he said, “The matter is to be taken by the services department, which is under the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi. Service matters are not discussed with us.”

Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, which released the budget for 2020-21 reduced the allocation for the state’s education sector to 11.21 percent compared with 14.31 percent in the last academic year. P. Babu Reddy, General Secretary of the United Teachers Federation, AP, told the Wire that the budget cuts don’t bode well for the education sector which is already facing a host of problems during the pandemic.

In the Union Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earmarked Rs. 99,311 crore for the education sector in 2020 – 21 and around Rs. 3,000 crore on skill development. While Rs. 99,311 crore does look like a whopping statistic, on closer look it reveals only a 5 percent increase from the previous year’s allocation which was Rs. 94,800 crore. The 2020 budget also emphasized the need for quality teacher education, but the reduced budgetary outlay for the same from Rs. 870 crores in 2018-19, to Rs. 125 crore in 2019-20 and now to Rs. 110 crore for 2020-21, just goes to suggest that the government has not made this a priority.

Before the pandemic hit, almost all states in India experienced teacher and staff protests over pay with student movements taking place in universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadavpur University, Delhi University, etc. Now, the position of teachers and staff members has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic has further worsened the situation with salary cuts and non-renewal of contracts with no end of their struggles in sight.

Related:

Budget 2020 shows the bleak future of higher education in India

Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today

 

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