People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 18, 2007
100 PERCENT OF FDI IN EDUCATION
SFI Denounces The Government’s Proposal
THE Central Executive Committee of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) strongly denounces the government’s proposal to allow for 100 percent FDI in education. It is really ill fated of the government to take this decision quoting the ‘compulsions of WTO’ at the cost of national interests.
Allowing foreign investment in education will not lead to an increase in the enrolment rates in Indian education. This is a baseless premise harped by the Commerce department in spite of boundless data and experience against it. This will only help in the further withdrawal of the state from the education sector, this time stating that ample foreign institutes are available for the needy students. The foreign institutions that come up to open their institutions in our country will come, out of their quest for profits and not for a ‘noble cause’ of educating Indians.
The foreign institutions are an attack on the intellectual self-reliance of our country. They will be insensitive to the cultural and intellectual needs of the host country and will only start and teach courses that earn them profits. Experience of the existing 144 odd foreign education providers in our country shows that most of them are second and third grade institutions and more than 1/3 of them do not have recognition even in their respective countries. The tall talk of regulation by the enforcement agencies does not convince anybody because of the failure of these agencies in regulating the domestic private education institutions in spite of several legislations to the affect.
There are provisions in GATS that the government can use if it really wishes to disallow FDI in education. Any service that is exclusively in the public domain can be excluded from trade. But the government has consciously opened up the entire education sector to the private sector and prepared the requisite ground for inviting foreign investment. Many of the present problems in the education sector are a result of these policies. The government instead of rectifying these wrongs is indulging in more of these policies and pushing the education system into a cesspool.
It is the duty of the entire democratic populace of our country to stand against this proposal and oppose it tooth and nail. SFI calls upon the student community to immediately protest this move and send a warning to the government that if it fails to heed to these strong voices of dissent it will be doomed at its own cost.