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Infrastructure upgrade must for Education Policy implementation: AASU
R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - It will be impossible to implement the National Education Policy, 2020 without developing the infrastructure of the educational institutions, said the All Assam Studentsí Union (AASU). The studentsí body also alleged that the suggestions given on the draft policy by different organizations of the State were not incorporated in the final one.

 Talking to The Assam Tribune, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the AASU would soon have detailed discussion with all the stakeholders including educationists, teachersí organizations, literary bodies etc on the new education policy.

Bhattacharya said that normally, an education policy should change in every 10 to 15 years to keep pace with changing times, but the Government took 34 years to announce a new policy. Though announcement of a new policy is a positive development, it is unfortunate that the suggestions given on the draft policy by the AASU and different other organizations of the State were not incorporated in the final one.

Bhattacharya said that for years, the AASU has been advocating the need for imparting education in mother tongue in the primary level and the new policy also advocated education in mother tongue up to class V. The new policy also advocated education in mother tongue preferably up to class VIII and beyond if possible, which is a positive side of the policy, he added. He also said that the students belonging to the ethnic groups should be given an opportunity to learn Assamese along with their own language.

The AASU chief adviser, however, said that implementing most of the key points of the policy in Assam would be difficult without augmenting the infrastructure of the educational institutions. Bhattacharya said that the decision to hold annual examinations only in classes III, V and VIII would affect the competitive spirit of the students and that is why, the AASU is not in support of the move.

He said that with the present infrastructure in place, it would be impossible to introduce semester system from Classes IX to XII as suggested in the new policy. Semester system was introduced in degree and post graduate level some time back but because of lack of infrastructure including shortage of teachers, the system is yet to show the desired results. In such circumstances, it would be impossible to introduce semester system in schools, he added. The decision on choice base education sounds very good on paper, but most educational institutions do not have adequate teachers and class rooms to introduce such a system, he added. Though the policy advocated common use of facilities of different schools, it would not be possible in a State like Assam to do that because of the distance between the schools and in the rural areas. In many places the students have to cross rivers and streams to reach schools. It will be too much to ask the students to attend one class in one school and the next class in another, he pointed out.

Bhattacharya pointed out that the policy advocated paring of Government schools with private ones and said that instead of doing so, efforts should be made to improve infrastructure of the Government schools.

The AASU chief adviser said that making colleges autonomous institutions would not be a good move, particularly in a State like Assam and it would be impossible to maintain a common standard. He also opposed the suggestion to make the colleges self financing institutes as it would deprive large number of students of their right to education. He also said that it would not be possible to merge BEd colleges with other colleges as most colleges do not have adequate class rooms.

It may be mentioned here that the State Government has also decided to constitute a 40 member committee to study the policy and for its implementation.

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