Accusing the government of fusing “neo-liberalism” and “Hindutva” in education, the CPI(M) today called upon students, teachers and people in general to oppose the Centre’s education policies. In an editorial in the latest edition of party organ ‘Peoples’ Democracy’, former general secretary Prakash Karat said various steps taken by the government, including the legislation being brought forth to abolish the University Grants Commission (UGC) and set up a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), has brought into sharp focus the “assault” taking place on education.
“What is emerging is a toxic fusion of neo-liberalism and Hindutva in education. For students, the prospects are of escalating fees and inaccessibility of entry into institutions of higher education and a general deterioration in the standards of public school education.
“The resistance to the twin onslaught on education is growing. It is necessary to mobilise students, teachers and all concerned citizens to unitedly oppose the Modi government’s retrograde educational policies,” Karat has said.
The Left leader has alleged that the HECI would be a government nominated body with “inconsequential representation of academics”.
“There will be an advisory council, with the HRD minister as the chairperson, which will guide the HECI to ensure direct control of the government over the new body and through it, higher education,” he said
By stating that while the drive for privatisation of education and corporatisation of higher education was being sped up, Karat has said public-funded education was being “curtailed and downgraded”.
He has alleged that there was a concerted effort to introduce the Hindutva agenda and ideology in higher educational institutions even if this involved using “coercion and repression” to bring recalcitrant institutions, teachers and students in line.
Karat has also accused the government of appointing “RSS men” as vice chancellors of universities with the sole qualification being “loyalty” to the Sangh.