In today’s violent political climate where we are witnessing concentrated attacks on the people forced to occupy the periphery of the society, the brutality played out in Dadri; the burning alive of Dalit children in U.P; killing of women by branding them as witches in Jharkhand; forcing a dalit school going child to clean faeces’ in Tamil Nadu, it has become imperative for all progressive forces to come together and build a strong resistance against these fascist, communal, and brahmanical forces.
The most recent instance of attack on our right to education has been the UGC’s move to delimit the non-NET fellowships using the hollow logic of merit and economic criteria in order to retain an exclusionary education system which is heavily barricaded in terms of caste, gender and class. In protest against such high handed diktats of the state machinery the students from across the country have rallied in opposing this under the united banner of #Occupy UGC. This UGC order must be understood as being part of the larger scheme of the right-wing government’s project of indulging in rolling back public funding in education (also other sectors like health, employment etc) and establish it as a tradable commodity in the upcoming WTO-GATTS summit.
By attempting to convert education into a tradable commodity, education will now carry a price tag which effectively will mean that a certain kind of academic gate-keeping using the codes of Manu that already exists will be further entrenched and institutionalized. This fascist agenda is reinforced through another set of processes which is again channelized by the state machinery when we are forced to suffer baseless changes in school syllabi, recruitment of fascist and brahmanical elements in educational, research and cultural institutions who will decide things at the policy level, myths propagated as historical facts. All this has a disastrous effect on the entire pedagogy of education in India. The knowledge that will be produced, taught and learnt will systemically be prejudiced, irrational and would always valourize a sanitized knowledge system which has been built over the years over the crushed voices of dalits, adivasis, women, OBCs and minorities. This knowledge system which from its very inception has repression encoded within itself is touted to be the “make in India” knowledge of ‘India’.
It is against this undemocratic and rationality defying educational pattern that we must build our resistance. There must be common school system in the country why ensure equal and scientific education from KG to PG irrespective of class, caste or gender. The state has to be forced to ensure 10% of budgetary allocation for the educational sector. To further democratize the Academy it is also necessary to ensure vibrant campus democracy. More specifically the #OccupyUGC movement is demanding for the non-Net fellowship to be restored with any merit, economic or any other criteria; it must be expanded to cover not only central university researchers but also state university students; the fellowship must also be increased in accordance to the increasing price rise. The attack on education extends up to the upcoming WTO summit which will take place in Nairobi in which India is planning to convert education into a tradable commodity. By making education into a commodity the central government wishes to completely privatize education and sell it. Education which is a right will be made into a privilege that only a few can access. It is with this vision that the AISF as part of the #OccupyUGC movement has given a massive call to Parliament on the 9th of December 2015.
AISF appeals to the student community to rally behind this call of the #OccupyUGC movement and join in with the Parliament March from the UGC headquarters to Parliament on 9 march to the commerce ministry in protest against the WTO-GATTS summit on 8th December. On the 7th December join in for a day long sit-in at Jantar Mantar in solidarity with the AIFRTE.
- # Occupy UGC Long Live!!
- Educate, Agitate and Organize!!!
- One Education for All!!!
- No Fund Cuts!!!