Central Executive Committee of the Students’ federation of India condemns the brutal lathi charge on the students’ march to HP vidhan sabha in Shimla today, injuring a large number of students including girl students. State secretary Suresh Sarwal and President Puneet Dhamta were also injured in the lathi charge.
Thousands of students had rallied at the call of SFI against a host of anti-student educational policies in the state and a heavy police deployment had been made in Shimla since the morning itself. Police started lathi charge without any provocation on the students, immediately after the inauguration by National President Com. V. Sivadasan. It needs to be mentioned that this march to Vidhan Sabha was preceded by Jatha across the state demanding roll back of fee hike, increase in university’s budget, roll back of RUSA/CBCS and to bring back the students’ union elections. This Jatha got lot of support from students as well the broader masses and it is this support which has forced the Veerbhadra Singh government to act in such desperation.
SFI has led many a heroic battles of students in Himachal Pradesh and forced back many of the anti-student moves made by various state governments. We are confident that the student community of state will be victorious this time as well.
The educational policies affecting the students of HP, is linked intrinsically to the neoliberal push at the national level, which is now being given shape of the National Educational Policy. What we are witnessing in HP, is not merely a struggle on some state level issues, students of Himachal have today pushed back the neoliberal thrust in education. In this war over Public education, these are battles which have to be fought and won, ultimately to win the war. CEC of SFI calls upon all its units to organize National Protest day on 19th March against the lathi charge in Shimla, as well as, in support of the demand for a strong Public education. We also appeal to all democratic minded sections to rally in defence of Public education at a juncture when it faces such an attack.
The Union Budget 2015-16 has turned out to be a complete failure in addressing the core issues and problems of the common masses of India. The students of the country will be particularly hit hard by the destructivepath that the BJP government has chosen to follow. At a time when the vast majority of people of the country are faced with falling living standards and rising unemployment, the government should have made major increases in the expenditure on education. But instead it has chosen to resort to massive fund cuts.
The budgeted expenditure by the central government on education has seen a colossal decline this year. The plan outlay for the Department of School Education & Literacy has been reduced from Rs. 51,828crore in last year’s budget to Rs. 39,038.50 crore. The Department of Higher Education has seen its allocation cut from Rs. 16,900 crore to Rs. 15,855.26 crore. Plan outlay for the SarvaSiksha Abhiyan has declined from 28,258 crore to Rs. 22,000 crore. Plan funds for the all-important Mid-Day Meal Scheme have been reduced from Rs. 13,215 crore to Rs. 9236.40 crore.Needless to add, the fund cuts in real terms (after taking into account inflation) aremuch larger. Plan outlay for secondary education has declined from Rs. 8,579 crore to Rs. 6,022 crore. The funds allocated to the UGC has stagnated at last year’s levels, which amounts to a cut in real terms. Technical education has witnessed fund cuts to the tune of Rs. 434 crore. Science education and research would suffer as the allocation for the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research has been cut by 25%.The total expenditure on education - Rs.68,968 crores - is a paltry 3.88% of the central budget, a far cry from the longstanding demand of the student community that 10% of the budget be spent on education.
The tall claims made by the Finance Minister in the Budget Speech regarding the government’s “commitment to the welfare of the poor and the middle class” have fallen flat. The Finance Minister has given the excuse of higher devolution of funds to the States for inadequate fund allocation to crucial sectors. But the hollowness of such justifications can be seen from the fact that the Plan allocation for every major head under education has declined even as a percentageof total Central Plan expenditure. This shows the skewed priorities and the total neglect of education by the Modi-led BJP government.
The result of such fund cuts will be a worsening of the quality of public education in India, which would then be used as an excuse for further commercialisation and privatisation of education, thus rendering education inaccessible to the vast majority of students in the country. The fund cuts in education have come even as the tax concessions doled out by the government to the rich increased from Rs. 5,49,984crores in 2013-14 to Rs.5,89,285crores in 2014-15. Corporate tax rates have been reduced and wealth tax has been abolished. In short, the budget proposals will only serve to heap misery on the common people while benefiting the rich.
SFI calls upon the student community to protest the anti-student, anti-people Union Budget presented by the BJP government.
Central Executive Committee of Students’ Federation of India condemns the decision of huge fee hike in NET/CSIR exam fees and calls upon its state units to hold protests on 20th February, 2015 in all its units throughout the nation along with memorandum to UGC chairperson through Vice-chancellor/ principals.
BJP government led by BJP is continuously taking anti student and anti education decisions and new addition to it is the decision of the 150% increase in exam fees hike across all categories which will take a heavy burden on the student community at large. This is huge burden on the students and can’t be justified be any logic. With this decision a large section of the students will be denied to appear in these eligibility exams hence will be losing the opportunity to make his careers in teaching or research which will further adversely affect their lives.
Central Executive Committee demand immediate withdrawal of this decision or students of the country will be forced to launch wide spread and intensive struggle against this fee hike.
Central Executive Committee of Students’ Federation of India will be organising a national rally on 26ht February, 2015 at parliament against commercialisation and Communalisation of education in which thousands of the students from different states of the nation will participate.
In the education sector BJP government is pursuing the same agenda of commercialisation. But more dangerously central government is also taking agenda of communalisation of education very seriously.
MHRD has issued a notice to universities to strengthen semester system and to implement ‘Choice Based Credit System’. This CBCS is nothing but the blue print of the provisions of FYUP to be completed in three years. This reflects the commitment of this government to the same agenda and withdrawal of FYUP only a political stunt. The CBCS is only a cafeteria-approach based system which is designed facilitates “seamless student-mobility” between courses and universities. It is identical in its course structure to the FYUP (repeat pattern of Foundation, Core and Elective Courses), except the fourth year. Basically this system is designed on the basis of American system which runs on students’ loan and on the shoulders of add-on professors (contractual). This is only to woo and facilitate the foreign institution in India. BJP government is carrying forward the problematic campaign ‘RUSA’. There is much discussion on the provisions of RUSA. But the experience of its implementation has proved our concerns. In the states where it is fully implemented like Himachal Pradesh and Assam, there a colossal discontentment is there in student and teaching faculty. Whole of the education process right from class room teaching to evaluation of examination is in pathetic condition
Indian education system is already over commercialised, which is having adverse impact on the reach of students from poor and middle class. Presently contrary to the general belief our education system is running by the private players whose motive is only to cater degrees and earn profits. Even after the implementation of Right to Education through long struggles the pace of privatisation is on increase. This private education is not only commercial but also unequal as private schools never follows the norms of social justice. This privatisation is on continuous rise. In the year 2005 there were 17% private school in rural India. This percentage rouse up to 27% in 2013 and this number has reached to 30.8% in 2014. Percentage of girls and boys clearly conveys the impact of privatisation of education on girls. In 2014, in the age group 7-10 years, 35.6% of boys are enrolled in private schools as compared with 27.7% of girls. For the age group of 11-14 years, 33.5% of boys are in private schools as compared to 25.9% of girls.
The pace of privatisation is more rapid in the area of higher studies. More than half of the students’ enrolled in higher education today are under private educational institutions. 66% of students in general education and 75-80% in technical education are enrolled in private, self-financing institutions. Commercialization of education has already led to huge distortions in the educational landscape, both social as well as spatial. Education priorities cannot be left to vagaries of market forces. Commercialization entails that quality education becomes synonymous with affordability. The goals of equity and inclusion, the fundamental pillars of policy making in any democracy, might be the first casualties if unbridled profit making is instituted as a norm for the educational institutions in the private sector.
Central government is not ready to increase the budgetary allocation on education which was quite evident in the first budget of this government. Even in the revised budget estimates for year 14-15 government has reduced the funds on higher education to the extent of Rs. 3900 crore.
If we analyse the developments of last six months intension of RSS/BJP becomes clear. Much has been discussed about the political commitment of BJP to this agenda of communalisation of education and acceptance by BJP leaders in open and even in parliament. Leaders of the BJP are on record announcing their intention to change the textbooks and syllabus. In the last NDA government these kinds of efforts were also there. But present BJP government is much more aggressive and staunch. Because presently Prime Minister is heading the comparing and teaching new science not only to general public but also to the topmost doctors and scientists of India.
This is the burning situation of Indian education system which is n more deteriorating in the BJP regime. Being a responsible students’ organisation it’s our responsible to take the challenge and organise students against these policies to wage a strong struggle. Keeping this in mind SFI has launched a nationwide struggle against the commercialisation and Communalisation of education. Taking this forward this march will be organised.