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NEP Not Acceptable, Say Thousands of Students in Delhi March

The students maintained that not only was the policy implemented without any consultation with stakeholders, but it has also pushed already marginalised sections to the brink.

Thousands of students from distant parts of the country converged at Parliament Street in the national capital on Friday to highlight the “havoc” wreaked by the New Education Policy in their institutions. The students maintained that not only was the policy implemented without any consultation with stakeholders, but it has also pushed already marginalised sections to the brink. The march, which saw the participation of thousands of students, was organised by the United Students of India, a body of sixteen student organisations affiliated with major opposition parties. Starting from Mandi House, resounding slogans like "Inquilab Zindabad," "NEP Down Down," and "Students’ Unity Long Live" made the march come alive.

Raman Dharamuwala, who came from Punjabi University Patiala, alleged that the students consistently received phone calls from intelligence agencies about the number and intent of the students. “It is perplexing that we not only received calls from Delhi Police but Punjab Police too, who seem to be monitoring our campaign and movement closely,” he claimed.


In a joint statement, student bodies said, “The BJP government has used their machinery to stop the joint student march. Student volunteers from various parts of the country were questioned by police before their departure from their respective states, and the BJP used different university administrations to stop students from joining the march and attempted discouraging them. Delhi police used their machinery to deny permission and stop the gathering from taking place. Thousands of students marched against NEP and BJP by rejecting all these attempts from the BJP-led Union government.”

Dharamuwala added that the students had gathered to express their anguish over the apathy of public education. “Our schools and colleges are facing an acute crisis of teachers. However, nobody seems to be interested in resolving it,” he said.

Ravi Bawane, a BA student of Nagpur University, told NewsClick that the students were very much furious over incessant fee hikes and their negative impact. Bawane said that the university administration, despite opposition from student bodies, approved a hike of 27% in admissions and other fees. “In normal households, the education of a boy is always given preference over girls. Our girls could talk to their parents and convince them to send the girls to schools and colleges because fees remained affordable. With fee hikes, the girls are again thrown out of education and behind the veil of the household.”

He added that much of higher education relies on the private sector, and scholarships in these colleges are simply not available. “We demand that the government open more schools and colleges,” he said.

Talking to NewsClick, Mayukh Biswas, general secretary of the Students Federation of India, said that the government seems to have launched an assault on the students studying in schools and colleges. “In school education, we saw that nearly 60,000 schools were shut down by various governments. However, the number of private schools increased significantly. Similarly, there is tremendous pressure on students in higher education where fee hikes remain rampant and the number of seats has already been cut down. The students are rushing to coaching towns to secure seats, but unfortunately, the toxic environment is killing them. Twenty-four students committed suicides alone the previous year, and the New Education Policy will further deteriorate the situation,” he said.

He further added that it was the first time that six student organisations, putting their ideological differences aside, have come together to oppose the communal and commercialisation-oriented drive. Biswas was referring to the closure of post-matric national scholarships for minority students as well as the Maulana Azad National Fellowship.

He added that the ruling party BJP has to decide if it wants NEP or the support of thousands of students in the election-bound year.

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