The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) submitted a memorandum to union minister for human resources development (HRD) Dr Ramesh Pokhriya Nishank in connection with the draft National Education Policy.
The KSU demanded that states should be endowed with an option of deciding their own roadmaps for the interests of students’ community in a particular state.
“The union opines that although rules and policies will be framed by the central bodies, yet states should be endowed with an option of deciding their own roadmaps for the interests of students’ community in that particular state,” KSU president Lambokstarwell Marngar said.
The KSU said that the policy was being prepared arbitrarily without taking into account the prospects of Meghalaya state which is still lagging behind in terms of educational elevation.
“Framing of policies and rules by centrally-constituted bodies, whereby states are bound only for implementation, is against the spirit of the federal structure of the nation,” Marngar said.
Such a manoeuvre will not serve the very purpose of educational equity among different states owing to wide disparity in terms of educational progress and aspirations, he added.
The KSU also asserted that it would not accept the idea to promote Hindi language and reduce the importance of English language.
“India is a multi-diverse country with a plethora of spoken and written languages belonging to different branches such as Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman. However, more emphasis should instead be given to native languages in home regions at par with both English and Hindi,” the KSU demanded.
“Furthermore, no particular language should be made compulsory in the entire country,” the KSU said.
In view of the diversity of the country, the policy should stress on aspects of regionalism such as distinct history, culture, language, habits, customs, the KSU suggested.
It also stressed that history, culture, language and freedom fighters of the Khasi community are poorly represented in school curriculum.
On the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), the KSU said a state-based GER would be better suited for the overall educational development instead of a nation-wide single GER since enrolment procedures vary from one state to another in terms of rural-urban division, development, population, area and educational advancement.
On extension of pre-primary schooling to three years, the KSU said this would add one year for completion of school education, and would be a burden for the state of Meghalaya with a relatively high Human Poverty Index (HPI).
“The diverse socio-economic condition should also be precisely taken into account so as to reduce the already widening gap between the rich and the poor,” the KSU said.
The KSU also wanted that more time be given to the public for further deliberations and suggestions on the draft National Education Policy, and various stakeholders including state governments should be engaged for finalizing the much needed policy.