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'Fairy tale' draft edu policy overlooks minority rights: Catholic bishops' body to HRD


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Terming the draft National Education Policy a "fairy tale", the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India (CBCI) has told the HRD Ministry the proposed policy has "overlooked" minority rights and the facilities guaranteed to these communities to establish and administer educational institutes.
The Catholic Bishop's Conference of India (CBCI) known as the 'Catholic Church' governs 30,000 formal colleges, schools, universities and medical colleges.
It also governs institutes for empowering the poor, marginalized and the differentiated like homes for street children, special schools, vocational training institutes and skill training centres.
A six-member delegation of the CBCI's Education and Culture office met Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' on Monday and raised the issue besides submitting a feedback report on the NEP draft.
"Minority rights available in the constitution and the facilities guaranteed to the minority communities to establish and administer education institutes are very much overlooked and seemingly brushed aside when the draft policy deals with appointments of staff, fee fixation, inclusion of aided minority (private) institutes in public category in the school complex concept, formation of school management committees and other administrative and regulatory details," the feedback report said.
The CBCI asserted that the draft did not include education providers from minority communities, private school trusts and teachers who are in touch with ground realities of the education sector.
"The outstanding and dedicated contribution by the Christian community (not just Christian Missionaries), could have been much better referred to and acknowledged, supportive measures mentioned and provided towards their continued services in education in this draft, instead of making just a passing reference," it said.
"It it a fairy tale NEP that bites more than it can chew. Why is this draft silent on removal of caste system and other social evils? Why are all the constitutional provisions overlooked regarding minority rights? Are we succumbing to the demands of WTO-GATS and falling for excessive commercialization of education?" the CBCI posed.
It said that bringing in industries, corporate houses, NGOs and foreign universities should not make higher education costly and far from the reach of common people.
"There is no road map in this policy regarding the eradication of discriminations and social evils or promotion of constitutional values and democratic ideals, national integration and peace and solidarity," feedback report stated.
The CBCI has demanded that its representatives be included in further consultations on the policy and also in committees for minority education.
"When the government invites suggestions for educational promotion, representatives from the CBCI Office of Education, All India Association for Christian Higher Education (AIACHE) and Xavier Board of Higher Education should be invited and given representations in National Monitoring Committee for Minorities' Education, National Commission for Minority Education Institutions and Rasjya Siksha Ayog," the report said.
The panel led by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan had submitted the draft policy to Nishank when he took over as the HRD Minister. The draft has been put in public domain seeking feedback and suggestions from public and various stakeholders.

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First Published: Jul 29 2019 | 4:05 PM IST

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