THERE are clear signals that India’s higher and technical education is being thrown open to ‘for profit’ private entities. The threat of global competition via the WTO route is already here, and it is likely to aggravate in future.
THE All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to cut over 6,00,000 seats in engineering colleges across the country from the current 16.7 lakh to around 11 lakh. This move is being supposedly made due to the poor quality of engineering education, low ‘employability’ of the students graduating from these institutions, and the huge increase in the number of vacant seats.
ELECTIONS to both Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) were held on 11th September. Both these elections were being held at time when, after the first 500 days of the Modi regime, all the tall claims of ‘achhe din’ have withered away. The assaults on people’s rights and livelihood continue unabated, with unrelenting price rise and attempts to dilute various labour laws.
THE brutal attack on students, including girls, in Visakhapatnam on September 15 is a desperate attempt on part of the Chandrababu Naidu-led Andhra Pradesh government to muzzle the voice of those who oppose its policies. Ever since coming to power, Chandrababu has repeatedly showed contempt towards public education. The problems of social welfare hostels are not being addressed in the state for many months. Girl students are facing acute problems due to non-availability of toilets, drinking water facility and permanent buildings in majority of welfare hostels.
THE Democratic Teachers' Front (DTF) has secured a historic victory in the elections to the Delhi University Teachers' Association, held in the last week of August. DTF's Nandita Narain was re-elected to the post of the DUTA president for the second consecutive term. For DTF, this election marked the third consecutive win and mandate for the leadership of the DUTA. Besides Narain, the entire panel of four DTF candidates for the DUTA Executive Committee was also elected with a handsome vote-share.
IN the run up to last year's general elections, BJP had promised the country a government that would have natural empathy towards the underprivileged and work for their empowerment as it would be run by a "poor chaiwala". However, three major steps taken by the BJP-led government within one year of assuming office make it clear that its policy is to ensure that the children of "chaiwalas" across the country never get a chance to go to school. As part of the "achhe din" policies of the Modi government, the education sector witnessed a budget cut of more than Rs 13,000 crore.
OF late, news headlines have been hogged by the continuing struggle by the students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). The students’ protest was in opposition to imposition of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the institute and three other members in the governing council. The outrage has, of course, gone far beyond this exalted institute and shared by large number of film professionals and the creative community.
EDUCATION plays a very important role in development of a nation and in bringing social change. History has proved it time and again when we see the role of leaders coming from educational institutions in the freedom movement and also social reform movements. It is education which develops analytic power in an individual. For this matter, higher education has its unique place in social development. Universities and colleges are not only the centres where skilled workers, doctors, engineers, educationalists, politicians, etc.
THE haughty BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra had to eat a humble pie before the Bombay High Court last month. The government had to withdraw its order cancelling all admissions to pre-primary classes made as per the entry point dictum of the RTE Act. On July 24, the Additional Government Pleader had to state before the high court bench that the state had withdrawn the Government Resolution (GR), dated April 30, and went on to table the new GR of July 23 issued in its place.
A NATIONAL Convention against centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation was held on July 28, in New Delhi. Five student organisations namely All India Democratic Students' Organisation, All India Students Bloc, All India Students’ Federation, Progressive Democratic Students Union and Students’ Federation of India were part of the convention.