Implementation of National Education Policy: Following up the issue with T.N. regularly, Centre tells HC

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Says, it has requested the Govt to share initiatives taken so far and that it would discuss the matter in the proposed conference of Chief Secretaries

Says, it has requested the Govt to share initiatives taken so far and that it would discuss the matter in the proposed conference of Chief Secretaries

The Union Ministry of Education on Tuesday told Madras High Court it has been regularly following up with Tamil Nadu the issue of implementation of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and it had written a letter last on September 7, 2021 requesting the State government to share the initiatives taken and the achievements made so far in implementing the policy.

In a counter affidavit filed before Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and D. Bharatha Chakravarthy who were seized of a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to the Centre and the State government to implement the policy in Tamil Nadu, the Ministry said, the issue would be discussed in the proposed conference of Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories.

The counter affidavit, filed through the Central government senior panel counsel K. Srinivasamurthy, stated that the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development itself got re-designated as Ministry of Education only as per the NEP 2020. Recalling the history, the Ministry said, it had initiated the process of formulating a NEP in January 2015 by kickstarting a three pronged consultation process.

At first, an online consultation process was undertaken on portal between January 26, 2015 and October 31, 2015. Thereafter, an extensive, time-bound, participative, bottom-up consultative process was carried across nearly 2.5 lakh village panchayats, 6,600 blocks, 6,000 urban local bodies, 676 districts and 36 States/Union Territories between May 2015 and October 2015.

Thereafter, thematic consultations were conducted through the University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education, National Council for Teacher Education, National Council for Educational Research and Training, Central Board of Secondary Education and several Centrally funded institutions. The Ministry also held consultations with State governments and held six zonal meetings.

On May 27, 2016, a five-member committee led by then Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian submitted its report on evolution of NEP. The report along with the inputs of the Ministry were laid in both Houses of the Parliament in August 2016 and also uploaded on the government website. Thereafter, a committee under the chairmanship of eminent scientist K. Kasturirangan was constituted in June 2017 to submit a draft policy.

The committee submitted its draft on May 31, 2019 and immediately letters were written to all States/Union Territories inviting their views and comments on the draft policy. A brief summary of the draft was translated into 22 languages and circulated among various stakeholders. An education dialogue with the Members of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Karnataka and Odisha was also held in 2019.

Two meetings with the School Education and Higher Education Secretaries of all States/Union Territories were also conducted before holding the inter ministerial consultation and finalising the NEP 2020 on July 29, 2020. Since the subject ‘education’ falls in the concurrent list appended to the Constitution, the States and the Union Territories were requested to implement the NEP in “letter and spirit,” the Union Ministry told the High Court.

Listing out a series of reminders it had been sending to the State governments with a request to share the progress made so far, the Ministry said a virtual meeting was conducted on December 1, 2021 with the Chief Secretaries, vice-chancellors, officials of higher education departments in various States/Union Territories to deliberate on State-wise initiatives taken and the best practices adopted by them.

It urged the High court to pass appropriate orders after considering the initiatives taken by the Centre.

After taking the counter affidavit on file, the first Division Bench led by the Chief Justice granted a final opportunity of four weeks for the State government to file its counter affidavit and adjourned the case for further hearing to June. In his affidavit, the PIL petitioner Arjunan Elayaraja had claimed the State government was hesitant to implement NEP 2020 for political reasons and because of the “false” fear of Hindi and Sanskrit being imposed on the State.


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