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Experts condemn appointment of RSS affiliate for implementation of NEP

Scientists and researchers from various institutes have raised objections over the decision of the ministry of education to appoint Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal to a Niti Aayog committee for implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP).
By Priyanka Sahoo, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:49 PM IST

Scientists and researchers from various institutes have raised objections over the decision of the ministry of education to appoint Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal to a Niti Aayog committee for implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP).

Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal, which is an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), has been appointed by the ministry of education to a coordination committee for the implementation of the new NEP. It has now been conducting a host of webinars along with the Niti Aayog on implementation of the NEP at universities.

Researchers, scholars, students and scientists from leading science and technology institutes, however, have opposed the ministry’s decision to entrust non-state dubious organisations the task of implementing the provisions of NEP. They have warned the government of the dangerous consequences of this decision.

The Breakthrough Science Society (BSS), a voluntary organisation working towards the cause of science, culture and scientific outlook released a statement on Friday. “We are deeply shocked to learn that such an important task, which is supposed to be shouldered by government agencies with eminent educationists’ help, has been delegated to a private organisation with no proven track record of academic excellence. We anticipate that the exercise aims at pushing a specific agenda to mould the country’s educational edifice in a direction that would go against the scientific, secular and democratic ethos that are the hallmarks of any modern education system,” said the statement.

The BSS has claimed that institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), National Institutes of Technology (NIT) and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) have been directed by the ministry of education to ‘voluntarily’ participate in the events to be conducted by Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal.

“The government has no right to disburse public funds to foster the questionable activities of such dubious organisations,” said Soumitro Banerjee, general secretary of BSS and professor in the physical sciences department of IISER Kolkata.

“Involving non-state actors in higher education is not new and wrong per se. However, there are always some concerns about the procedures of delegation, regulation, and accountability. Government and institutions of eminence should be discrete in choosing the non-state actors for implementing the provisions of NEP 2020,” said a research scholar from IIT-Bombay, on the condition of anonymity.

While condemning the private organisations’ ‘intrusion with a definite educational planning and implementation agenda’, the BSS has demanded that scientists and educationists be involved in helping the government with the task.

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