The National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP2020) has been approved by the Union Cabinet as of 29th July, 2020. The National Education Policies of 1968, 1986 and Plan of Action of 1992 preceded NEP 2020. Prior to 1976, education was a state subject. Questions have been raised as to why NEP 2020 was not presented and discussed in the Parliament (media reports).
The National Education Policies of 1968 and 1986 (modified in 1992) were based on the Kothari Commission Report of 1966. NEP 2020 draws much less on the Kothari Commission report. Post-Independence, the Kothari Commission was constituted to look at the question of reconstruction of India’s educational system in order to transform India into a modern democratic and socialistic society. The British imperialist system of education could no longer hold in India. What has been the journey of school education for Bahujan pre NEP 2020? Lets us begin with the Kothari Commission report followed by the two NEPs that have preceded NEP 2020. The term Bahujan has been explained a little later in the article.
Kothari Commission Report- An overview of the school education section
The Kothari Commission found that the existing educational system had given rise to a huge population of educated un-employed. Further that, “the under-privileged sections have a very small and disproportionate share in existing facilities in spite of the unrestricted admissions”.
The Commission observed that the educated did not want to take up ‘work’ considered primarily, ‘manual’ in nature. It said in society a distinction was made between education and work, wherein traditional occupations were considered ‘primitive’ and involving work drudgery (Comment: It appears, the fact that these occupations practised by Bahujan masses and interdependent on each other fostered social integration, self-reliance, concern for biodiversity and the environment, and informed a vibrant culture was lost on the Commission).