TODAY -

National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 : A critical Review
- Part 1 -

Surjit S. Thokchom *



As I write this, I know that some of you have already praised NEP-2020 as a revolutionary document. And some of you have already rejected it as a regressive and anti-people document. And still some are reluctant to make a position. Some still opine that it cannot be entirely correct or entirely wrong and argue that there must be good elements and bad elements. But there is an emerging amnesia of saying against anything proposed by the present dispensation.

Majority of people particularly the middle class prefer to remain within the comfort zone of being silent or a blind supporter. My analysis of NEP 2020 is based on my dispassionate reading of the latest version of NEP 2020(66 pages) which was uploaded in the MHRD's website on 30th July 2020. I assumed that this was the document approved by the Cabinet.

As I study it, in the back of my mind, I still doubt that there may be alteration in the Cabinet approved document as this document is not a signed document. The present document is the 6th version of NEP-2020 during 2015-2020.

The sixty pages NEP-2020(draft) document which was the 5th version, uploaded in January 2020 was the most studied document and present NEP-2020-final under review by me is the latest version, uploaded on 30th July 2020 with some key changes both addition and deletion.

Let us first be acquainted with the NEP-2020 before we go into a detailed study of the document. The wide consultation as it is claimed by the MHRD was inter-departmental consultations prior to the formation of the committee to draft Evolution of NEP in 2015 during January 2015 to October 2015, and no details is available nor any public notice seeking people's input during the stated period of consultation.

The first committee under the chairmanship of late Dr TSR Subramanian was formed by October end of 2015 and whatever the consultations claimed was done before the first committee was formed. Initially the committee was mandated to draft NEP as per notification on 31st Oct 2020 but by 24th November 2015, the mandate was reduced to a "Committee for Evolution of New Education Policy (NEP)" by an official notification.

After this change, the committee was no more mandated to draft NEP. The Committee submitted 230 pages Report titled, "National Policy on Education 2016- Report of the Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy, dated 30th April 2016". But for some reason best known to the Ministry, it was never uploaded for public viewing. Later, it was leaked through social media unofficially.

MHRD claimed that there were inter-departmental and inter-ministerial wide consultations during 2016-2017 on NEP (with no official committee for NEP drafting!!!). During June to August 2016, the MHRD brought out a paper titled, "Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016" and the same was tabled in Rajya Sabha for a short discussion under rule 176. It was also claimed that there were dialogues on Education with Honorable MPs though no details of the discussion are available in public domain as of today.

There was a long gap and then another committee was formed under chairmanship of Dr. Kasturirangan. This newly formed Committee came out with 484 pages draft NEP 2019 by the end of 2018 and it was uploaded in MHRD's website in June 2019. This report clearly said that the draft submitted by the early committee and the input collected during 2015 was inadequate. And the consultations amongst the new committee members compelled him to restructure and reformulate the draft policy.

Post draft NEP 2019, suggestions to the same draft (484 pages) were invited upto mid-august 2019. This was later summarized and came out as 55-pages summary as final and titled, "NEP-Final 2019", uploaded in MHRD website in October 2019. The Ministry's website and the content in the NEP-Final 2019 did not reveal whether suggestions and inputs given by the people were incorporated or not.

This was followed by another draft version of 60 pages, uploaded in Jan 2020. It was assumed by all of us that NEP 2020 version uploaded in January 2020 was approved by the Cabinet on 29th July 2020. But the government surprised us by uploading another latest version on 30th July 2020 with several key changes.

Many of the comments and feedbacks on Cabinet Approval of NEP 2020 from 29th July evening till 30th July evening till the latest document was uploaded were partially discredited. Overall observation is that the Govt's disclosure through Ministry's website reveals the non-transparency.



The present NEP 2020 as approved by the Cabinet is incomplete. It misses several necessary definitions without which one cannot give an informed opinion. It does not define the structure of the new institutions created by the new policy. It also removes the description of the structure and some names of the structure as it was mentioned in the previous draft version.

One of them was the replacement of RSA (Rastriya Shiksha Aayog) as it was mentioned in earlier draft by "remodeled and rejuvenated CABE" in the latest 66-page NEP 2020. 2nd significant addition is the Online Education as the central agenda of NEP 2020 in the latest version.

The present policy not only centralized the existing decentralized structures but it centralized the standalone central bodies also. It is an advanced form of centralization. The obvious and immediate consequence of this advanced centralization is defederalization of Indian polity and absence of meaningful autonomy and flexibility. Words like 'flexibility', 'autonomy', 'decentralization', 'accountability', 'rationalization', 'creativity' are bound to have very limited meaning and will defy both the common and academic understanding of these terms.

One of the main agenda is to promote Privatization as an enabling condition for commercialization. The agenda of the public institution now is no more to serve the interest of the masses but to make the government resources available to the private institutions with no compulsion of the latter to reciprocate the same. In a situation like this, the private institution is in a position of advantage over the government institution.

In the meantime, an attempt has been made to create an impression that NEP 2020 is committed to regulate the private institutions against commercialization of education. Two key terms- 'not-for-profit', 'public spirited private philanthropist' are used as a means to fight against the commercialization. In other words, it is the Ministries of Finance, Corporate Affairs, Labour & Employment that will define what non-commercialization does mean.

The enabling condition for commercialization is privatization which the Education Ministry (as it is now named) is committed to do it under NEP-2020. The emerging theme called Social Entrepreneurship is basically to generate profit and use the profit for a public cause. Both commercial activities and not-for-profit activities as of today, are looked as same. The only difference is who pockets the profit.

Within this perspective, commodification of knowledge for a not-for-profit activity become necessary. There is hardly any distinguishable difference between commercial and non-commercial (not-for-profit) activities as of today under the above-mentioned Ministries. In NEP 2020, quality is to be maintained through a system of quality control mechanism wherein education is treated as a product. Will quality be measured in terms of its potential for social transformation or in terms of returns as a remuneration to the worker and profit to the corporate?

The present document is a-historical. If we refer to several previous policies along with several High Court and Supreme Court rulings including Allahabad High Court order of 2015 asking to ensure that public servants and bureaucrats to send their children and wards to state-run-schools, along with well documented people's movements till date, including several educational experiments in both pre and post independent period, the present NEP 2020 disconnects itself from all previous experiences. There is no continuity in the spirit of the policy though it mentions NPE 68 and NPE 86, RTE Act 2009, Disable Act 2016 etc.

The document does not mention Reservation at all. It does not mention ST/SC/OBC/minorities in context of the provision to be provided additionally. In place of ST/SC/OBC and minorities, socially economical disadvantageous groups (SEDG) is used in NEP 2020. Terms like merit-based scholarship, merit-based promotion, merit-based career progression, merit-based appointment etc. are frequently mentioned. The existing scholarship based on ethnicity or minorities do not have a place in NEP-2020. NEP-2020 talks about special education zone but it doesn't refer to the existing criteria like SC/ST/OBC, minorities etc.

There are 3 areas of rationalization proposed in NEP 2020 in the name of school complex, multi-disciplinary universities and efficient governance. Rationalization (school complex) in the school level means closure of large number of schools. Rationalization (Multi-disciplinary University) in the higher education means closure of large number of small colleges. Rationalization for efficient governance means merger or abolitions of existing state and the central autonomous bodies and disabled the state Education department for any educational endeavor.

NEP 2020 creates a dichotomy between Constitution & Emerging Developmental Imperative as per SDG4(Sustainable Development Goal 4) agenda. While it says to promote Ethical and Constitutional values, it also keeps a wedge between the Constitution and ethical values. Developmental imperative is no more inspired by the Constitution but it is guided by emerging Developmental (SDG4) agenda.

The emerging developmental agenda in tune with SDG4 and of becoming a super power, knowledge society, knowledge economy and one out of the three largest economy in the world: Are these not agenda at the cost of the pending unfulfilled Constitutional agenda of equity, equality and social justice? Is development without fulfilling the Constitutional mandate a development at all?

Are we setting our priorities in the right perspectives? Do we repeat the past? Do we fail to transcend the colonial paradigm of development? Anyway, whose India is what NEP 2020 are dreaming for?


to be continued ....

* Surjit S Thokchom is based in Shillong at present. He is a Secretariat Member of All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) and Editorial Board Member of a monthly publication of AIFRTE titled, "Reconstructing Education". He has been associating with an education project in rural khasi hills titled, "Demonstrating an Alternative Vision of Education". He was a member of Institute Advisory Board of North East Regional Institute of Education (NERIE), Shillong, a Constituent of NCERT and he was a member of Position Paper of Work and Education, NCERT. He was also official translator of National Curricular Framework, 2005(NCF 2005) into Manipuri.


* Surjit S. Thokchom wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer can be reached through ssthochom(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 05 2020.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • World Bamboo Day 2020 : A Report
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Pukning Pothasang #LetsTalkAboutDementia
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • 7th Khangminashi Lecture: Nanotechnology
  • Cancellation- Hyderabad Univ entrance exam
  • Condemnation on rape of 3-1/2 year girl
  • Calling social entrepreneurs from NE for UNDP
  • The Bright Lights :: Poem
  • Ensure health care service during COVID
  • Shirui Village, Shirui Hill, Ukhrul : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Life moves on
  • JRF (on Chakhao) @ICAR, NEH Meghalaya
  • Fruit face packs
  • BA/BSc Exam at Lilong Haoreibi College
  • Fingering of Ladakh
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Shadow of Greater Lim or Nagalim
  • Calls for change in election campaign
  • Tongjei Maril 1942: Bridle Path to Motor Road
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Khutheibam Abdur Rahman- Poet & Activist
  • Manipur StartUp Conclave 2020 : Gallery
  • Karmayogi Mission for reforms in civil services
  • Training on mushroom cultivation
  • Foundation Day- Journalist Union #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Athing Heirong, Khupsei: eMing
  • The thirst for reopening schools
  • Vale of Tears: Untold stories of violence : Rvw
  • Career option in Ethical Hacking
  • Monkey justice
  • Tribal Ministry for seamless implementation
  • Disturbing daily spike & total figure
  • Rani Phi design on 'Doctor in 2020' :: Gallery
  • Aquapreneurship & present Fishery status
  • Discussion: Crime Against Women in Manipur
  • World Ozone Day 2020
  • National Education Policy - Review #4
  • Sole meaning of life is to serve humanity
  • Covid-19 accentuates the job crisis
  • BJP versus Cong versus NPP
  • Brahmacharimayum Roji: Actress #2 : eRang
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Cultivating the common ground : FNR
  • Reimagining Immunity & Immune System
  • Happy Engineers' Day
  • My Teacher - I Salute Thee ! :: Poem
  • Today a reader, tomorrow a leader !
  • Discussion : Myanmar's 2020 Election
  • Daily spike of 90 thousand plus
  • Buning Meadow / Piulong Valley #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Discovery of a novel biopolymer
  • Mrs. Laldinpuii : Success Stories from NE
  • Remembering our heroic martyrs
  • Alternative to online teaching during COVID
  • Teenage skin care
  • Tree Planatation at Chandel
  • Final pact sans NSCN (IM)? Uneasy peace
  • The cry for Justice! Kuki Black Day
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Flood-like situation @Thangmeiband :: Gallery
  • Khumang : e-Conference on 'Science & Tech'
  • National Education Policy - Review #3
  • Demand for a DNA Testing Machine Lab
  • Lilong Haoreibi College resumed functioning
  • A song of appreciation :: Poem
  • COVID-19 & after: Need for change in plans
  • On the Flag that was hoisted at Kangla
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Ambulance to Chief Medical Officer : Gallery
  • Highway projects in Manipur & agriculture
  • Keeping an eye on 'Eye health'
  • Academic Year Online for Assam DB Univ
  • Need to go in for more after RAT
  • By-election; play a fair game
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA, Imphal :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Southeast Asia: Strategic for Competition
  • Memory of Pranab Babu
  • Gandhi, self-help, khadi & Atmanirbhar Bharat
  • The reality we live today :: Poem
  • NEET & JEE: Balance betn student & health
  • 21 years of reaching out to the readers
  • Non Positive
  • Agri Fair at CAU Iroisemba #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Suicide: Chasing death
  • Women rights-based access to contraceptives
  • Delimitation & limitation of valley minorities
  • Understanding CET
  • Himalaya Diwas at IBSD, Takyelpat
  • Noting post Covid complications
  • Rechecking hospital's modus operandi
  • Azad Hind: Its Forgotten Govt & the Army
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • MPSC 2016: Social media mob injustice
  • Manipur women weave success in pandemic
  • FEGOCTA to resume academic activities
  • Live one day at a time :: Poem
  • Should animal be given same right as human
  • Countdown to by polls
  • Tungjoi Glory Day (Senapati) #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Skill Development Prog by CM: Gallery
  • National Education Policy - Review #2
  • Hope : The reason we keep living !
  • International Literacy Day 2020
  • Beauty benefits of rice water
  • Targeting young girls : Minds of retards
  • Should trading Frog amount to smuggling
  • Rendezvous with RK Bikramjit (Flutist)
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Reminiscence of coming & journey : Book Rvw
  • And I sleep for the hunger of you : Poem
  • MPSC propose re-examination is not justified
  • Increasing local transmission
  • COVID Care Centre @UNACCO #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga story in Indigenous People movement #2
  • Revoke Agreement on 66 MW Loktak Project
  • My homage to Pranab Mukherjee
  • Eventide :: Poem
  • Protest against gangrape of a minor
  • Condemnation against the gang rape
  • Heat of the Internet
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Loans to vendors [Aug 25] : Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang : A social reformer #3
  • National Education Policy - Review #1
  • Menstruation needs to be discussed openly
  • Serious internet jokes & reflections
  • Climbing number of cases, deaths
  • Akhunba Takhellei #2 : Film scene :: eRang
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga story in Indigenous People movement #1
  • Tribal Resource Conservation Ethics
  • Vilification of MCSCCE selected candidates
  • Grand Chef Manipur at Luwangshangbam
  • Monument of friendship :: Poem
  • How will the Naga CSOs respond ?
  • Irritating season
  • Yaoshang Halankar #3 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Tarpon: Annual offerings to dead by living
  • Need for Impact Assessment: Social media
  • Legal awareness on 'Right to Food' at Lamlai
  • First E/online Lok Adalat held
  • Teacher for JEE Main & tutorials
  • 'JLF has no concrete plan to the Naga issue'
  • Need to follow the basics of new normal
  • Why difficulties in containing COVID-19
  • Bijiyashanti reels yarn off lotus stalks
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Sept : Govt of Manipur
  • Online Jump Rope Championship 2020
  • ICAMST-2020 at Dept of Maths, RGU
  • The obscurity of the pandemic
  • LDHCL signs Agreement with MSPDCL
  • Grand Chef Manipur Season 1
  • What is Patent ?
  • Party-hoppers' gift: By-poll amid COVID crisis
  • Virtual world: an epitome of new normal
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 31 August: Govt of Manipur
  • September Calendar for Year 2020 : Tools
  • Level I Trauma Centre @ RIMS : Gallery
  • Khumang 2020 : Science & Tech for Society
  • Haipou Jadonang : A social reformer #2
  • Webinar : Medical & its allied profession
  • eFDP on Unoganized Sector concluded
  • NSCN-IM : From spotlight to marginalised..
  • A fail mission to eradicate corruption
  • Landscape to Dzukou Valley #5 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Interlude :: Poem
  • Diversion: The political masterpiece ?
  • Webinar on Re-Imagining Mahatma Gandhi
  • Digital Health ID
  • COVID-19 and need for evaluation
  • Greater autonomy: On the path to exclusivity
  • Keeping Up With the Kakching Trekkers
  • COVID-19 Status 29 August: Govt of Manipur
  • National Sports Day @ MU : Gallery
  • The X Schedule
  • Observance of National Sports Day
  • 'No connection with streaming Manipuri film'
  • Unsung Warriors :: Poem
  • Life skills for exciting career
  • Making a mockery of a real menace
  • Battle of Maram : 1944
  • COVID-19 Status 28 August: Govt of Manipur
  • CM foundation for 1000 projects : Gallery
  • Haipou Jadonang : A social reformer #1
  • National Sports Day & Fit India Movement
  • Love Jihad: Are We Prepared from Our Side
  • Bamboo sector for post COVID economy
  • September deadline
  • The Covid contractors
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 August: Govt of Manipur
  • New Education Policy (NEP) 2020
  • Naga, Kuki, Meitei & Pangal should overcome
  • No Federation should disturb peace process
  • Letter to Manipur Public Service Commission
  • Learn lessons from the past
  • Adding bite to Nambul saving initiative
  • Last Day @ Sangai Fest 2019 #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Understanding borderline personality disorder
  • A glimpse into mystique of 'Kamikaze'
  • Message from Corona... :: Poem
  • JAC meets CM :: Killing of Laishram Angamba
  • Why NPF withdrew from JLF on Naga Issue
  • NPF Working Committee Resolutions [Aug 26]
  • From politics of guns to peace talk
  • A need to ponder on for a new normalcy
  • Is Manipuri a Tonal Language ?
  • COVID-19 Status 25 August: Govt of Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process: New Developments
  • Reshuffling & local vegetables
  • Children's story writing competition
  • Home made face masks during Monsoon
  • Pandemic poses a high risk to economy
  • Fresh MCSCCE 2016: Old wine in new bottle
  • Politicians have no regard for PM in Manipur
  • Media perception of the War of 1891
  • COVID-19 Status 24 August: Govt of Manipur
  • CM conference with DCs [Aug 24] : Gallery
  • Setting historical records right
  • Orders for 7th UGC Pay 2018 demanded
  • National Recruitment Agency
  • Protest : Killing of Laishram Angamba [Aug 24]
  • Respect & COVID-19 in Manipur
  • Assault on medical personnel at Dimapur
  • Remote-controlled lives
  • Manipur Art Fest [Sep 2019] #2 : Gallery
  • Democracy and rule of law
  • Women bodies stage sit-in protest
  • Changing Global Narratives in corona's times
  • The Plight Beyond the Contagion :: Poem
  • Community transmission calls for new strategy
  • Covid-19 : A look beyond sambal khaba
  • Moirangthem Mani : Kalabhusan (Thang-Ta)
  • Climate change under gender lens
  • Common sense
  • Farmer Producer Organization (FPO)
  • Politics during pandemic: All is not well
  • Khagee Leihao is a gift from China
  • Baldeep Ningthoujam- develops COROBOI
  • 86 vacancies of Trainee at NHPC Limited
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • 13 August @BT Park #2 : Gallery
  • Patriots' Day @ Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • 16th Death anniv of Chittaranjan : Gallery
  • Manipur Independence Day [14 Aug]: Gallery
  • Independence Day @MR Ground : Gallery
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • Hentak :: An indigenous Manipuri food
  • Princess & Political Agent launch #2 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #3: Gallery
  • HSE Toppers - Commerce stream : Gallery
  • HSE Toppers - Science stream : Gallery
  • HSE Toppers - Arts stream : Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS