Sourav Ghosh, the General Secretary of AIDSO has issued the following Press Statement on Blended Mode of Teaching.
Our country is now reeling under the grievous impact of the second wave of Novel coronavirus with dire consequences and an ugly dance of death we all are witnessing throughout the country. People are dying helplessly in thousands for want of hospitals, beds, ventilators, Oxygen and medicines.
In this very painful heartbreaking situation, the Universities Grant Commission (UGC) in its 547th Meeting which was held on 19th May 2021 has issued a public notice to implement the blended mode of teaching in Higher education institutions. It has been decided that all the Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) will teach 40% of the syllabus to their students through online mode (other than SWAYAM course) and the rest 60% of syllabus through offline means classroom mode. Without consulting educational experts and students the Central government left aside all humanity in a very criminal way took the advantage of Corona pandemic implementing the policy of NEP-2020 one by one through the back door.
In a press statement, AIDSO General Secretary Sourav Ghosh has said the UGC constituted in India to monitor the standard of universities and provide them grants. By crossing all its jurisdiction has imposed “Blended Mode” of teaching is totally infringement on the autonomy of the universities. It has to be resisted by all the Vice-chancellors, Lecturers, Professors and all who uphold the autonomous functioning of the universities. Secondly, the imposition of the blended mode of teaching is a recommendation of the most controversial NEP-2020; which has been totally rejected by the majority of people of India. The central BJP government is out to throttle the UGC and bully down the Universities and the state governments cunningly implementing the recommendations of NEP-2020 from the backdoor. Thirdly, Universities are the seats of universal learning and are the place where teachers and students from diverse backgrounds assemble and exchange their ideas and engage themselves in the pursuit and cultivation of knowledge and culture. It is precisely for these reasons, a vast section of academicians opine online education can never be called a comprehensive education model, it can at best become a monologue online lecture model. The online lecture can only aid formal education and can be a tool to engage the students, but if it replaces the time-tested formal classroom teaching then it will be disastrous. Experiences since the last 1 year have vindicated this point. It is a foregone conclusion that ‘Online teaching’ seriously jeopardizes the very process of teaching, learning and cultivation of knowledge. Fourthly, in our country, the internet penetration is mere 36% and in rural households, it is pathetic 14.9%. A whopping 75% of our people do not have access to Smart Phone; a mere 8% of households with members aged between 5 and 24 years have both Computer and Internet; 50% of villages do not have electricity for half of the day. So, in our country to impose blended mode and talk of Online Teaching is highly discriminatory and anti-egalitarian. Fifthly, when this is the reality it is deplorable that the party in power are using the situation created due to lockdown as an opportunity to thrust upon ‘globalisation & liberalisation reforms’ in higher education. All governments are pursuing these globalization reforms only to make Indian education a global commodity. The FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) inflow into India through the indirect route is Rs. 16,802.45 Crores; and India’s projected spending is Rs. 6.43 Lakh Crores. (Source: Economic Survey 2019-20). It is to be noted that the major amount of FDI is invested in e-learning, smart classes, etc. According to IBEF (India Brand Equity Foundation, is a Trust under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Report; April 2020) – The education sector in India is estimated to reach US$ 101.1 billion in 2019; India’s e-learning is second largest in the world, with 9.5 million users is projected to be US$ 1.9 Billion worth market by 2021. “By 2022, online education offerings across grades 1 to 12 are projected to increase 6.3 times to create around Rs.1,33,200 Lakhs ($ 1.7 billion) market, while the Post Class12 market is set to grow 3.7 times to create around Rs.1,25,800 lakhs ($ 1.8 Billion) market.” (Source: “EdTech in India Report – by the Red Seer and Omidyar Network India) All this reiterates the fact that our education is out to become a commodity, and thus ensure the loot and plunder of our people through infringing autonomy and imposing such undemocratic anti-student “Blended Mode of teaching”.
In this situation AIDSO strongly opposes this move and demand to withdraw totally NEP-2020 and these out and out anti-students, anti-education policy of Blended Mode of Education and AIDSO also calls upon the students, teachers and parents to raise their voice against this undemocratic move.