People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 05, 2010

 Huge March to Parliament Raises Educational Issues


THOUSANDS of people comprising of students, teachers, non-teaching employees and officers of schools, colleges and universities, youth, parents and activists of people’s science movements marched from Ramlila Maidan to Parliament Street in a rally raising issues related to education on December 2, 2010.


This rally was held after a national convention held on August 13 formed a national forum in defense of education in Delhi. 


The rally raised slogans criticising the anti-people policies of UPA II government and its neo-liberal ‘reform’ agenda in the field of education and resolved to force the central government to accept the demands.

The rally was addressed by a large number of leaders of the participating organisations and leaders and MPs of Left parties.


James Williams, president of the AIFUCTO was the president of the presidium. The rally was addressed by Ashok Burman; general secretary AIFUCTO, Ritabrata Banerjee; general Secretary SFI; Basudev Acharya; MP CPI (M), Abani Roy; MP RSP; D Raja; MP CPI, Barun Mukherjee; MP FB, Rajendran; general secretary STFI, Amresh Kumar; general secretary AISB, Sunny Kutty; general secretary RYF, Tapas Sinha; general secretary DYFI, Sohan Das; BGVS, Mukesh Kumar; AIUEC and Vishnu; PSU.


A number of MPs also attended the rally including P K Biju, president SFI, P Karunakaran, M B Rajesh, K N Balagopal, Saidul Haq, Shakti Mohan Malik.


The speakers focused on the policies of the central government aimed at pushing centralisation, privatisation and commercialisation of the education sector in the country which would undermine the goal of expansion, excellence and equity in education. They said the goal of expansion, excellence and equity can only be achieved through increased public spending based on a democratic education policy.


The speakers also attacked the government over the issue of corruption and said the amount of money involved is much more than what was required to meet the needs of providing equitable and quality education in the country. They warned the government against ignoring the demands being made failing which the struggle would be intensified in the coming days.


Charter of Demands


·        Allocate 6 per cent of GDP for education as committed in the CMP of the UPA-1 government.   

·        Include pre-primary to senior secondary education under the purview of the Right to Education. The central government should bear all the expenditure for implementing the Right to Education. Increase the number of schools along with strong social monitoring mechanism involving local stake holders. Delete the provision, Section 35 of the Act, requiring prior permission for any prosecution. The 86th constitutional amendment (2002) should be revisited to make the right to education inclusive of common school and neighborhood school.

·        Recruit quality teachers on a permanent basis. Remove the freeze on appointments and cuts in teaching and non-teaching positions. The para-teachers/ contract teachers  and employees should be absorbed on permanent basis.

·        Oppose handing over of public educational institutions’ infrastructure and management to the private sector in the name of public private partnerships.

·        Reject fee hike. Fully subsidise students from economically backward and disadvantaged backgrounds.

·        Enact a central legislation to bring all private self-financing institutions under strict social control.     

·        Implement constitutionally mandated SC/ST/OBC reservations in all educational institutions.

·        Fight all attempts to undermine the democratic control of the parliament, state assemblies and statutory structures of universities and colleges (including through instruments like NCHER). Fight against centralisation of education.

·        Oppose FDI in education.

·        Scrap the FEI bill and amend the other recently introduced bills to make them democratic.

·        Scrap private universities and deemed university status to private institutions.

·        Stop bringing education under GATS (WTO).

·        Use information technology for distance education to provide universal lifelong quality education. Do not commercialise distance education.

·        Undertake assessment for improvement not accreditation or funding. Evolve a democratic and transparent mechanism for assessment.

·        Uphold democratic rights in the sphere of education. Hold elections for students’ unions, teaching and non-teaching associations. Provide elected representation in all decision making bodies.