New Delhi, Apr 11 (PTI) Former JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar today accused political parties of using the education sector as a tool to legitimise their ideology and demanded that they declare their education policy during elections.

Kumar said even though education is part of politics, politicians have stopped including it in their election programmes.

This, he said, has resulted in the sector “being dumped as a waste of taxpayers’ money”.

“Education is a political question and political parties are using it as a tool for their ideological legitimacy,” he said at an event titled ‘People’s Tribunal on Attack on Educational Institutions in India’ in New Delhi.

The 31-year-old demanded that political parties, following any ideology, should declare their education policy during elections “to save public institutions from getting destroyed”.

He also held the “elite class” responsible for the poor state of public educational institutions.

“The elite class sends their children to best institutions aspiring for quality education, but what is happening in reality is public institutions are destroyed due to slumping demand.” On centralisation of education, he said issues and incidents taking place in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Jamia Millia Islamia and the Delhi University are talked about much.

“(But) look at institutions in other places – like my state Bihar – where students take up degrees just as a criteria to get a job. Professors are not popular, but goons are. Affairs in those institutions are less known,” he said.

He said conferences – like the ‘People’s Tribunal on Attack on Educational Institutions in India’ – should be organised in small towns and cities.

The three-day programme, which concludes on April 13, is discussing the impact of privatisation and globalisation on education among other topics.

Kumar said education in the country was also prone to communalisation as there was a deliberate attempt to manipulate textbook contents. “I cannot surely say if the society was secular in the past, but definitely textbooks were secular. Now manipulating it has been the primary goal,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.