People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 20, 2008
60% Marks Criterion For SC/ST Scholarships: SFI Calls For Nationwide Protest On Jan 23
THE Central Executive Committee of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) opposes the decision of the government to grant SC/ST scholarships to only those students who secure 60 percent of marks. SFI calls upon all the students to oppose this move and voice their protest on January 23, 2008. The central government issued this circular to honour its commitments under General Agreement in Trade in Services (GATS) and please the imperialist forces.
SFI demands the central government to provide scholarships to all the eligible SC/ST students irrespective of the marks they have secured. Most of the students from these sections are studying in government institutions and it is precisely these institutions that are worst hit by the government policies. The failure of the government to provide necessary funds to the government institutions is depriving these institutions from providing the students enrolled in these institutions with quality education. Absence of teachers, failure of the administration to ensure that teachers take classes regularly in schools predominant with SC/ST students in some areas, absence of teaching aids, books, laboratories and libraries are all the reasons for the low marks that the students studying in these institutions secure. So it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the presence of proper academic atmosphere in government institutions for the students coming from the most backward sections of the society. Instead of taking up this responsibility the government is now trying to punish the students for its failure.
The government and the prime minister have stated many times that the government will provide scholarships to all the needy and ensure that education is accessible to all. But the present order of the government is contradictory to this promise. The government had agreed to phase out all the subsidies provided to students in Indian education institutions and ensure a ‘level playing field’ to the foreign institutions as per its commitment made in the GATS and WTO. It is only to fulfill this promise that the government is starting with a slow reduction in the number of scholarships and ultimately do away with them. The move of the government once again shows that it is eager to honour its commitments made to imperialist agencies than honour its commitments made to its own people.
SFI opposes the imperialist intervention in our education system and also the entry of foreign players in our education system. It calls upon all its units to protest this anti-student move of the government on January 23, 2008. It demands the government to immediately withdraw this official order.