Controversy over new draft on National Education Policy: All you need to know

The Centre had to go on back foot over revised draft on its new Education Policy following outrage by various political parties in Southern states, and drop its plan to make teaching of Hindi language compulsory in non-Hindi speaking states. The idea of three-language formula in the new draft on education policy created a controversy after some political parties of non-Hindi speaking states accused Centre of trying to impose Hindi on their state. Here we take a look at what ‘National Education Policy’ (NEP) actually means and why the revised draft on NEP created such an uproar in the country.

Also read: Learning Hindi should be compulsory till class 8: New Education Policy recommends

  • The BJP Government had earlier constituted a committee to review the education policy in the country and prepare a New Education Policy.
  • The Central government had initiated the process of formulating a New Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the requirements of the population with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry.
  • The extant National Policy on Education, 1986 modified in 1992 required changes to meet the contemporary and futuristic needs of the country’s large youth population.
  • A committee led by Chairman Dr K Kasturirangan, a former ISRO chief, on Friday (May 31, 2019) submitted the Draft National Educational Policy 2019, which recommends among other things the overhauling of education structure and expansion of Right to Education
  • Along with many recommendations, the new education policy spoke of the continuation of three-language formula in the schools all-over the country. The Committee recommended teaching of Hindi, English and one regional language in the non-Hindi states.
  • For Hindi-speaking states, the committee recommended teaching of Hindi, English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of the country.
  • The existing NEP was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992. A new education policy was part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto ahead of the 2014 general election.
  • The imposition of Hindi as a mandatory language created an uproar in non-Hindi speaking states, particularly in Tamil Nadu. Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Saturday (June 1) opposed the three-language formula for schools in the state.
  • Leaders cutting across party lines said the state has a history on the language issue and would not tolerate any imposition. DMK Lok Sabha member Kanimozhi said her party would oppose any such move.
  • DMK leader and Rajya Sabha member T Siva said any attempt to “force” Hindi language on the people of Tamil Nadu will not be tolerated by them.
  • Actor-turned-politician and MNM chief Kamal Haasan said, “No language should be imposed and those who are interested can learn any language of their choice”. MDMK president Vaiko warned that a language war will break out if any attempt is made to impose language in Tamil Nadu while a rebel AIADMK leader T T V Dinakaran said any such proposal would destroy Indian’s pluralism and make Tamils second class citizens.
  • TNCC president K S Alagiri said people of Tamil Nadu will not allow the imposition of Hindi in the state. He said Congress was not opposed to any language and it was up to the students to learn any language of their choice.
  • The Tamil Nadu government said it would continue with the two-language formula, seeking to cool frayed tempers. Later, Union Human Resource
  • Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Saturday said that no language would be imposed on any state. “The committee was formed for drafting New Education Policy. That committee has given its report. The report of the committee is only received by the Ministry. That’s not the policy. No language will be imposed on any state,” HRD Minister Pokhriyal said.
  • The Centre on Monday (June 3, 2019) made changes to the new Draft National Education Policy, making the language optional. The paragraph now titled “flexibility in the three-language formula” says that students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in grade 6 or 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (on language at the literature level) in their modular board examination some time during secondary school. The modification has been done to the draft of the policy and put up on the Ministry’s website for public suggestions till June 30.

What is Draft Education Policy?

National Policy on Education (NPE) was constituted by Indian Government after independence to promote education among the people of country. It aims to implement a uniform education system in the country. The policy covers elementary education to colleges in both rural and urban India. The first NPE was enformed in 1968 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The second NPE was enforced by former late PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.