Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday flayed the Congress for allegedly "hindering" the future of children by proposing to scrap the National Education Policy (NEP), which enables a child to pursue his or her studies in one's mother tongue.
Addressing an election rally here, the Prime Minister said NEP has been formulated to ensure that the lack of knowledge of English should not stop an economically weaker child from rural areas from becoming a doctor or an engineer.
However, the Congress has said in its election manifesto to scrap NEP and introduce Karnataka Education Policy which, he alleged, will spoil the future of a child.
Amidst the best efforts of the BJP government, the Congress has become an "enemy of rural children", according to him.
The Congress, in its manifesto released earlier this week, said it will reject the National Education Policy 2020 and form a 'State Education Policy'.
"The BJP government has distorted the textbooks by insulting the great souls of Karnataka like 'Vishwaguru' Basavanna, 'Rashtrakavi' Kuvempu. The Congress will restore the true values of Bharat and Karnataka and scientific temper in the textbooks to make the students evolved and complete," the opposition party said in its poll manifesto.
Modi said the BJP government at the Centre introduced the NEP to meet the requirements of the 21st century.
This NEP was prepared under the leadership of one of the greatest scientists of India -- former ISRO chairman Dr K Kasturirangan, the Prime Minister said adding, Karnataka had been the 'karmabhoomi' (land of his work) of the veteran scientist, who was also the Karnataka Knowledge Commission Chairman.
After consultations with thousands of domain experts and on the suggestions of crores of people of India, the NEP was introduced, the Prime Minister said.
The biggest advantage of this policy is that it lays emphasis on studying in the regional language of the state, the Prime Minister added.
Any child from a village can pursue education and study to whatever extent in their mother tongue but now the Congress has made an announcement in writing that whenever it comes to power, it will put a "lock" on the NEP, Modi said.
"I want to ask you, shouldn't the child of a poor woman, who could not get an admission in an English-medium school, have the right to become a doctor or engineer? Doesn't he have the right to study and go further? Should the future of the child be sealed only because he cannot study in English medium? Should his future be blocked?" Modi asked.
"The Congress wants to stop the children of poor families from becoming doctors only because he did not go to English-medium school. This election is a way to punish the Congress," he said.
The Prime Minister said the BJP-led Centre wants to make the economically weaker children doctors and engineers, an expert in the domain of technology.
"Language should not become a barrier to progress in his life but the Congress is saying that technical education cannot happen in Kannada. Our children who do not know English aren't entitled to a good education?" Modi sought to know.
Further explaining the importance of NEP, the Prime Minister said sometimes a child takes admission in some stream and realises later that another stream was better for them and can excel if they study in that subject.
Earlier, students did not have the choice to change the track once they entered a particular stream. The only option before them was that either they should move forward or drop and go home, he added.
"We said today's youth are intelligent enough to make a decision on their own. A student studies a subject for a year but later he thinks that he could excel in another domain. If the student wishes to change the subject, without spoiling his (academic) year, he can do it. This is the NEP," the Prime Minister asserted.
The Congress wants to stop this, Modi charged. He added that the Congress wants to take away all the alternatives that are made available for the children and compel them to tread on the same track.
"Our government is working with a vision that the students here should have a degree as well as skill in their hands. Congress wants to seal the future of the children and destroy it," the Prime Minister charged.
Karnataka goes to the polls on May 10 and results will be declared on May 13.
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