Part of the international student protests? On 5th of October, students enrolled in Adarsh College of Education held a militant protest outside the college. They were protesting against the college authorities for forcing students to pay 40,600 Rs for the course offered. Read article by KYS (Revolutionary Youth Organisation).
Student Protests against Fee Hike in Haryana
KRANTIKARI YUVA SANGATHAN (KYS)
Haryana State Unit of All India Revolutionary Youth Organisation (AIRYO)
Munshi Premchand Library, Dharodi, District-Jind, Haryana
Email: [email protected], Ph. : 7876103701
On October 5, students enrolled in Adarsh College of Education, Shadipur (Julana), held a militant protest outside the college along with their parents and youth activists of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS). They were protesting against the college authorities for forcing students to pay Rs. 40,600 for the B.Ed course offered. This amount exceeded what the college had earlier advertised as the fee for the B.Ed course. The youth were also protesting the manhandling of students who tried to meet the college administration earlier and get an appraisal on the situation. The protest successfully drew working class youth from different districts in Haryana.
The protesters argued that as an ‘educational’ institute, it was expected that the college run on the basis of no-profit-no loss/minimal profit. They emphasised that even if the concerned college was a private institution it could not ignore the fact that education is a sector which is based on the notion of service to the society. When mobilising the affected students for the protest, KYS highlighted the fact that the declared fee for the course was already a very large amount and so the extra fees charged was completely unjustified. The fee structure was especially unwarranted considering the fact that most students enrolled were children of agrarian labourers and small peasants.
Indeed, this is no isolated incident, but one which is symptomatic of rampant privatisation of education in Haryana. It is a fact that the government has not been spending adequately on education and health. It is not, for example, creating more of its own institutes for B.Ed/JBT education. Rather than increasing the number of its own educational institutions the government has increasingly allowed private capital to enter the education field. It has been consistently doing this by giving recognition to private institutions that actually refuse to perceive education as a social service. Such private education institutes are well known for their profit-hungry mentality. In the interest of cutting costs to the minimum, these private institutes have no qualms functioning from small, cramped buildings, and in providing minimum teaching facilities. They are simply interested in manufacturing degrees, and are hence, characterised by the lack of teachers, regular lectures and classrooms/other infrastructure.
It is a shocking fact that in Haryana out of the total 459 B.Ed institutes only 19 are institutes funded and run by the Haryana government. Similarly, out of the 20,117 JBT institutes in Haryana only 2620 are government run institutes. Expectedly, in such a situation where government run educational institutions are scarce, the competition is very high and only those with good public schooling make it to the government colleges. On the other hand, students who have studied in badly run government schools due to their working class background are unable to make it to the few government run colleges. As a result, they are forced to enroll in expensive private colleges to pursue higher education. Clearly then, the nexus between the interests of private capital (in the education sector) and the government is a cause of much suffering to lakhs of students and their families.
Unfortunately, while the students were holding their peaceful protest outside the private B.Ed institute, the hired goons of the institution attacked the protest. Some of the protesters were struck by bricks and lathis. Many were bruised in the assault and four were seriously injured. Angered by the administration’s bullying tactics, the protesters decided to approach the District Commissioner. After being apprised of the situation and given a copy of the memorandum, the District Commissioner assured the youth of a positive intervention on his behalf.
Considering how the rampant privatisation of education in Haryana, KYS has decided to intensify its struggle on the issue and mobilise working class youth against the Haryana government’s measures to privatise education. It has been decided to launch a state-wide struggle so as to block the government’s openly capitalist education policy. Indeed, despite the fact that some of the protesting students were returned their money by the college principal on October 9, there remains a strong desire in them to take on the government on the issue of privatisation and commercialisation of education. This is best reflected in the fact that many of the affected youth refused to toe the line of the local panchayat (dominated by wealthy landed elements) which was suggesting a more amicable settlement of the issue. It is also reflected in their decision to march to Kurukshetra University (to which many of these private institutes are affiliated) so as to expose the nexus between the University and the education mafia.