Delhi: With public anger rising against the newly introduced Common University Entrance Test (CUET), students, teachers and politicians from opposition parties gathered at the Arts faculty, University of Delhi to protest the imposition of centralised test for admissions in central universities, scrapping of MPhil course and seat cuts in PhD courses. Teachers and students have been expressing their apprehensions about the compromised quality of undergraduate courses limiting chances of employment under the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUGP).
Addressing a gathering of students and teachers, Brinda Karat, Politburo Member, Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that the central government led by Bharatiya Janata Party choose to impose such an important policy on the people of the country by bypassing the parliament even though education remains a subject of concurrent list. Under the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution, the states and Centre can both frame laws on 52 items including education. Karat said that the thrust of the BJP remains on centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation.
She said, "it is amply clear that they want centralisation for everything. They want to teach one curriculum across the country. But this bid for centralisation is tilted in favour of private and elite education. Every aspect of public education is being dismantled. The parents of the students will be forced to take loans to educate their children. UGC is proposing Academic Bank of Credits but who is going to get benefits."
“However, the most dangerous aspect remains communalisation where history is consistently distorted to suit the agenda of the ruling party. I was in Jahangirpuri yesterday where students studying in class 12th asked me if they will have to appear for a test to get admission to Delhi University. I answered affirmatively. They asked if the government will provide some assistance in preparing for coaching. When the parents of these children will learn that they will have to spend more for the fourth year, they will never send their children to higher education institutions. Believe me, it is the girls who will suffer most. It’s a worldwide experience that the education of girls was hit badly during the pandemic. The government is thumping its chest that they increased the benchmark for marriages of girls. However, it does not want to acknowledge that poverty hit families hardly care about this benchmark. Our MPs wanted to discuss the policy in parliament but it was never brought there. But please mark my words. Do not rely on the Parliament. It’s streets where democratic movements have been fought and decimated the ego of dictators.
Echoing similar sentiments, Manoj Jha, Rajya Sabha Member from Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) said that the New Education Policy document will take the country to its position in ancient India where it remained the hegemony of a particular class and the outcastes like Eklavya had to see class from margins.
He said, “I can say without hesitation that pandemic helped autocrats in imposing their whims and fancies and digital education remained such fantasy. I could not see my students physically. When I connected with them through telephone, I was informed that they had hardly any access to internet connection and this government wants to regularise this medium forever. We were talking about parliament. I was eagerly waiting for it but it never came. Let me say do not trust parliament because there are too less people to influence this government. But do not get disheartened. I thought we had lost the battle on farm laws too but it is the farmers who forced this government to repeal its laws. History is a testimony to the fact that a person who thought his actions cannot be reversed was forced to not only repeal but apologise too. Please remember it’s a long battle but it must be fought to save our generations. If you take preamble of the constitution in one hand and NEP in another hand, you will naturally feel they are not compatible and if anything is not compatible with constitution, it must go.”