August 11, 2019

TAMIL NADU: Campaign against DNEP Gains Momentum

VB Ganesan

THE Draft of National Education Policy 2019 (DNEP) is a proof that the Modi -led government is trying all the tricks in the trade to make a unitary form of governance in the country and that it has taken up the work of saffronisation of education across the country.  

After the release of DNEP 2019 in May, a wider section of intellectuals got into act to expose the evil designs of the Sangh Parivar. Former vice-chancellor Vasanthi Devi, senior educationist SS Rajagopalan and many other academics denounced the proposed draft and opined that it is nothing but commercialisation, corporatisation and communalisation of education in the country, which will negate social justice. 

As the time was too short to send suggestions on the 458-page draft, a team was formed to translate the draft into Tamil and with the help of social media, they have organised the Tamil translation through 50 volunteers and got the Tamil draft ready by June 15. Though Bharathi Puthagalayam published it in a book form, in order to take the message across on an urgent basis, it was disseminated in digital format across the state.

On the basis of it, pointing out the lacuna in the draft, a series of meetings and demonstrations were organised across the state under the auspices of SFI, DYFI and Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association, demanding the scrapping of the draft which is clearly inimical to the interests of future generations. 

Collecting the opinion of many academics and intellectuals of other streams, a small book was also published by Bharathi Puthagalayam to take this message across. Meanwhile, when leading Tamil actor Surya expressed his opinion against the draft at a function held on educational purpose, the state BJP leaders and AIADMK ministers rushed to criticise him and questioned his locus standi. Besides the film fraternity which came forward to support him on this issue, it was also echoed in Parliament through CPI(M) MP Su.Venkatesan who has expressed the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu against DNEP 2019 in clear terms. 

Besides these activities, the state secretariat of CPI(M) also sent a note of dissent to the authorities. The state committee had decided to organise a signature campaign against DNEP from July 25 to 30 to collect one crore signatures from the people demanding forthwith scrapping of the draft. It was also decided to organise 5,000 street corner meetings to take the message across the state to expose the Sangh parivar on this score. 

CPI(M) state leaders including Polit Bureau member G Ramakrishnan and state secretary K Balakrishnan participated in the programmes amidst public support and the signature campaign is gaining momentum. In Coimbatore, on a single day more than 50,000 signatures were collected from the people, including BJP supporters, who were vociferous in ridiculing the draft during interaction. Though this signature campaign is due to end on July 30, as the Centre has extended the date upto August 15 to submit suggestions, the state committee has decided to continue the campaign until August 11 demanding the repeal of the draft. 

The makers of our Constitution have made education a state subject to enable them to create a favourable atmosphere for learning by the people. However, since during Emergency the subject of education was put in the concurrent list, various governments at the centre have tried to impose their grip over education in the country. We saw this during the regimes of Rajiv Gandhi and Vajpayee and the DNEP of the Modi-led government is yet another attempt.