THE central executive committee of the Students’ Federation of India has, in a press statement issued on July 6, condemned the incidents of brutal police lathicharge against the students who were protesting on different issues related to education in Jodhpur of Rajasthan and in various parts of Kerala.
AN article in the previous issue of People’s Democracy had highlighted the agenda of “reforms” being systematically imposed on public funded higher education (‘Warning bells for India's Public Higher Education’, June 21, 2015). This agenda, started by the UPA government and being ever more aggressively pursued since the Modi regime took over, threatens to destroy public funded higher education and chain it irrevocably to the interests of for-profit private players, domestic and foreign.
Four student organisations – SFI, AISF, AISA and AIDSO – have come together to launch a movement at the national level against the centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation of education. In a joint declaration, the organisations said efforts will be made to bring on board students’ organisations and groups at the state, district and campus levels who agree with the basic understanding as outlined in this declaration. Below is the text of the joint declaration:
INDIA’S higher education is going through a tumultuous period. A series of hastened ‘reforms’ are putting the very foundations of our public higher education at the brink of collapse. In last November, UGC had sent guidelines forcing all universities to implement the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) from the 2015-16 academic session. It has now been followed by a ‘Make in UGC’ approach of preparing centralised syllabi for undergraduate courses, with universities being given just 20 percent deviation while preparing their own syllabi.
IMPERIOUS and heedless, the Trinamool Congress decided that its priority, to hold and presumably win in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections was higher, in fact much higher than the needs of 1.53 lakh applicants from West Bengal and other states waiting to take the Joint Entrance Examinations for admission in engineering and medical courses.
WHITE flags flutter in the air as hundreds of student activists from across the country, holding SFI banners, marched in the national capital on February 26 to ward off the threat of saffronisation of education. “Hum ladenge, Hum jeetenge (We’ll fight, we’ll win),” SFI president V Sivadasan told the historic gathering as he cautioned the BJP-led government against its policy of commercialisation and communalisation of education.
MORE than 400 parents, mostly women, filled the Vanamali Hall in Dadar of Mumbai beyond its capacity at the call of Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti (ASBS) for a convention on implementation in letter and spirit of the Right to Education Act in the coming academic year (2015-2016). The Act stipulates, inter alia, that non-minority aided and un-aided private schools have to fill minimum 25 percent of their seat capacity with children from the socially disadvantaged and economically weaker sections.
THE School Teachers' Federation of India (STFI) organised a national education convention on November 13 in New Delhi's Constitution Club. The slogans were 'Strengthen and Implement the RTE Act, and Save and Uphold the Public Education'. CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury inaugurated the convention and Abhijit Mukherjee, the president of STFI, presided over it. Professor Anil Sadgopal, presidium member of all-India forum for right to education, and Professor Santa Sinha, former chairperson of NCPCR, delivered special address at the convention.
THE struggle for implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the “disadvantaged groups” and “weaker sections” --- as given in the act and upheld by the Supreme Court --- is being carried out for the third successive year in Mumbai and receiving an overwhelming response from the downtrodden sections. The movement has widened in scope as well as intensity during these three years, with more and more parents coming forward to avail of free education for their children.
THE state of Gujarat was formed in the 1960s by carving out 17 Gujarati speaking districts that were part of the erstwhile Bombay state. Gujarat played an important role in the economic history of India. It is one of the major industrial hubs of India. During the British Raj, the country’s first ever textile mill was established in Gujarat. Surat has been known for diamond cutting and polishing industry, the best of its kind in the world.