NEET-CUET Phenomenon: Enslavement of Mind
As we decode the core agenda of National Education Policy 2022 (NEP-2020), it becomes incrementally clear that it is designed to put India’s vast education system on sale in the global market. Few realize that the core agenda of this New National Education Policy 2022 ( NEP-2020) is Digital Education, not Education. Within weeks of the approval of New National Education Policy (NEP-2020) on July 29, 2020 by the Central Cabinet, an international marketing agency reported that the Education business of India for the next five years would be of of at least 15 Billion Dollars. It turned out to be an underestimate. India’s education now stands captured by powerful Edu-Tech trans-national corporates whose strings are manipulated by Stock Exchanges in New York, London, Beijing and Tokyo.
The centralized tests like NEET-CUET are lobbied for by the Edu-Tech companies since these provisions open huge business through both Coaching Classes and Computer-based Testing. From ECCE to professional and technical education, India’s education business has received in the past couple of years rapidly bouncing investment from the global capital, essentially replacing NCERT and SCERTs/DIETs in curricular and pedagogic planning and dictating terms to the spectrum of agencies constituted under the banner of National Education Policy (NEP-2020).
The rising control of global capital on India’s education has dangerous implications for our freedom for which we fought against the British Empire for more than a century, during which thousands of our youth were martyred. Increase in the foreign investment in India’s education symbolically implies return of the ‘East India Company’ which would ensure that the voice of freedom and questioning minds are suppressed with impunity. The mind of the youth from the upper class/caste, selected through NEET-JEE-CUET, would be enslaved in order to ensure that they readily shift base from India to the Silicon
Valley or NASA or be recruited by corporate hospitals in Paris, Munich, Los Angeles or elsewhere in the western metros.
It is never too late. Let us wake up and restore the Constitutional vision of Education and save India from being enslaved again!
The Dravidian Model of Education
Significantly, Tamil Nadu has become the first State in India and, so far the only one, where the State Government has taken the following four pioneering historic steps in protecting educational rights of the people, as provided by the Constitution:
- Constituted the Justice Dr. A. K. Rajan Committee to assess the impact of NEET on medical education and public health in the state and recommend the alternative way forward.
- Passed a Bill to replace NEET at the recommendation of the aforesaid Committee with a view to provide admission to the UG medical degree courses on the basis of the marks in the Plus 2 examination, thereby upholding equality and equal opportunity, ensuring social justice and reinforcing a robust public health system across the state, including the rural areas.
- Challenged NEP 2020 by forming a High Level Committee to draft an alternative State Education Policy.
- Passed Resolution in the Legislative Assembly urging the Union government to withdraw CUET.
This indeed is the Dravidian Model of Education founded on the rich legacy of the historic anti-caste Dravidian Movement pioneered by Iyothee Thassar in the 19th century and carried to new heights by Periyar E.V. Ramasamy through Self-Respect Movement in the 20th century. What could be a better tribute to these two great torch-bearers of equality and Social Justice other than ensuring that the said Bill to eliminate NEET becomes the legal instrument of equality and Social Justice in admissions to medical courses in Tamil Nadu in the 21st century!
It is crucial that this experience and message is carried to the other states/UTs as expeditiously as possible. Recently, the Hon’ble CM Thiru M.K. Stalin gave a clarion call at the CPI(M) Congress held in Kerala. He proposed “Let’s create a truly federal India” along with the perception of “True Federalism is the Counter-Narrative that India Needs right now!”