State education policy should strengthen and expand the government network. and institutions helped: TN Catholic Educational Association

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Said, privatization and commercialization will make education inaccessible to poor and disadvantaged sections of society

Said, privatization and commercialization will make education inaccessible to poor and disadvantaged sections of society

The Tamil Nadu Catholic Educational Association (TNCEA) has pointed out that the proposed state education policy for Tamil Nadu (SEP-TN) should focus on strengthening and expanding the network of educational institutions. government-subsidized private education and discourage the commercialization of education by self-funded institutions.

The suggestion was made to the SEP-TN Formulation Committee headed by retired Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, D. Murugesan. A delegation led by Rev. George Antonysamy, Chairman of the Council of Bishops of Tamil Nadu and TNCEA, handed over the suggestions to the former judge, according to the Father. A. Xavier Arulraj, Senior Appointed Solicitor at the High Court.

The main source of funding for education should come from the national treasury. The role of non-state actors should only be complementary and complementary to the contribution of the state and not a substitute for it. “The more education is privatized, the less government control there is and the more it will be out of reach of the poor,” warned the TNCEA.

Declaring that St. George’s Anglo-Indian School in Chennai, established in 1715, was the first public school in the country, the association said, British administrator Sir Thomas Munro established the Board of Public Instruction in 1826. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) was established in 1851 and the grant program was introduced in 1855.

At present, there were over 37,200 government schools and 8,400 government-subsidized private schools in the state and the Catholic Church as well as the Church of South India had a network of 5,000 subsidized schools. Totally non-commercial, Christian missionaries had opened up modern, secular education to all.

However, after 1980, the government allowed the proliferation of private schools and caused irreparable damage not only to the concept of education for all without discrimination, but also to education in the mother tongue. “Ultimately, public schools became the preserve of the poor and came to be perceived as substandard,” TNCEA lamented.

Policy Proposal

In order to save the day, the association urged the SEP-TN to insist that the government guarantee a gross enrollment rate of 100% by increasing the number of government and assisted schools in the district and expanding all programs welfare, including nutritious meals and breakfast, up to class XII in assisted schools too.

“The current system of 5+5+2 in school education may be 2+5+5+2, including pre-school education…The trend away from State Board to other streams like CBSE , ICSE, Cambridge International, etc., should be discouraged and the common school system of public education should be strengthened,” the suggestions read.

The TNCEA also suggested the abolition of board exams up to Class X and insisted on the introduction of a Continuous Comprehensive Assessment (CCE) system to assess a student’s learning abilities. He further made several suggestions regarding the education of persons with disabilities, migrant children of Sri Lankan Tamil ethnicity, etc.

Higher Education

Emphasizing that the Christian community had also entered the field of higher education at the earliest with the establishment of Madras Christian College in 1837, St. Joseph’s College in Tiruchi in 1844, St. John’s College in Palayamkottai in 1878 and the American College in Madurai in 1881, the TNCEA stated that these colleges were initially funded by the state.

The government had slowly abdicated its responsibility to fund institutes of higher learning. “As a result, higher education has become significantly privatized over the past 30 years. There are 2,610 colleges in Tamil Nadu, of which 2,002 are self-funded and only 251 are government-subsidized public or private colleges.

“Of the total enrollment of 22,75,290 students studying in these colleges, 13,29,622 study in self-funded colleges while only 4,82,160 students find places in government or aided colleges. Thus, only about 20% of students are supported by the government in higher education,” the association asserted.

“The government is in a syndrome of withdrawal from its social commitment to public education, jeopardizing the goals of access and equity for the poor in higher education. All of this points to the urgent need to take a close look at our country’s higher education system, to reform and restructure it, so that it can become innovative,” he added.

TNCEA pushed to expand government reach and helped colleges cover a minimum of 50% of the student body. “The current 3+2 system in higher education can be maintained. There is no valid reason to change the system. The process of evolution and choice of curriculum and pedagogy should be carried out by the state government and not by the central bodies,” he said.

“Abolish the NEETs”

Stating that the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions should be abolished, the TNCEA said admissions into medical education should be purely based on grades obtained in Class XII public examinations and that the Directorate of Medical Education, not the National Medical Commission should monitor such admissions.

The association also made its suggestions regarding the restructuring of technical education as there had been a proliferation of engineering colleges in the state over the years and such anomalous growth had created thousands of engineering graduates Unemployed. “The industry is exploiting the situation by hiring technical professionals for very low pay,” he said.

The TNCEA insisted on making a constitutional amendment transferring the subject of “education” from the concurrent list to the state list and dramatically increasing the budget allocation for education to strengthen public educational institutions and to save them from the onslaught of entirely self-funded establishments.

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