Date: Saturday, January 7, 2023
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes the move of the UGC to facilitate foreign universities and educational institutions to set up campuses in India allowing them autonomy in determining fees and recruitment of teachers after a 90-day approval process. This will lead to creating enclaves of high fees, elitist institutions which will further distort the structure of higher education in the country.
The operational details of setting up such campuses provide that they can evolve their own admission process and criteria to admit domestic and foreign students. It will also have autonomy to decide its fee structure, and will face no caps that are imposed on Indian institutions.
Foreign higher education institutions will also be allowed cross-border movement of funds and maintenance of Foreign Currency Accounts, mode of payments, remittance and repatriation.
It is crystal clear that the educational policies of the government and the higher education authorities will undermine the sovereignty of the educational process. In the past, Indian corporates have been allowed to set up shops, granting them National Eminence status after which no further development has been reported in the public domain. Indian higher education sector is reeling in the aftermath of the New Education Policy and the overzealous pursuit of online education during Covid. All studies have revealed a sharp increase in the dropout rates in colleges and universities. Access, to higher education is under a grave threat for students who are at the receiving end of economic and social inequalities. The proposed move is not going to enable the country to address the current challenges that face higher education.
The Polit Bureau strongly urges that the UGC and the government rescind this draft proposal and initiate consultations with organizations of teachers, students and all those who are vitally concerned in the future of higher education. The UGC is also not statutorily entitled to unilaterally initiate moves without consulting the state governments. The Polit Bureau appeals to all democratic and patriotic forces to act to make the UGC and the government to stop this unilateralism forthwith.