(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 12, 2012
Lawyers, Academia Join Hands
against Higher Education Bills
A state-level convention organised by All India Lawyers Union (AILU) in Hyderabad demanded the UPA-II government to immediately withdraw the ‘Higher Education and Research Bill, 2011 and the ‘Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, 2010 as these Bills would result in depriving the poor in the country from pursuing higher education.
A resolution adopted by the convention stated that these Bills would undermine the autonomy of higher educational institutes and statutory apex bodies like Bar Council of India, Central Council of Homeopathy, Dental Council of India, Medical Council of India etc on the premise of achieving comprehensive growth and enhancement of standards. The convention felt that in actuality these retrograde Bills aim at promoting the entry of both domestic and foreign private institutions in the field of higher education.
Inaugurating the convention at a packed auditorium in Sundarayya Vignana Kendram on August 7, veteran educationist and MLC Chukka Ramaiah minced no words in saying that the main aim of these Bills is creating conditions for commercialisation of higher education. At a time when there is greater need for decentralisation of administration of education, these Bills aim to centralise it in order to help the market forces gain control over the sector. He debunked the argument that this is being done to enhance the standards of education. The existing professional bodies such as Bar Council of India and MCI were perfectly capable of doing that provided they are not weakened by the government as is the case presently. He also felt that the education system will collapse if all disciplines of higher education are brought under one umbrella.
Referring to the recent fraud in Herguan University in USA which has put the future of 450 Indian students at risk, Ramaiah said for him the most alarming aspect of the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill 2010 is that it would allow such fly-by-night operators to find fertile ground in India and loot the students. He attacked union HRD minister Kapil Sibal for showing disgusting haste to allow foreign private universities to set shop in our country. He charged all bourgeois political parties of conspiring to allow this to happen while it was only the Left parties that are vehemently opposing these anti-people Bills. Ramaiah called for all patriots to conduct a major people’s movement against these harmful Bills.
A Narasimha Reddy, chairman of AP Bar Council said the main intention behind these Bills seem to be to allow foreign legal firms and private universities into our country and asserted that the lawyers would be in the forefront to fight against these Bills. B Satyanarayana, president of Osmania University Teachers Association traced the root of these Bills to the WTO agreements on trade and services wherein education was included in the ‘trade in services’ list. He called for a united fight by all sections of society to stop these Bills.
Professor Madabushi Sridhar of NALSAR university felt that these Bills aim to create SEZs in education sector. The highly centralised mechanisms envisaged by these Bills are actually in violation of the Supreme Court judgements. The need for more universities to cater to growing number of students is indisputable. But whether that goal must be achieved by demolishing existing universities and welcoming private, foreign universities must be debated widely, he said. He said the adamant attitude being shown by Kapil Sibal must be related to the commitments he had already made to Americans about getting these Bills passed so as to let them set up shop in our country.
Leaders of SFI, PDSU, Contract Lecturers Association, UTF etc, and representatives of various Bar associations also spoke in the convention. AILU president G Vidyasagar presided over the convention while AILU general secretary K Satyanarayana and AILU all India vice president K Pardhasaradhy also spoke. It was resolved to form a joint action committee with all stakeholders to conduct a mass movement against these Bills in the state.