(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 04, 2010
FOREIGN EDUCATION PROVIDERS BILL
UPA Intensifies Attacks on Education
HAVING tasted electoral victory for once, the Congress party, the leader of the coalition ruling the centre, has stepped up its neo-liberal onslaughts on the people with a vengeance. The sector of education is no exception to the virulent policy regime the UPA 2 is seeking to foist upon the country since the last Lok Sabha elections. The lawyer turned HRD minister Kapil Sibal is now in charge of implementation of the UPA government’s evil neo-liberal designs in the field of education. With the Foreign Education Providers Bill, all set to be introduced in the parliament in the coming days, higher education in this country is going to be further entrapped in the web of money minting institutions with the backing of indulgent governments.
As the cabinet has already given its nod to this bill, the government may introduce it in the ongoing session itself. It needs to be kept in mind that this is not the first attempt to introduce this bill. During the UPA 1 regime, its ministers had already burnt much of their midnight oil to get it introduced in the last Lok Sabha. Their planning was to introduce the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operation, Maintenance of Quality and Prevention of Commercialisation) Bill 2007 in Rajya Sabha in the first week of May 2007. But strong opposition from the Left parties and the democratic movement stalled any such move.
However, now that the strength of the Left has come down in parliament, the Congress-led UPA appears to think that now it has a golden opportunity to pass this bill and thus open the gates of Indian education wide for the plunderers.
Corporate media and the chest-thumping neo-liberal ‘think-tanks’ have once again openly come out in support of the government’s move, propagating that it would be in everyone’s interest if the bill gets passed. One would really like to know from these people whether those 77 per cent of the people of this great country, who can earn a measly 20 rupees a day on all their needs, would be counted in that ‘everyone’ or not.
Among other things, the following have been the arguments of the bill’s supporters.
1) Foreign institutes
would invest in the country’s education sector and thus the higher
sector would get expanded in
2) Indian students will be able to get quality education at cheaper rates, and that too in their own country.
3) With competition increasing, the overall level and quality of education would improve.
in countries like the
considerable section of Indian students go abroad to get foreign
degrees. Now, as
they would have comparable institutes in
As this is an issue which is going to affect each of us, we must carefully examine each of these arguments.
argument of the preachers of neo-liberal dogma is that the education
would expand with the entry of foreign institutes, followed by
its quality as well. Such an argument is infantile for the simple
reason that today
private institutes account for one thirds of the higher education
sector of our
country, and yet there seems to be not much increase in enrolment and
improvement in quality. Apart from that, we must not forget the
counter-argument which institutes like the IIPM have advanced to the
move towards rejecting their sub-standard MBA courses. They have
claimed that they are
outside the university system of the country and hence it is not
them to follow the UGC guidelines. If the private institutes of
country show such arrogance, one can well imagine what extent their
counterparts are likely to go to, in order to pursue their more
agenda. We all know how private institutions in the
has a definite role in nation-building. Especially in countries like
which has a colonial past, this role assumes even more critical
People of different nationalities and identities fought together in the
liberation struggle and it was while keeping this legacy in view that
CLAIM & REALITY
government has been arguing that the proposed bill would bring foreign
education providers of quality to
argument that has been doing the rounds is that every year up to
students go abroad for higher education and this leads to a huge loss
foreign exchange to the country. The claim is thus that with foreign
Here, one can’t help ask the UPA 2: Is the passage of the bill going to stop the students from going abroad? Certainly not! Those who want to go abroad, will go in any case. The government cannot solve the problems facing our education sector by giving the private Indian and foreign players a free run. What is, instead, required is a significant increase in the government’s spending on education. It is a different matter though that the government has been comfortably neglecting this aspect time and again.
MERRY GAME OF
understand that these policy changes are a part of the much bigger
shift in the
power game in the country over the last one year. In fact, the big
of the country and imperialists could not have even imagined a merrier
this one, nor could they have a better ally than the Congress-led UPA
to exemplify the situation, the hurry to push the Civil Nuclear
Liability Bill is
nothing but a hidden subsidy to the
is a blackboard or the nuclear plant, the UPA’s priorities are crystal
Education has not been exempted from the government’s withdrawal from
social sector. The state has is gradually giving up whatever little
role it has been playing and is now nakedly facilitating private
Can the students community allow the commoditisation of their knowledge and consequently of themselves? The role the student movement played before 1947 in cooperation with other classes and sections against British imperialism, needs a revival on a higher level --- so as to take on the dastardly ways of imperialism. It is high time to rise up, for nothing less than our hard won freedom is at stake.