Tamil Nadu students may not get the benefits, if any, of the new National Education Policy declared by the Centre on Thursday. Barring the BJP, all major political parties have declared their opposition to the NEP in its present form. The ruling AIADMK is expected to announce its stance on August 3 after a meeting of the council of ministers to be presided by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, according to K A Sengottaiyan, minister for school education.
The opposition DMK has made it known that it would not allow any reforms which scuttle the two-language policy enunciated by late Chief Minister C N Annadurai. “As former chief minister of Tamil Nadu C N Annadurai said Tamil Nadu must follow only a two-language policy system, there is no space for the three-language policy in Tamil Nadu,” said a unanimous resolution adopted at the end of a day-long video conference of the party’s high power committee presided over by president M K Stalin.
Stalin in his speech declared that there was no space for Hindi or Sanskrit in Tamil Nadu as both the languages represented Hindu religion and saffronisation. It may be remembered that Tamil Nadu is the only State in India which does not have Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, a concept boarding school introduced by Rajiv Gandhi as part of the New education Policy 1987. Hindi and Sanskrit are taught in Navodaya Vidyalayas as optional subjects, which are anathema to the Dravidian parties.
Anbumani Ramadoss MP and leader of PMK, a constituent of the NDA, said he too was against the imposition of Hindi or Sanskrit. “We are also opposed to the public examinations planned for students of classes Three, Five and Eight which would result in stress among students,” said Ramadoss.
But Prof YR Johnson, former principal, Navodaya Vidyalaya and a respected educationist expressed his shock over the attitude of the political parties in the State to the NEP. “They are denying the students the right to learn the language of their choice. I had requested the human resources minister to have a One Nation and One Education system for the entire India. But these Dravidian parties are bent upon destroying the future of Tamil Nadu,” said Prof Johnson who had waged a battle with the State Government to get Navodaya Vidyalayas opened in the State.