The All India Students’ Association is organising a national convention on higher education on December 8 and 9. The convention — leading up to the World Trade Organisation meeting in Nairobi, Kenya — will address the fund cuts in public education and the government’s offer to the WTO — General Agreement on Trade in Services (or GATS) in higher education.
Students at Aligarh Muslim University held a march on the same issue on Saturday. AISA and some of the largest student, teacher and non-teaching organisations in the country will hold a “resistance camp” from December 7 to 14.
“We extend this call to all the students and citizens of this country to join us in our struggle against the (a) regime of fund-cut in research fellowship and budgetary allocation to higher education in India, (b) plan to submit higher education as tradable commodity in the Nairobi summit of WTO scheduled from mid December 2015. We feel that these decisions, which reflect government’s apathy are detrimental to our dreams of making quality and affordable education accessible to all students in the country. We shall assemble at UGC at 11 am in thousands of numbers from where we shall march to Jantar Mantar. We will hold a National Convention at Jantar Mantar from 12 noon to 6 pm,” says a statement from AISA national president, Sucheta De.
The student movement that started with the scrapping of non-NET fellowship — Occupy UGC (University Grants Commission) — will continue too and on December 9, students will march from UGC to Parliament. Students and representatives from over 50 universities and over a 100 colleges are expected to attend.
“In the last one month the AISA activists and volunteers of the movement have collected lakhs of signatures of Students and Citizens against WTO agreement which shall be brought to Delhi by them,” says De.
“Our struggle is against those who see services like education and health as purely private profit making activities. Our government is representing their interest today rather than fighting for the rights of the youth of the country who wants to get access to quality and affordable education and contribute in social welfare. So we are forced to fight this decision with all our strength for as long as required. We need everybody’s support in this struggle,” says the statement.