WB: Vigyan Mancha, RTE Forum Hold Joint Convention Against NEP, Exclusion of Darwin's Theory
Kolkata: The Paschim Banga Vigyan Mancha (PBVM) held a demonstration in Kolkata on Tuesday, protesting against NCERT's move to remove certain chapters from textbooks, such as Charles Darwin’s theory on evolution, in the guise of reducing the weight of syllabuses.
The same day, the Right to Education Forum also held a mass convention at College Square to support PBVM's demands, including repealing the National Education Policy (NEP).
PBVM accused the Central government of trying to eliminate science, which it said was reflected in its decision to do away with Darwin in the school curriculum.
The demonstration started from Subodh Mallick Square to College Street, and was joined in by the participants in the convention, including parents of school children and other organisations.
Prof. Ishita Mukhopadhyay, convener of the Right to Education Forum, said, "We have been opposing the NEP since our inception. The forum has organised this mass convention at College Street and called the parents to make them aware of the current status of their children's education."
She also spoke about the “hypocrisy” of the West Bengal government, which first opposed the NEP but later implemented it.
"The state government constituted a committee on this, but the committee's report has not been made public. Two committees were formed; the government did not explain why two separate committees should exist. Common people and parents are not getting to know anything. Even those who are studying are not getting to know anything. The 10+2 curriculum will be broken into 5+3+3, and Anganwadis will be brought to schools; we don't know if they have the infrastructure," Mukhopadhyay said.
Samprikta Bose, a Calcutta University student, called for the need for a larger forum.
"A large forum should be formed against the three C's - communalism, centralisation, and commercialisation. Students, teachers, and education workers have already started the movement. The NEP must be stopped at any cost," she said.
The convention discussed Darwin's exclusion from the science curriculum and also touched upon the rewriting of history.
"Our country's fundamentalist government is planning to destroy science and rationality," claimed Vigyan Manch general secretary Pradeep Mahapatra.
"One example of such a conspiracy is the exclusion of Darwinian evolution, which is not only a science but also one of the tools we use to comprehend our surroundings. The abolition of this hypothesis will impede the development of scientific-mindedness in society, notably among students. The PBVM is requesting that this judgment be reversed immediately. We are encouraging scientists, science professionals, parents, and even students to join the demonstration," Mahapatra said.
The PBVM talked about how the Central government “used” the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to introduce NEP.
"As a part of that education policy, the government is launching an attack on the curriculum of various levels of educational institutions. Darwin and his theory of evolution have been dropped from the NCERT syllabus, just as the Mughal Empire has been dropped from history books. Many academicians and scientists say that the Central government is attacking the foundations of logic and scientific thinking. This must be prevented."
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