The Madras High Court was moved challenging Section 57 of the Constitution (Forty-Second Amendment Act, 1976) to the extent that it deleted education including, technical education, medical education and universities from the State list to the Concurrent list as part of Entry 25 being violative of the federal structure.
By virtue of introduction of education in List III, the autonomy of the states in matters of education has become subordinate to Parliament/Union government, the plea contended. It noted that the upsetting of the federal balance was more pronounced now in light of the recent policies promulgated by the Union government, such as the National Education Policy, 2020, National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993, etc., taking away the states’ autonomy.
“The NEP 2020 completely takes away the autonomy of the states in the subject of education. It envisages many centralised agencies, which will effectively control all aspects of education in the country, such as the National Assessment Centre, called PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), ‘National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education’ (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8 by NCERT, Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) to regulate higher education,” the plea contended.
It also pointed out that the states were better equipped to know the educational needs of different communities, the requirement for specific types of education, the socio-economic status of different communities, and formulate policies and laws that address the prevailing problems.
“Hence, the ‘one size fits all’ approach in letting the Union government determine policies and laws for education is not in the best interest of the public, as the needs of various sections of the society are ignored,” added the plea, which is scheduled to be taken up for hearing soon.