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16 Student Organisations Form Front Against NEP, Fees Hike, BJP 

Major organisations like AISF, SFI, CRJD, DMK Students Wing and NSUI have alleged that the government is communalising education.
Major organisations like AISF, SFI, CRJD, DMK Students Wing and NSUI have alleged that the government is communalising education.

Representational Image. 

New Delhi: Sixteen student organisations affiliated to the Left and opposition parties have formed a joint front against the New Education Policy (NEP), communalisation of campuses and incessant fees hike.

Major organisations like AISF, SFI, CRJD, DMK Students Wing, NSUI and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha joined hands on Thursday with their leaders criticising the Centre for imposing the NEP without consultation with stakeholders. Similarly, the education sector, they alleged, was communalised by removing important chapters from NCERT books.

In a joint statement, the organisations said, “The Union government’s attitude towards education has become more apparent than ever before. It aims to undermine and dismantle the public education system and replace it with a communal destructive scheme that fundamentally contradicts the constitutional vision of education. The BJP government has even initiated an attempt to remove the country’s name, India, from text books.”

The leaders said that the parliamentary election is approaching and 2025 will mark the 100th anniversary of “the world’s largest fascist organisation which controls the BJP government”.

In this context, we, the undersigned student organisations, share our serious concern and suspect that the Sangh Parivar forces may escalate their attacks on the education sector and democratic, secular and progressive values of our country. Given this challenging backdrop, it becomes imperative to sustain the momentum of the ongoing student movements,” the statement read.

SFI general secretary Mayukh Biswas told NewsClick that the coming together of national student organisations was imminent with the “unprecedented attack on education”.

We will soon launch our nationwide campaign to tell students that the fees hike induced by New Education Policy and saffronisation of campuses will not be tolerated,” he added.

CVMP Ezhilarasan, who heads the DMK Students Wing, told NewsClick over the phone that the organisations “reached a consensus on a joint campaign opposing the New Education Policy, which is against national integration and cooperative federalism. “Simultaneously, it neglects the poor and the disadvantaged in its outlook.” 

Ezhilarasan added, “Our forefathers made it very clear that the state would implement a two-language policy in education where Tamil and English would be taught at school level. We are seeing the advent of a three-language policy where Hindi, English and the regional language would be taught. Why the insistence on imposing Hindi?”

Ezhilarasan, who also represents Kanchipuram in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, said that it is “atrocious to see the Centre backing a policy which doesn’t even mention reservation and affirmative action”. 

There is no mention of social justice. We developed an education system where the poor and disadvantaged had access to school and higher education. We built institutions that produce a workforce competitive and efficient enough to face developed economies,” Ezhilarasan added

Our gross enrolment ratio is 52% whereas the national average remains 26.5%. Yet we are being asked to follow your model. Education is in the Concurrent List and this spirit has been completely dumped in NEP.” 

Several NEET aspirants in the state committed suicide, he said. “The students could not afford expensive coaching. However, we have a common university entrance test now replicating similar results. Please, note that school education too has been altered this way where students will have to take a national test in third, fifth and eighth grades. It’s complete nonsense.”

Echoing similar concerns, CRJD JNU Unit general secretary Priyanka Bharati said that elections in any society cannot be seen in isolation and there would be a tremendous impact on people through the “rampant privatisation the BJP government employed through the Common University Entrance Test (CUET).

I hail from Bihar and there is tremendous confusion and anxiety among students over admissions. First, you pay for CUET, then for university registration and finally fees. Who is privileged enough to pay fees at every stage?”

Bharati asked, “Name one campus where fees have not been increased? Such decisions can be opposed on campuses like JNU, where the student movement is very strong, but students on other campuses have no choice.”

Narrating her personal experience, Bharati maintained that affordability and accessibility go hand in hand. “I had qualified for JEE Main for admission in IIT but left it. I had to take loans to study. Therefore, I opted for German Studies at JNU.”

She added that the student organisations are planning for a massive campaign on the question of centralisation and privatisation of education.

It is very important to make people aware of the onslaught on pubic-funded education. The proposed changes in school and higher education will alter the structure of education we have received so far. People have very little inkling about it. This is why we gave the slogan ‘Education, Reject NEP. Save India, Reject BJP’,” she said.

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