People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 26

June 27, 2010




DMK Govt Makes Mockery of Right to Education


S P Rajendran


THE trillion dollar business, which education is, is now touching its peak in Tamilnadu, where the DMK, a constituent of the UPA government that claims credit for the Right to Education Act, is in power.


Though the DMK always talk of regulation of private educational institutions, it has been acting as an instrument of the LPG regime in the state. It was a DMK government that initiated the process of privatisation of education in the state. It permitted the private and self-financing ITIs, polytechnics, arts, science, engineering, medical and paramedical colleges.


Now, under its benign rule, big business people, regional business elite, dominant caste leaders and even anti-social elements have become the ‘custodians’ of education. In the DMK ministry led by Kalaignar M Karunanidhi, all ministers have their own educational institutions, except the minister for school education.


There have been many commissions, litigations and student struggles for regulation of the private and self-financing institutions and their fee structures. But the agony of students and parents continues.


In the state, there are only 2320 government higher secondary schools and 2860 government high schools. But in private hands there are 10,934 higher secondary and high schools. These include nearly 6500 private and self-financing metric schools with about 6.17 lakh students.


While the number of government schools remains unchanged, that of the self-financing schools is going up every year.


The government, which is implementing a ‘free TV’ project, has no will to open new schools. Thus the market is kept open for private players who are playing with the future of children. Year by year they raise the fees without any control from the government side.


Some time back the state government formed yet another commission under Justice Govindarajan to recommend a common fee structure for the private, self-financing schools. The commission submitted its recommendations to the state government on May 7, saying that private and self-financing schools could collect Rs 5000 for primary education, Rs 8000 for middle education, Rs 9000 for high school education and Rs 11000 for higher secondary students as yearly tuition fee, apart from other fees like the hostel fee, transport charges etc.


Compared with the existing fee structure, these recommended fees are very high. The CPI(M), SFI, DYFI, teachers’ organisations and academicians have sharply criticised these suggestions.


Traders of education have also opposed these recommendations but from a different angle, saying the suggested fees were very low. They demanded a raise in the fee levels and openly challenged the government that they have the right to determine the fee structure on their own and that the government could not intervene.


The CPI(M) state committee has vehemently condemned the attitude of the private schools as well as the state government. Its secretary, G Ramakrishnan, has asked the government not to entertain the private schools’ proposals. He charged that private managements have already started looting the students and parents.


To press this demand, to expose the DMK government’s mockery of the right to education and to oppose the UPA government’s destructive policies on education of, the CPI(M) decided to organise a 'Save Education Conference' at Chennai on June 27, where Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury would be the main speaker.


Meanwhile, the SFI and DYFI organised statewide demonstrations and dharnas on this issues. At several places, SFI cadres opened “report centres” to have a watch on the private schools.




During the run-up to the World Classical Tamil Conference, which is currently under way, one of the demands the Tamilnadu state committee of the CPI(M) had put forward was that the DMK government must to evolve concrete measures, including a policy decision to give priority in employment to those who have studied through the Tamil medium.


In a statement, the party's state secretary G Ramakrishnan said Tamils had in the past witnessed a number of conferences and festivals in the name of language. What is required today is a constructive action plan. “It should break all hurdles in the path of development of the language.”


The CPI(M) said the conference must insist that all the 22 languages listed in the eighth schedule of the constitution of India be made official languages of the central government.


“Steps should be taken to ensure that members of parliament and ministers from the state speak in Tamil. Efforts should also be taken to translate their speech for others. It is quite possible in the era of science,” Ramakrishnan said.


Pointing out that professional education in mother tongue is necessary for the development of languages, he said medical education through Tamil medium must also start on the lines of engineering courses.


He also urged the state government to bring out cheaper editions of Tamil classics.


The Tamil conference began at Coimbatore on June 23, organised at the expenses of nearly Rs 400 crore.




CPI(M) Central Committee member Subashini Ali has stressed the need for eradicating the evil of dowry from the society.


Addressing a special anti-dowry conference at Nagarcoil, the headquarters of Kanyakumari district, on June 20, she said the government must come forward to strictly enforce the anti-dowry law for the benefit of unmarried women from the weaker sections.


The government must appoint adequate officials and give them powers to enforce the anti-dowry provisions strictly. All marriages irrespective of caste and religion must be properly registered. The expenses incurred in connection with a marriage must be shared by the parents of bride and bridegroom, so that unnecessary quarrels do not erupt in future, she said.


Various social and non-governmental organisations must come forward to create awareness among the people about equality. Now women are performing in all fields on par with men. Subashini Ali urged Indian women to come forward to conduct a series of agitations against the dowry system and also against globalisation and liberalisation policies which are leading to luxurious marriages and thus strengthening the dowry system.


CPI(M) Central Committee member U Vasuki, state secretariat member S Noor Mohammed, Kovilpatti municipality chairperson R Mallika, CPI(M) MLA Leema Rose, district secretaries N Murugesan, V Palani, K Kanagaraj, S Balasubramaniyan and state committee members P Suganthi and R Karumalayan also addressed the conference.


Hundreds of women participated from the southern districts of Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi, Thirunelveli and Virudhunagar.


Later, Subashini Ali addressed a huge public meeting at Nagarcoil.




CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan has asked the state government to lower the fees in schools for the benefit of poor students. In a statement he said the government must not wash its hands off by making the Justice Govindarajan committee solely responsible for fixing school fees, as there was apprehension that the committee could raise the fee after schools open for the new academic year.


Pointing out that the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court had rejected the demand of the schools to raise the fees, Ramakrishnan said people had taken to the streets in protest as many schools were charging exorbitant fees. He asked the government not to succumb to the pressure from private managements to reconsider the fee structure as lakhs of students would be affected.




Hannan Mollah, vice president of the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), has asked the centre to enhance the number of working days under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to 150 days from 100 days.


Talking to press persons at Dindigul on June 20, he said lakhs of farm workers are suffering in the country. They did not have proper houses, water and electricity facilities. Even 64 years after Independence, there is no act to protect their interests. With no jobs, they have been migrating from one district or one state to another for survival. Condition of women farm workers is the worst. Equal wage for equal work is still a distant dream, he added.


Several farm workers registered under NREGA did not get even minimum wages to feed their families. Breaking all guidelines, contractors were deployed and machines used for implementing various works under the scheme. Tamilnadu was no exception to it, Mollah alleged. The Tamilnadu government miserably failed to execute the two-acre scheme for farm workers. Lands offered to Dalit workers were either encroached upon or under the control of the upper caste people, he alleged.


Later he addressed special campaign meetings at Dindigul, Cumbum and Theni to explain the features of the AIAWU’s national conference, which is going to be held at Thiruchi next month.


The preparative works for the conference including fund collection are in full swing.


CPI(M) Central Committee member N Varadharajan and other state leaders also addressed these meetings.




Textile workers affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) have asked the central government to impose a ban on the online trading of cotton and thus bring down the yarn prices in domestic market. To highlight the demand, they staged a demonstration in front of the Textile Corporation office of Thirupur, the city of garments, on June 14.


Steep rise in cotton yarn prices over the last eight months has plunged the textile industry into despair. The uncontrolled rise of yarn prices has already made the apparels produced in the Tirupur knitwear cluster costlier than ever before. So, if the situation continues, it will affect the competitiveness of the cluster in the global market, they pointed out.


The CITU union fears that any further reduction in the share of Tirupur-made products in the US and European markets would have a cascading effect on the livelihood of lakhs of workers dependent on this cluster.