“Education is becoming a tool to create an unjust society”
The 14 All India conference of the Students Federation of India (SFI) has given a clarion call to the people to wage a battle against commercialisation of education and prevent plundering of education sector by corporate players and businessmen. Opposing centralisation of education tooth and nail, the SFI national meet appealed to people of all walks of life to resist commercialisation and fight for democratic rights blended with equitable access for all sections of society.
Initiating a discussion on this issue, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, MP and former president of SFI, condemned the trend of how education was becoming more of a privilege.
“Today, education is becoming a tool to create an unjust society. It has become a tool to create two Indias in one country. Your slogan of ‘Independence, Democracy and Socialism’ is connected to the future of India and your struggles are linked to the future of this country,” he said while addressing the delegates on Thursday.
Stressing the need for waging an ideological battle against commercialisation and privatisation of education, Mr. Yechury said that it was time for the liberation of India from exploitation.
“SFI is known for its innumerable number of sacrifices of its members. Jobs for all and education for all is the slogan and socialism is the ultimate answer for human liberation,” he said. The CPI(M) leader urged the students to be conscious of country’s realities and bear in mind that only 15 per cent of eligible students were reaching higher education.
In an open session organised by the SFI at Sellur, N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, expressed concern that education had become completely commercialised and it had become like a business.
“Top corporate houses and industrialists are giving concept papers to Government and they are being implemented. It is all the more worse with medical colleges, where getting a medical seat runs into lakhs. On the one side, we have shortage of doctors whereas on the other side an artificial shortage of medical seats is being created,” he also observed.
Mr. Ram said that higher education must be affordable for ordinary people and hyper commercialisation must come to an end. Calling for good social control over whole education system, he said that reservation was very important to give equality of opportunity for all. “SFI has been waging heroic battles on crucial issues and a bitter battle has to be fought if we are to win the goals,” he added.
M.A. Baby, former Education Minister of Kerala, who spoke in Malayalam, said that education must be liberated from the clutches of ‘tuition culture’ and plundering should be stopped. K. Balakrishnan, MLA, and various SFI leaders were among those who participated.