FDI in higher education opposed

Neoliberal ethos in education is detrimental to poor people, Teltumbde

FDI in higher education opposed

The governments decision to free Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into education sector, pending some bills, portends worsening of affairs in higher education of the country, said Anand Teltumbde, professor at Indian Institute of Technology, here on Saturday.

He was delivering the convocation address during the 14th annual convocation of Karnataka State Open University.

“During last two decades, there has been distinct tendency towards privatisation and commercialisation of higher education. It has been drummed into people that private institutes are better run and they provide quality education. It is a pure lie,” he said. The neoliberal ethos has entered the education system in a big way, which is detrimental to poor people of lower social strata, he said.

Mere numbers

He said that India has only expanded the number of varsities, only to “improve statistics”. “But while improving the numbers, we have been unmindful of the quality. The education system suffers from multiple ills. The entire rural area is cut off from quality education,” he said.

Today, it is theoretically impossible for a boy or girl from villages, where still nearly 70 per cent of the people live, to come out of the village and reach a reputed institution of higher education. “All talk of reservation etc., has become meaningless, as they have become a monopoly of the urban beneficiary class, leaving nothing for the real beneficiaries from rural areas,” he said.

Right to Education

Criticising the Right to Education Act, he said that Act has effectively legitimised the multi-layered education system that had emerged in the country in the past few decades. “It provided that the child will get education as per his parents’ caste and class, not much different from Manu’s dictum,” he said.

It should be the duty of the State to ensure that no child carries the imprint of their parents’ poverty and is naturally equal when it enters the world. If a child is provided with quality education, much of the burden of vexatious inequality on account of caste and class would be taken care of, he added.

Making a comparison between India and China, he said that the ruling class in China was “critically sensitive” to its people, resulting in the country’s development. “Paradoxically, the ruling class in India has mastered, in the name of democracy, the strategy of hoodwinking people with populist policies,” he said.

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