Even after a day Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced on Wednesday that the new National Education Policy(NEP) had been approved by the Union Cabinet, the policy document is yet to be made available in the public domain.
“We are still waiting for written approval for the policy to come from the Cabinet Secretariat. After that, we will upload it on the Ministry website”, said a senior official in the Minister’s office, when asked about the delay on Thursday evening.
Although its highlights were announced at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, academics and State governments are awaiting the actual document, as the exact phrasing used has previously resulted in significant changes in policies.
Original NEP draft
When the original NEP draft was released by the Centre in May 2019, it contained a clause stipulating the teaching of Hindi as part of the three-language formula in schools. Following a backlash from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and other States, the Centre quickly issued a revised phrasing of that clause.
Former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan, who headed the NEP drafting panel, then told The Hindu that the alternative phrasing had been kept ready for such a situation. “This was an alternative option already approved by the committee. We had kept options for many controversial cases. It is something I learnt from my ISRO days, to always have a back-up ready,” he had said.
The question of whether primary education in the medium of the mother tongue or regional language will be mandatory or optional for States may now be dependent on the exact phrasing in the final policy document.
Students and teachers are also awaiting the exact policy document to understand the implementation timelines of the decisions. On Twitter, current M.Phil students are asking what will be the impact on them now that the programme has been scrapped.