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It will be ‘cruel’ to implement National Education Policy in Tamil Nadu, State tells HC

T.N. has already achieved more than the 50% Gross Enrolment Ratio which NEP intends to achieve by 2035: State

T.N. has already achieved more than the 50% Gross Enrolment Ratio which NEP intends to achieve by 2035: State

It will be “cruel and disadvantageous to the people of Tamil Nadu” to implement the National Education Policy (NEP)- 2020 since the State has already achieved a Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 51.4% as against the target of 50% proposed to be achieved across the country through the new education policy by 2035, the State government has said.

In a counter affidavit filed before Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala who were seized of a public interest litigation petition, the State government said, Tamil Nadu had achieved highest GER of 51.4% as against the national average of just 27.1% as per the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) Report 2020.

“In this purview, Tamil Nadu is 15 years ahead of India. Out of the 38 States, 18 scored below the national average. Hence, Tamil Nadu education system has proved to be the best and ahead of NEP-2020 by 15 years. Thus, insisting a State which had shown better results to implement the NEP would be cruel,” the government said.

It also said, the 5+3+3+4 education pattern mentioned in NEP 2020 would disturb the core objectives of the existing proved practice. Stating that NEP requires children to enter school at the age of three failing which they could not enter into school later on, the government said, the policy does not have any solution to this vital aspect.

“States with more rural population and tribal areas would suffer drastically. In Tamil Nadu, children may enter into school at the age of five to six years with or without kindergarten training. Any change from the existing mode of Tamil Nadu would seriously hamper the wellbeing of the already vulnerable sections of children,” the counter read.

It was also brought to the notice of the court that the option to exit Grade 10 and re-enter at a later stage in Grade 11 under the NEP-2020 would increase dropouts and it would be difficult to achieve 100% GER at higher secondary level.

The government said that Tamil Nadu had been able to upscale the FER and prevent dropouts due to schemes for providing free education, mid-day meals, free books, free uniforms, free bicycles, free shoes, free laptop, scholarship, free bus pass and so on and that Samacheer Kalvi (uniform education) model enables them to be successful at global level.

“As per NEP-2020, vocational education along with internships is to start from Class 6. This will not only alienate the vulnerable sections from formal education but from the formal economy also. Every State should take measures on socio-cultural settings of the State to be reflected in their education policy,” the government asserted.

It further said that internal evaluation aligned with Right to Education Act was the best mechanism up to 14 years of a child and that external evaluation before 14 years, as contemplated under NEP-2020, might cause adverse effects such as dropouts, failure in examinations and psychological trauma.

Similarly, multiple exit options during degree programmes would also encourage dropouts. “Students will not be experts in any of the fields. Also the merger of arts and science streams would suppress subject-wise experts. Consequently, it will decline the growth of scientific knowledge…. It will affect the holistic development of society,” the government claimed.

The counter also stated that the State government was under no obligation to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) since the subject ‘education’ falls under the concurrent list of the Constitution enabling both the Centre as well as the State to legislate on the subject and the court could not issue a direction to adopt such a policy.

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