Local forum focuses on 'Higher Education Under Attack'

Local forum focuses on 'Higher Education Under Attack'

JNU professor discusses commodification of higher studies

Prof Prabhat Patnaik speaks at the event. Source: Facebook/Bengaluru Collective.

The commodification of higher education in India is moving at a faster rate than liberalised economies like the US, according to Prabhat Patnaik, Professor Emeritus, Jawaharlal Nehru University. He inaugurated a seminar on 'Higher Education Under Attack' organised by the Bengaluru Collective.

"Two specific tendencies in higher education today are the commodification of educational establishments and the political intervention... commoditisation of education means the end product of the education will have only an exchange value, where intellectual excellence, questioning and critical thinking are destroyed," said Patnaik, who cautioned people about the loss of social responsibility due to the "marketisation of education".

"The (draft) Higher Education Council of India Bill denies the social role of education," he said. "It will ensure the reduction in the number of academics and scholars from marginalised backgrounds and communities."

"The underfunding of state-run universities has weakened higher education in the country for a long time. Furthermore, political intervention in educational spaces is being used to push an ideology - the ideology of Hindutva," Patnaik stated.

The seminar had two sessions that were attended by Sabyasachi Chatterjee, former Indian Institute of Astrophysics head and the All India People Science Network President; Babu Mathew, Professor, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru; Sarbari Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor, Bengaluru University; Prajwal Shastri, Professor, IIA; R Ramkumar, Professor, TISS; B U Suma, Associate Professor, Govt I Grade College, Nelamangala; Muzaffar Assadi, Special Officer, Raichur University; Gururaj Desai, V P Niranjanaradhya and K Prakash.

The Bengaluru Collective is a public forum of Bengaluru residents that come together to "uphold constitutional rights as citizens of a democratic, pluralistic and inclusive society".