They pointed out that the Ministry has hurriedly prepared the policies without consulting the States’ and stakeholders’ opinion and suggestions. Commenting on the school education reforms, State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN), general secretary PB Prince Gajendra Babu said that the policy is against the vision and provision of the Constitution of India. Quoting the NEP in connection with the school merger and creation of school complexes by sharing resources among individuals, he said the move will make the situation worse and weaken the public school system.
“A student from a rich background could choose a school of his/her choice and a child from economically backward status will have to travel far to reach a school,” he added. Babu also said the government’s move to shift Anganwadi centres to school complexes will affect parents, who will also have to travel too far to drop their children.
Though welcoming the Centre’s move to make mother tongue compulsory till Class 5, Tamil Nadu Teachers Association President PK Ilamaran disagreed with MHRD’s proposal to conduct exams for Classes 3, 5 and 8. “This move will increase the dropouts from Class 3 in rural areas,” he added. On allowing NGOs to work in State-run schools, he said, “If this will be the case, NGOs will surely interfere in the day-to-day affairs of school activities.” On Centre’s move to allow foreign universities to function here, Anna University former Vice-Chancellor E Balagurusamy commented that there are already more than 600 universities functioning across the country. “Allowing foreign universities to operate here instead of improving the existing institutions is not a good move,” he said. “Adding to it, the government should also improve the quality of professors, which was not initiated in the NEP,” he added.