Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Observe 1st April 2010 as a Black Day

Observe 1st April 2010 as a Black Day Against the Operationalization of the Right to Education Bill and Moves to Implement the Foreign Universities Bill!

Struggle Against the UPA's moves to Commercialize and Corporatize Education!

A well-known poem by Rabindranath Tagore spoke of a country "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high/ Where knowledge is free…" These words ring hollow when we consider the education policy that is being implemented in India today.

On 1st April, the Right to Education Bill will become a law. In its true sense, a genuine 'Right to Education' should mean that all children upto the age of 14 are entitled to nutrition, healthcare, safety, and education of an equitable standard free of cost. But the RTE in its present form is a farce in the name of providing genuine education: it makes only the hollow promise that 25% seats in private schools will be reserved for poor students and the government will supposedly contribute to paying their fees.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill 2010 has been cleared by the Cabinet. This is a bill with dangerous implications, for it will pave the way for virtually unrestricted entry of foreign private players in higher education, without any controls. Worse still, reservations for SC, ST, and OBC students will not be implemented in these foreign universities. The UPA is in a great hurry to get this bill ratified. It is said to be one of the first files Kapil Sibal requested upon assuming charge in the MHRD.

Both these bills seek to absolve the government of all its responsibilities towards providing affordable, quality education to the citizens of this country. They seek to hasten the neo-liberal agenda of making education a commodity rather than a fundamental right. The corporate media is hailing Kapil Sibal policies with the claim that what Manmohan Singh did to the Indian economy, by instituting the policies of liberalization and globalization, Kapil Sibal is now doing to education by following the dictats of the World Bank and the IMF. These moves do little to improve the accessibility and quality of education available to people in our country, but instead these policies cater to the upper middle class and elite constituency as if they alone have the right to education.

So long as the present neo-liberal regime continues, so long as education is made into a commodity and universities into shops for selling education, the genuine right to education will remain a distant dream for students in this country. On 1st April 2010, the day the Right to Education Bill becomes a law will mark a low-point in the education policy of our country. AISA has decided to observe this day as a 'Black Day' against the Implementation of the RTE and the Cabinet Approval granted to the Foreign Universities Bill. Protest action will be held by all units of AISA in various state capitals and campuses. We call upon all progressive sections of the students and youth to join us in this protest!

From “KG to PG”: Resist Sibal’s Commercialization Drive!

Scrap UPA’s Farcical Right to Education Act 2009! Reject the Foreign Universities Bill!

Demand Free and Quality Education for all!

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