A National Conventions organised by a composite platform of 25 unions in the Education Sector called for an alternative policy to restore public trust, equity and universal access in education. The Convention, organised by the Joint Forum for Movement on Education (JFME), according to a statement, 'served to bring home the acute crisis facing education in India, brought about by recurrent official neglect, rampant commercialisation, coercive centralisation of authority and communalisation prevalent in Education Policy and Governance'.
Teachers and students from states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Jharkhand, Punjab, Assam and Meghalaya participated in the Convention and shared their experiences.
Former Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University and Rajya Sabha member Prof Bhalchandra Mungekar delivered the Keynote Address in which he slammed successive governments for neglecting the role and potential of Education in nation-building.
He argued that the deplorable state of Indian Education is the result of continuous reduction in budgetary allocations, commodification and encouragement to market forces in policy, and corporatisation of governance.
Prof Mungekar also pointed out the deeply worrying fact that 37% teaching posts across Public-funded colleges and universities in India remain vacant. Deteriorating pupil-teacher ratio in classrooms and contractualisation of teaching jobs has led to a sharp decline in the quality of Education. On the other hand, coercive interference of the State in matters of appointments and diktats related to curricula and mode of teaching-learning has resulted in the absence of creativity and intellectual autonomy.
Prof Mungekar expressed regret at the fact that the appointment of Vice-Chancellors across central and state universities is done without a modicum of transparency.
The Convention was addressed by Nilotpal Basu (former Rajya Sabha member and leader of the CPIM), D Raja (former Rajya Sabha member and leader of CPI) and Rajeev Gowda ( former Rajya Sabha member and leader of INC). Kavita Krishnan of CPI-ML, Sudhakar Reddy of CPI, Pratap Samal of SUCI-Communist and Mrigank from CPI (ML) New Democracy also addressed the Convention and extended solidarity to the Movement.
The organisations participated in the convention included DUTA, AISA, AISF, AIDSO, NSUI, SFI, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan, All India Minority Students Association, All India Backward Students Association and Ambedkar Group of Students.
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