Let There Be Light!
Once, a monarch was asked what he had done to defend his Kingdom. To that question, the King replied: “I have set up a lot of educational institutions!” Then, the experts asked the King how would he be able to defend his Kingdom with educational institutions. To this, the King said: “Education makes the people conscious … and the conscious people form the strongest element of defence!”
In reality, the modern day King always seems to do just the reverse! That continuity, especially in the field of Public Education, is being carefully maintained by the Capitalist States. Indian Poet and Philosopher Rabindranath Tagore had concluded his article, ‘Reforms in Education’, with a statement by the Great Russian author Leo Tolstoy… “The strength of the Government lies in the people’s ignorance, and the Government knows this, and will therefore always oppose true enlightenment,” stated Tolstoy. Perhaps, the Government of India has launched the National Education Policy 2020 in an undemocratic manner in an attempt to block the path of fair Education.
The Scholars, hosting European Renaissance, had staged protests against feudal exploitation, and oppression of the common working class people in the name of religion. They had also placed forth some demands:
1) Religious institutions should not influence or control the Education System;
2) The curriculum of education should be scientific;
3) The State shall not sponsor Religious Educational Institutions;
4) The Government will bear all the expenses of the Educational Institutions, and only the educationists shall manage the Education System; and
5) There shall be no State Interference in the Education System.
John Stuart Mill had emphasised Education and Character Building as the two main conditions of Democracy! Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (September 26, 1820 – July 29, 1891) – an Indian Polymath, Educator and Social Reformer – stressed: “If the common people of India do not reap the fruits of education, the perpetual prejudices will not be eradicated from their minds.”
In its National Education Policy 2020, the Government of India has made an attempt to replace the real essence of education with professional education. Certainly, there is a need for career oriented education. However, it is not desirable to make the essence of education a secondary element.
The most important of the changes prescribed in the new education policy, especially at the school level, is the attempt to bridge the gap between Art, Science and Commerce! In a country, like India, where Science Education is considered as a yardstick of judging merit (in many cases, masculinity); the impact of this change shall be far-reaching…
For an example, one can mention the chapter on Rivers in a Geography book. On the way from upstream to the estuary of a river, there would be some primitive settlements… as we also get to study in History books. The Archaeologists collect enough evidence before reaching the final conclusions about the contemporary Economy, Society and Politics of those particular locations. Chemistry or Physical Sciences would help the Global Community know about the age and composition of the objects, recovered in the excavation, and preserve them properly. Fossils are hidden for Geologists in the mountainous source of a river. Apart from Soil Mechanics and Geophysics, Mathematics and Computer Sciences might predict earthquakes on the basis of the erratic movements of faults at the base of mountains… As each and every subject is inter-linked, it is impossible to proceed from one subject to another without their practical applications. That is why Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (June 29, 1893 – June 28, 1972) – an Indian Scientist and Statistician – had given equal importance to Science and also to other subjects, such as Economics and Linguistics.
The Government of India needs to thoroughly check their ideas before implementing the Educational Policy…
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