Skip to main content

Higher education quality turning poor because Modi govt "undermining" existing institutes: IIT-B students

By Our Representative
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay's (IIT-B's) 56th convocation ceremony, admitted  that India's engineering institutes were incapable of providing quality education of the type provided by IIT, insisting that many of the 700,000 students engineering graduates “are not equipped with the skills for solving real problems”, a scathing statement by IIT-B students has wondered what were the contributions of his government towards providing quality education.
Written anonymously and sent to India's media outfits with the clarification that it was not handed over to either Modi or the IIT-B administration, the statement, pointing towards “poor public expenditure in higher education”, said, “Expenditure of the Indian government in education is abysmally low, and it is almost negligible in higher education, compared to many other countries.”
Even as providing data from the "Economic and Political Weekly", quoting top academic Prof Amitabh Kundu, it added, “Budgetary expenditure in higher education is in a steep decline for the last few years as more and more private universities are coming up and public universities are compelled to hike their fees, leading a large number of students to difficulties and forcing many out of higher education.”
“This ever declining public expenditure in education is making us question the higher education policy of the ruling government”, the statement said, adding, it makes one wonder, whether the Modi government “wants higher education for all, or whether he is promoting the Brahmanical idea of education only for a few people, belonging to upper caste and upper class backgrounds.”
Indirectly answering Modi, who announced a Rs 1,000 crore grant to IITs, the statement noted why technical institutes' quality of education of education is poor, saying, “Out of this limited education budget, the share of the IITs alone is more than half.” At the same, it sharply criticized the Modi government for scrapping fellowships given by Central universities, especially to SC, ST and OBC students.
The statement further said, with the Government of India about to implement the General Financial Rules (GFR) of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) for Central universities, “a substantial expenditure of the central universities has to be raised from the fees paid by the students.”
Noting that this will automatically lead to fee hike, the statement, telling Modi that he had no right to address the IIT-B convocation, asked, “Is it wrong for us to question, what happens to the state universities? Is it wrong to think this to be an attack on the entire academic community of the country in general?”
Pointing out that the IIT-B has already complied with GFR and recently a massive fee hike was announced, the statement said, “This is true in every other institutions despite how privileged they are. Shouldn’t we ask here what happens to the students who are not able to meet this increased financial burden of higher education without economic assistance from the state? Why shouldn’t we ask that this abysmally low budget in public education be raised immediately, and education be made inclusive?”
Further pointing towards the Higher Education Committee of India (HECI) Bill, which is proposed to replace the UGC, the statement said, “Since the power to control funds will remain with the MHRD under the new act and HECI will have the power to punish or even shut down any institution which will not meet its guidelines,as researchers and students we suspect this to be an attack on the autonomy of the universities.”

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…