Experts denounce govt 'meddling' in affairs of educational institutions

Experts denounce govt 'meddling' in affairs of educational institutions

Participants at a seminar organised by the All India Save Education Committee (AIS­EC) denounced what they called attempts by governments to interfere in educational institutions’ affairs. 

Speaking at the “Save University, Save Democracy” seminar attended by a number of academicians, education experts, authors and students, Prof JS Patil, former vice-chancellor of Karnataka Law University shared his experiences as a MPhil student at JNU. He said, “I stand witness to the free atmosphere of ideological debates and student movements in JNU. Lecturers and students cherish an atmosphere of freedom of thought and speech. We should resist the destruction of democratic atmosphere in JNU, other central universities and condemn the authoritarian interference of the government in the internal affairs of universities.” 

He said VCs were being appointed by corrupt means, endangering democracy. “Such being the case, how can we expect that universities to uphold the aspirations of free education, democratic education, and quality of education? The senate, syndicate and academic council were in place to protect the democratic functioning of universities, but in 2000, with a change in bill, the senate was dissolved and the syndicate and academic councils were left powerless, thus officially killing the democratic atmosphere within universities,” he said.  Highlighting the “deplorable” condition of state universities, he said that only 3 to 4% of the state budget was for state universities and they are heavily dependent on state government for funds. Central universities, autonomous and private universities on the other hand are havens for the moneyed few, he said.

Author Shashi Deshpande highlighted the importance of students having a right to an ideology of their own. “The purpose of education is to create a student who can think on his own. There can be no human progress without disagreement and dissent. Hence that freedom cannot be sacrificed. We want men and women who can think, not mediocre yes men. To rebel is a part of being young. The rebels of today are the material with which the nation will be built,” she said.
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