Posts Tagged ‘Yashpal Committee Report’

Six Education-related Bills: Promoting FDI and Private Sector in Higher Education

December 9, 2012

Six Education-related Bills:

Promoting FDI and Private Sector in Higher Education

Vijender Sharma

 The corporate sector discovered a huge and ever growing service industry in education. Global public spending on education in the beginning of this century was estimated to exceed one trillion US dollars, that is about fifty five lakh crore rupees. In this industry with huge global market students, teachers, and non-teaching employees constitute resources for profit-making. Here, the students are consumers, teachers are service providers and expert speakers, and the institutions or companies catering to education services are organisers, and the teaching-learning process is no longer for the building of a nation but a business for profit-making.

Predatory and powerful transnational corporations have been targeting public education, particularly higher education, for profit-making. Though predominantly a government supported service, most governments are, as a consequence of neo-liberal economic reforms, withdrawing from it. The government of India through extensive privatisation, commercialisation and deregulation has been encouraging this process.

PM’S INITIATIVE FOR PRIVATISATION

The Prime Minister had asked the Planning Commission in September 2007 to “seriously examine the role of private initiative in supplementing public funding for higher education” and stressed the “role for private initiative in this area.” He further asked it to “seriously look at the proposal for fee increases to reasonable levels in a graduated manner accompanied by a scheme of extensive scholarships and loans which would ensure that no student is denied education because of his or her financial constraints.”

The prime minister himself set the agenda that private investment should be welcome and the fees may be increased. And there could be scholarships and loans for those who could not pay the fees. The adequate number of scholarships are never available but are mentioned in policy documents and speeches to thwart the resistance to fee hike.

With the increase in the difficulty in finding jobs in the current economy, students have been struggling hard to pay back their loans that they had taken. Even if they get the job, the package offered is so low that the payment of loan seems to be difficult. Now they want the government to take steps so that their loans could be ‘forgiven’. (more…)

“Academic Reforms” in Delhi University: A case study of systematic destruction

December 5, 2012

“Academic Reforms” in Delhi University:

A case study of systematic destruction

by

Vijender Sharma

(Convener)

Nandita Narain,  Vijaya Venkataraman, Rajeev Kunwar,                     Saikat Ghosh,  Shaswati Mazumdar, Sanjaya Bohidar, and               Abha Dev Habib

    

Study Team:

Vijender Sharma,

Associate Professor of Physics, ARSD College, University of Delhi, New Delhi-110021,

Formerly: President, Delhi University Teachers’ Association, President, Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Associations, Member, Executive Council, University of Delhi, Member, Academic Council, University of Delhi.

Email: vijensharma@yahoo.co.in  Phone: 9868185505

Nandita Narain,

Associate Professor of Mathematics, St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.

Formerly: Member, Executive Council, University of Delhi, Member, Academic Council, University of Delhi, Member, Executive Committee, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

Email: nanditanarain@gmail.com  Phone: 9810261909

Vijaya Venkataraman,

Associate Professor of Spanish Studies, Department of GRS, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.

Formerly: Member, Academic Council, University of Delhi.

Email: vijaya.venkataraman@gmail.com  Phone: 9810030563

Rajeev Kunwar,

Assistant Professor of Hindi, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi, New Delhi-110003.

Formerly: Member, Executive Committee, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

Email: kunwar..rajeev@gmail.com  Phone: 9953686198

Saikat Ghosh,

Assistant Professor of English, SGTB Khalsa College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.

Member, Executive Committee, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

Email: saikatghosh78@gmail.com  Phone: 9910091754

Shaswati Mazumdar,

Professor of German Studies, Department of GRS, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.

Formerly: Head, Department of GRS, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, President, Delhi University Teachers’ Association, Secretary, Delhi University Teachers’ Association, Joint Secretary, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

Email: smazumdar@gmx.net  Phone: 9971784144

Sanjaya Bohidar,

Associate Professor of Economics, Sri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.

Formerly:  Member, Academic Council, University of Delhi, Treasurer, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

Email:  skbohidar@gmail.com  Phone: 9968286135

Abha Dev Habib,

Assistant Professor of Physics, Miranda House, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007.

Member, Executive Committee, Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

Formerly: Member, Academic Council, University of Delhi,

Email:  abha_dev@yahoo.com  Phone: 9818383074

 

The Central Universities were established with the goal of providing quality education to the masses of India. Delhi University is the largest Central University in India, catering to about 2 lakhs students of regular stream, and about 2 lakhs belonging to correspondence stream. It has a unique federal structure with about 80 colleges in which undergraduate instruction is imparted, and over 90 postgraduate departments. Over almost 90 years DU has evolved organically to cater to the needs of Indian society.

Ever since its inception in 1922, this unique structure has fostered a dynamic academic relationship between colleges and postgraduate faculty. Common syllabi, examinations, and selection processes of teachers, ensures a minimum academic standard across the colleges spread over a large geographical region including some in rural areas such as Bawana and Kair. This enables a large number of students coming from diverse socio-economic and educational backgrounds to gain access to quality higher education at a reasonable fee.

With the recent implementation of reservation of 27% of seats for OBC category, in addition to the existing 22.5% for SC/ST category and 3% for physically challenged category, this access became a powerful tool for social and educational empowerment, as envisaged by the educational commissions under Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (1948-49) and Dr. D.S. Kothari (1964-66). (more…)

UPA’s Agenda of Academic Reforms

August 13, 2012

Facilitating Trade in Higher Education

Vijender Sharma

(This paper  is updated as on 12 August 2012 and is a revised version of the paper published in the special issue on education of Social Scientist, Vol. 38, No. 9-12, Sept–Dec. 2010.)

The corporate sector discovered a huge and ever growing service industry in education. Global public spending on education in the beginning of this century was estimated to exceed one trillion US dollars, that is about fifty five lakh crore rupees. In this industry with huge global market students, teachers, and non-teaching employees constitute resources for profit-making. Here, the students are consumers, teachers are service providers and expert speakers, and the institutions or companies catering to education services are organisers, and the teaching-learning process is no longer for the building of a nation but a business for profit-making.

Predatory and powerful transnational corporations have been targeting public education, particularly higher education, for profit-making. Though predominantly a government supported service, most governments are, as a consequence of neo-liberal economic reforms, withdrawing from it. The government of India through extensive privatisation, commercialisation and deregulation has been encouraging this process.

The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed world over large-scale and bitter protests from the students, teachers and people at large against the privatisation and commercialisation of higher education and bringing higher education sector under General Agreements on Trade in Services (GATS) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) by their governments. The idea behind WTO-GATS has been the creation of an open, global marketplace where services, like education, can be traded to the highest bidder1. (more…)

THE HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH BILL, 2011

July 16, 2012

Towards Complete Control over Higher Education

 Vijender Sharma

THE central government had constituted a task force on September 7, 2009 with joint secretary (higher education) as its convener to advise the central government for the establishment of a commission for higher education and research as recommended by the Yashpal committee and National Knowledge Commission. On the first of February 2010, the Ministry Of Human Resource Development (MHRD) uploaded on its website the draft of National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill 2010, as approved by the task force and sought “feedback and suggestions from all stakeholders.”

AWAY FROM AUTONOMY, ON TO CENTRALISATION

It received strong criticism and opposition from students, academia, people’s representatives and several states. It was further revised within three months and re-titled as Higher Education and Research (HER) Bill 2010, and this draft bill was circulated selectively for seeking opinion. The second revised draft bill also met with strong opposition because the main issues of concern remained in the new HER Bill as well. It was re-modified as The Higher Education and Research (THER) Bill 2011 and was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 28, 2011 by the minister of human resource development. It has been referred to department related standing committee on human resource development. (more…)

A Decade of Aggressive Commodification of Higher Education in India

October 9, 2011

No Balance Between Access, Equity and Quality

Vijender Sharma

Twenty-first century witnessed unprecedented demand for higher education in India: general as well as professional. Instead of meeting this demand and ensuring further growth of the country, the successive central governments, since 1990s – the beginning of the era of globalization, liberalization and privatization, started withdrawal from higher education. There are several reasons responsible for it which includes socio-economic policies adopted by the successive central governments, particularly since mid-eighties, the ideological commitments of the ruling classes, role of the judiciary, and vested interests of the business houses.

Since the beginning of this century, the country has witnessed three governments – led by NDA, UPA-1 and UPA-2. The neo-liberal policies adopted by these governments posed new challenges, economic, social, political and cultural, at a time when more and more private institutions of higher education are being established. Such challenges include issues of access, equity, funding, quality, cultural diversity, poverty and sustainable development. Recent policy decisions taken by the UPA-2 government in view of the recommendations of the CABE Committees, National Knowledge Commission and Yashpal Committee will also severely affect access and equity and put the issue of social justice in higher education in jeopardy. The policy decisions of these governments have led to aggressive commodification of higher education in the country. (more…)

SAVE AND STRENGTHEN PUBLIC EDUCATION

November 21, 2010

Forward to December 2 ‘March to Parliament’

Vijender Sharma

THE Congress-led UPA government came into power in 2004 with outside support of the Left parties. It strived to continue the drive of centralisation, privatisation and commercialisation of higher education launched by the previous NDA government. A large number of private institutions were given deemed university status. It had to withdraw Foreign Educational Institutions Bill in May 2007 due to the strong opposition of CPI(M). Under the pressure of the Left parties, it had to abandon the Model Act for all universities. It also could not bring an enabling framework common to the entire system of education.

 INITIATIVE UNDER GATS

The UPA government gave initial offers in August 2005 to WTO under GATS which was protested by all stakeholders. However, the commerce ministry circulated in 2006 a consultation paper on trade in education services. Titled “Higher Education in India and GATS: An Opportunity,” it was in preparation for the then ongoing services negotiations at the WTO.

The commerce ministry recommended “services negotiations (in WTO) could be used as an opportunity to invite foreign universities to set up campuses in India, thereby saving billions of dollars for the students travelling abroad.” Therefore, the consultation paper recommended striking “a balance” between “domestic regulation and providing adequate flexibility to such universities in setting syllabus, hiring teachers, screening students and setting fee levels”. (more…)

Commercialisation Galore: Looting students, exploiting teachers

February 22, 2010

Vijender Sharma

THE union ministry for human resource development informed the Supreme Court on 18 January this year that of the 126 deemed universities 44 do not deserve their deemed university status because of their abysmal infrastructural facilities. Many of these deemed universities were created in violation of all norms by the UPA government itself favouring private managements. One of the derecognised deemed university was even allowed to open its offshore campus in Thailand.

While pacifying the panicky students that not a single student would be adversely affected, the HRD minister Kapil Sibal indicated that the provision of granting deemed university status might be done away with. He said that it was a “policy decision that all the deemed universities will finally go”. The PN Tandon Review Committee had stated that these institutions could be re-designated as affiliated colleges of the concerned state universities.

On 10 February, while addressing a programme organised by FICCI Ladies Organisation, Kapil Sibal said that government will never allow profiteering in education that would go as dividends to the share holders. “Let us be clear that Indian businessmen, who probably because of meltdown do not get profit anywhere, want to get profit out of education. I, as a minister, will stand as a rock to ensure it does not happen,” he said.

It appeared that for a change the minister spoke sense. But quite soon on 19 February, he told private school principals in New Delhi that they were free to decide fees and teachers’ salaries. This statement clarified that what the minister told FICCI Ladies Organisation about a week earlier was false. The real agenda of his ministry, as briefed below, is to make education as a profit-making business. (more…)

On Draft NCHER Bill, 2010: Academia, Legislatures Need Not Think but Follow New Commission’s Dictates

February 7, 2010

Vijender Sharma

THE central government constituted a task force on September 7, 2009, with joint secretary (higher Education) as its convener, to aid and advise the central government in the establishment of a commission for higher education and research as recommended by the Yashpal committee and National Knowledge Commission. On first of February, the ministry of human resource development uploaded on its website (http://www.education.nic.in/) the draft of National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) Bill, 2010 as approved by the task force and sought “feedback and suggestions from all stakeholders”.

As one reads this draft bill, one finds that this is not to “promote” but undermine “the autonomy of higher educational institutions”. This is to restructure higher education system for “competitive global environment” and not for catering to the aspirations of our youth. This is not for helping state governments to strengthen higher education but to snatch away from them even whatever their powers were left after education was included in the concurrent list of the constitution of India during infamous Emergency. This is a bill to create an all powerful commission for the centralisation of all aspects related to higher education. This is a bill to undermine the powers of the parliament, state legislatures and representatives of the people at large to opine and decide the education policy and administration of institutions of higher education in India. (more…)


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