The new National Education Policy (NEP) will not dilute provisions of reservation in educational institutions enshrined in the Constitution, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said on Tuesday.
The minister asserted that successful ongoing programmes and policies will continue with new efforts to bring educational inclusion of SCs, STs, OBCs, divyang and other socio-economic disadvantaged groups.
The comments by the Education Minister came following a PTI story last week which was based on CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him if the new NEP sought to end the reservation policy in the educational institutions.
"Some of my political friends have been raising doubts that the National Education Policy, 2020, may dilute the provisions of reservation in the educational space of the country.
"I would like to clarify with all authority in my command that there is no such intention, as is clearly reflected in NEP. The policy affirms by the constitutional mandate of reservation enshrined in Article 15 and Article 16 of the Indian Constitution," Nishank said in a statement.
"I think it does not need any further reiteration of provisions of reservation in the policy which is already working within the framework of the Indian Constitution. It is difficult to understand the meaning of raising apprehensions after 4-5 months of the declaration of NEP, that too without any fact to support," he added.
The minister said that various entrance examinations like JEE, NEET, UGC-NET, IGNOU were organised after the declaration of NEP, 2020 and many appointment processes were also held in educational institutions, but no complaints of dilution of reservation provision have been received so far.
"As we know the NEP-2020 emerged and evolved from rigorous consultations of all the stakeholders' students, teachers, parents, educational administrators, educationist, non-teaching staff and society as a whole, through grassroots consultations from village level to state level, zonal and national level consultations, thematic expert consultations, scrutiny of various committees. That is why this NEP has emerged as a sensitive commitment for educational inclusion of all the groups of our society," he said.
Approved by the Union cabinet in July, the NEP replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education framed in 1986. It is aimed at paving the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems.
In the letter, Yechury had claimed that NEP had no mention of reservations for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Class communities, and the differently-abled.
"Does NEP 2020 seek to end the policy of reservations for SC, ST, OBC and disabled in educational institutions? If not, could you please clarify as to why NEP2020 does not contain any mention of reservations? In fact, even the word "reservation" does not appear anywhere in the policy document," Yechury had said in the letter.