Education is not a financial commodity. One should not be able to buy an education, education should be available to everybody – rich, poor, man & woman: Rahul Gandhi

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi interaction with College Professors at St. Xavier’s College in Tamil Nadu. Excerpts, via INC India:

I’d like to welcome all of you here. I can see the future of this country, I can see many young women & young men here, and I am confident that you are going to do great things.

I’m am here to have a conversation with you. Conversation is about what you and I feel. I am here to listen, more than to speak.

If we are going to have any policy that is going to be made for education system, it has to come from a conversation with students & professors. And unfortunately, this was not done [with NEP]

It is impossible for someone outside the education system to tell our students & teachers what is best for them. That is the first problem [with NEP].

The second problem is that they are centralising too much power into the Central govt, into one institution. This is going to damage our education system.

NEP is a weapon to communalise, a weapon to push a particular ideology into our education system.

When they say ‘Tamil Nadu is on the way to success’, you have to ask one question, ‘who in Tamil Nadu is being successful?’. The thing they never say is that 2-3 people are being successful, they assume everybody is but that is not the case.

As long as all ideas are shared without hatred, without anger, I don’t see a problem with conversations taking place.

A healthy democracy should be confident enough to speak about anything. It should not be without courage to speak the truth.

The Modi govt says they represent Hinduism. But a lot of ideas that they espouse have nothing to do with Hinduism. Nowhere in Hinduism does it ask to insult, beat & kill people.

The true principles of religion are very simple: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism all say the same thing – treat the other person with respect, love & affection.

Modi govt’s whole game is to steal. The idea is – do whatever you have to do to take the money of the people of India.

There is no society in the world that can be successful without respecting & empowering its women. There is a lot we have to do in India to give our women the space that they deserve & require to grow.

I believe the education should be universal, not only for financially strong people. So, the more scholarships we give & the more exposure we give to poorer people, the better it is.

I am confident that when we come to power after the elections, we are going to push for scholarships & access of education to women & poorer people. I stand for that whole-heartedly.

We believe education is a weapon of empowerment for our people. Making education accessible to all, is something important & fundamental.

I believe a teacher has to be a central pillar of education.

The goal of education is not only collecting information, it is taking that information & distilling it into knowledge and then into wisdom.

Our students have to be global as well as local. There is a requirement for us to be open to the rest of the world but there is also a requirement to never forget where we come from, who we are, what our history is & what our tradition is.

Teachers play a central role in the building of our nation & I am not happy with how they are paid for the hard work they do

Teaching should be a profession that gives you remuneration, that people admire & want to be part of. That would be our vision for education.

A govt should be confident enough to allow different ideas to propagate. A govt that is trying to crush ideas, frightening people, locking up people will never create a creative atmosphere in the country.

If you recall, 70, years ago, this country was ruled by the British. Much more powerful than Narendra Modi will ever be. And the people of this country sent the British empire back. Same way, we will send Narendra Modi back to Nagpur.

We will send Narendra Modi back to Nagpur without any hatred, without any anger, without any violence

Education is not a financial commodity. One should not be able to buy an education, education should be available to everybody – rich, poor, man & woman. And it is a duty of the nation to give education & healthcare to its people.

Today, everything is being seen as a financial commodity – agri, edu, healthcare. Basically, if you have money you get whatever you want & if you don’t then you get nothing. This is where India is heading & I am fundamentally against it.

There should be a large part of the education system that should be free, easily accessible & high quality.

Access & excellence at scale are impossible to achieve with centralisation & corporatisation. If you want achieve this, the govt must play a role, large amount of public money has to go into it & we have to support teachers & institutions.

The Modi govt is more than happy to give Rs.1,50,000 crores to 5-7 business people during Covid19. Why are they not ready to put that money into the education system of our country?

Teachers are one of the central pillars of our education system and we need to empower them, strengthen them and make them comfortable so that they can impart knowledge & wisdom to our students.

Teachers are doing a tremendous job for this country. Every single day in the classroom strengthens this country. Thank you.

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