Saturday, Jan 29, 2022
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'Light But Tight Will Promote Corporate Interests'

'Light But Tight Will Promote Corporate Interests'
'Light But Tight Will Promote Corporate Interests' -

1. What will a switch from 10+2 to a 5+3+3+4 structure mean in Schooling and beyond?

The claims of the NEP 2020 that the old structure was 10+2 are simplistic and ahistorical; and its proposal for a new structure as 5+3+3+4 are pedagogically and socially damaging and politically betraying the nation as they will further weaken the RTE. Actually, over time, particularly after the legislation of RTE Act (2009), the school structure had evolved into 8+2+2: while the Pre-Primary Education of the age group of 3-6 years was not integrated as a fundamental right, there was continuous assessment but no conventional exams up to 8th standard. Sociology of Education has repeatedly demonstrated that more than assessment, examination is an instrument of selection, ‘pushing-out’ and exclusion. Still, amending one of the progressive provisions of the RTE Act in the form of continuous assessment of children, the Union Government of the NDA-II have already allowed states to conduct conventional exam after classes 5 and 8. Now the NEP 2020 proposes to hold exams by the ‘competent authority’ in class III itself. Accordingly, now there is a separate cluster in the newly proposed structure, which is for classes 3rd to 5th in the age group of 8 to 11. It was expected that the NEP 2020 will take care of preschool education of children in the age group of 3 to 6 as a fundamental right and it will establish the new school structure as 3+8+4. However, it proposes the new structure as 5+3+3+4. Although the NEP 2020 claims to integrate 3 years of Pre-Primary Education with the first two years of Primary Education, neither it has been visualized as a fundamental right, nor any promise to amend the RTE Act has been made in this regard. NEP 2020 only expects the universalization of ECCE by 2030. Progressive sounding rhetoric of DNEP 2020 might be at best viewed as lofty announcements, because it is made clear there itself that these stages are ‘purely curricular and pedagogical’ and ‘parallel changes to physical infrastructure will not be required’. Accordingly, the Anganwadis and other ECCE centers will be part of the ‘School Complexes’, not the school as such. Thus, government schools are not conceptualized as having a Pre-Primary section. On the other hand, many private schools provide Pre-Primary Education. Therefore, owing to the retention of this structural gap at the  entry level in the public system of education, parents will continue to be compelled to choose private schools.

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