Following demands from experts and legislators, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered to scrap the draft proposal of the National Education Policy on Wednesday. The draft has been removed from the state education department’s official website, saying that the new one will be prepared soon.
The CM’s office said the draft was withdrawn in view of a demand from two sitting legislators and one ex-legislator. It denied that any particular member of the legislative council, which represents teachers in the Upper House, had anything to do with the government’s action. The state school education and sports department had sought suggestions and objections from schools, teachers and parents till November 23.
Experts, legislators and various organisations such as Mahara-shtra State Principals’ Organi- sation, Maharashtra State Teachers’ Coordinating Com- mittee, opposed several provisions in the draft. One of such provisions was to extend the school hours from six to eight for students up to Std VIII.
Other widely criticized points were to abolish schools for the SC/STs and children with special needs and to not allow any language other than Marathi at primary level.
'Not our work'
The CMO said the draft wasn’t a handiwork of the government, but a compilation of suggestions received from the people who worked in the education sector. “It was made clear at the beginning that the state would not make any contradictory suggestions against any existing laws, constitutional provisions and court (rulings),” said a senior officer at the CMO.
School education minister Vinod Tawde told mid-day that neither he nor his department had drafted the policy. “We compiled the suggestions and objections made by people from the sector and uploaded them on the department’s website to maintain transparency. Some legislators have created the issue because of their lack of knowledge,“ he said.
Tawde further said that the earlier government was never so inclusive in their approach. “Some legislators have politicised it for their own gains. I regret to say that, henceforth, a public platform, which was made available to the people, would not be available. People from 35 districts out of total 36 had deliberated on the issue,” he said, without naming Kapil Patil, a legislator who represents teachers in the Upper House.
The minister said that the new draft policy will be made in consultation with experts who care for reforms in education.
Claim to fame?
Member of legislative council, Kapil Patil, claimed credit for getting the draft policy scrapped. “I wrote a letter to the CM, who then read the draft. The CM himself called to tell me that he had scrapped the draft proposal. I welcome his decision and thank him a lot,” Patil told mid-day.
But the CMO had a different story to tell. It said CM Fadnavis, who was not available for comment, didn’t take the decision because of Kapil Patil’s pressure.
Two other legislators in the Upper House, Nago Ganar and Ramnath Mote, and ex-MLC Bhagwan Salunke too had asked the CM to review the draft and that motivated the decision.
Other features of the proposal
>> Introduction of advanced education programme
>> Constructive approach to learning
>> Engaging parents as a partner in education
>> Empower school management committee and parent teachers association
>> Biometric attendance system/remote monitoring devices for teachers
>> Ensure that the child competes with self rather than peers
>> Conduct social audit