Press Release issued by the five major Left students’ organizations of India
SFI AISF AIDSO AISB PSU
All sections, except the corporates, of Indian society have registered their anger and protest over the extremely ill-treatment they have met with by the Narendra Modi government. Those sections are cutting across the categories such as farmers, workers, Dalits, religious minorities, teachers, unemployed youth etc. Students have been one of the worst affected sections in the country under the NDA regime. There have been a series of attacks, from multiple level and character, which have resulted, on the one hand, weakening of Indian education system and on the other sabotaging the very idea of education and its social responsibility.
The education, from the primary level to the higher education and research, have been shaped to an arena where only privileged are entertained to enter. The funds for public institutions have been cut drastically over the years. The premier public funded institutions such as JNU have even stopped subscribing important academic journals by citing the scarcity of fund. The central government have given green signal to start Self-financing courses in public universities and colleges, in the name of autonomy. On the one side seats have been reduced in higher education institutions while on the other side, there is a complete dismantle of reservation. All the declaration on education were either remained.The policies of centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation of education have reached to an unparallel level under the Modi regime. The federal character of Indian education is under severe attack, with initiating central policies without taking the peculiarities of each state and their representation in decision making into cognisance. These character of exams like NEET have led to a huge exclusion to the students from certain states such as Tamilnadu. The children in India belongs to the country which shares the largest portion of uneducated children in the globe. They are also part of the biggest share of the children live in hunger in the world, and India positioned at 100th on global hunger index. We have seen the infants are killed without providing oxygen at a government hospital in BJP ruled state. None of these have been addressed, instead a statue was built with 2989 crores, the amount worth to build two new IITs or 5 IIMs or one AIIMS. More statues are in the queue. The students of marginalised sections and historically oppressed communities continued to be the worst affected with these policies and thereafter were forced to drop out in big numbers.
Nearly 9 crore children in India still don’t go to school, the highest in the world. In Gujarat only there are 12000 schools, including 32772 government schools run by just one or two teachers. All the big announcements made by Modi did not move from there to actually benefiting the students in the country. The amount NDA government has spent so far for one of their big claims, Beti Bachchao Beti Padao, is much lesser than the amount spent for advertising the same. And even the gender violence in campuses has also increased over the years. The government has budgeted only 3000 crore while the actual amount of scholarship owed to the Dalit students being 8,600 crore. Despite the massive backlog the centre allocated less funds to the post-matriculation scholarship scheme for 2018-19- the outlay reduced from 3347.9 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 3000 crore for the next year. Last month, the Madras high court has directed the Central government to allocate funds of arrears of Rs. 822.91 crore, upto 2016-17, to disperse the fund meant for SC/ST students under the post-metric scholarship, within two months. Instead of following the court order, they have brought a new regulation restricting the scholarship only to those who have cracked NET. This will lead to a further exclusion of the most oppressed sections from the higher education. 33% teaching posts are vacant in Indian universities with a gigantic portion of the reserved seats are also laying unappointed. There is also a serious threat of unemployment before the youth in the country. Rate of unemployment is highest in 20 years. The promise of creating two crore job opportunities every year was forgotten immediately since Modi came to power, and the educated youth live in a condition of disarray. No rhetoric could mask the truth, India lives in a dangerous reality.
Communalisation have been another severe threat to the secular fabric of education system. Syllabuses have been changed drastically, under the BJP governments in various states, which replaced Science and history with myths and puranas. Historical facts are distorted and Communal questions are brought into exam papers. Distorting all due procedures and merit the Sangh parivar agents are appointed at the head of different institutions and universities. The culprits behind the institutional murder of Rohit Vemula are roaming free and JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who was attacked by ABVP, is still untraceable. Campus democracy have been attacked heavily, and a sense of fear and surveillance was instilled in educational institutions, instead of an atmosphere of free speech, debate and discussion. With election is at the doorstep, the drama of labelling ‘anti-national’ have been restarted after a small gap. The latest episode of charge sheet against JNU students, on a clearly fabricated case, long three years after the politically motivated case was registered shows they have nothing else to show the world, but lies built on lies.
We have seen the people of all sections coming to streets against the anti-people policies of Modi government. All segments in education sector also have been hit hard by the same policies. After the historic protest marches of workers and farmers, the national capital will witness the rage of people in education sector on February 18th and 19th. Students will be mobilised from across the nation for a massive student march to parliament on Feb. 18th. There will be an intensive campaign throughout the country highlighting the issues of education as part of this ‘Delhi Chalo’ call by the left student organisations. Conventions and seminars will be held in all states rallying all democratic and secular sections. ‘Save Education, Save Democracy, Save Nation’ would be the central slogan of the campaign.
The central demands of the ‘Chalo Delhi’ march are-
· Establish a nation-wide fully state-funded and free Common Education System from KG to PG.
· Increase government spending to at least 6% of the GDP and 10% of the central budget on education.
· Ensure guaranteed employment to all.
· Stop communalization of education.
· Implement existing reservations properly and ensure social justice in govt as well as private institutions.
· Release the money for all pending scholarships immediately and establish more fellowships for research scholars from deprived backgrounds.
· Protect federal character of education and resist centralization of education.
· Stop Gender discrimination and atrocities on girl students.