Karnataka govt scraps NEP 2020 and decides to adopt a state education policy

The Karnataka government has decided to scrap the NEP 2020, which the erstwhile BJP government adopted, and adopt a state education policy.

Karnataka govt scraps NEP 2020 and decides to adopt a state education policy

The Karnataka government officially announced on Monday, August 21st, that it has decided to withdraw the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) and come out with a state education policy that would be in place for implementation from the next academic year.

In a press statement, chief minister Siddaramaiah said the Union government cannot frame policies on education, which is a state subject. “The NEP was framed without taking states into confidence. An education policy can’t be imposed on states. A uniform policy is not possible in a diverse, plural country”, he said, not failing to add that states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already rejected the NEP 2020.

The state’s Higher Education Minister MC Sudhakar said no names were proposed or discussed in the meeting for the expert committee. “We will consider all stakeholders while framing the policy”, Sudhakar added. 

According to Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, the state government is likely to refer to an October 2016 report on Karnataka State Education Policy prepared by the former Karnataka Knowledge Commission.

Siddaramaiah had already confirmed that the NEP 2020 would be withdrawn next year in keeping with the ruling Indian National Congress’s election manifesto promise over the controversial policy.

The education policy would apply to primary and higher education.

The decision regarding the scrapping of NEP 2020 was taken after a high-level meeting of Karnataka government officials, academics and vice-chancellors of the universities, Shivakumar informed the press.

 “We have decided to scrap the National Education Policy, which has been adopted by the BJP (federally-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party) government. Next year, we are coming out with the new Karnataka Education Policy,” Shivakumar is reported to have said after the meeting.

The Telegraph reported that “a special committee would be launched next week to work out the details of the proposed state policy” in keeping with future requirements.

In August 2021, under a BJP-led government, Karnataka was the first state to adopt the NEP 2020 in higher education.

The NEP 2020 has got a lot of pushback from India’s southern states, seeing themselves as centres of education and knowledge. Critics of the NEP 2020 have alleged that it favours rich students and not the poor. 

There are also allegations that the NEP 2020 attempts to impose the Hindi language on non-Hindi States. According to the 2011 Census, 56.40% of Indian people don’t speak Hindi, which is mostly used in the highly-populated northern and central States. 

Recently, in April, the curriculum steering committee meeting of the Kerala State Council of Educational Research and Training (KSCERT) issued a statement announcing that it had decided to include the portions omitted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in the state’s school syllabus. 

Kerala’s Education Minister V Sivankutty has also said that the state will include omitted portions in the Kerala school syllabus. NCERT has excluded Mughal history, Gujarat riots and Darwin’s theory of evolution from school textbooks, which has come under criticism from the opponents of the BJP.

Tamil Nadu formed a 13-member committee in June 2022 to frame a distinct state education policy. Headed by retired chief justice D Murugesan, it is expected to file its report by next month.

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