Last nail in the Coffin of Inclusive, Merit-based, and Federal Structure of Education!
Move towards Full-fledged Corporatisation and Saffronisation of Education!
The process of commercialisation of education initiated by the first BJP government with the Ambani-Birla Report on Education drafted under World Bank diktats by the turn of the 21st century has now run its full course and is now towards its eventual culmination with the latest decision by the Modi government to wind up the UGC altogether and place higher education directly under corporate-saffron diktats. The Ambani-Birla Report prepared in 2001 as directed by the Vajpayee government was aimed at government withdrawal from funding of higher education, treat higher education as a commodity rather than a “merit good’ and restrict common people’s access to higher education and privatise it in the guise of imposing autonomous status to universities and colleges. The Congress-led UPA that came to power in 2004 had subtly carried forward the recommendations of the Ambani-Birla Report. Now Modi government, which has been entrusted with the task of corporatisation of education to its farthest limits is also bent on further integrating with it saffron monitoring and Hindutva ideals.
Hence, akin to the demolition of the Planning Commission and such other public institutions, the University Grants Commission is also going to be dismantled and replaced by a Higher Education Commission under corporate-saffron control. The Higher Education Commission of India Act, 2018 is scheduled to be piloted in the upcoming monsoon session of the parliament for being passed before the end of Modi-regime. Terms such as "less government and more governance, separation of grant functions, end of inspection raj, focus on academic quality, powers to enforce compliance to the academic quality standards and to order closure of sub-standard and bogus institutions” and such other highlights in the Draft are only euphemism for public consumption and for ingeniously camouflaging the all-embracing saffron-corporatisation that is in store.
In the name of bringing higher education under corporate-funding and direct supervision and control by its “stakeholders” the proposed Higher Education Commission is envisaged to be appropriately packed with corporate-saffron leaders, government nominees and such other bureaucrats toeing the corporate-saffron fascistic agenda. If materialized, this initiative on the part of Modi regime will be the last nail in the coffin of so called federal, merit-based and inclusive education prevailing in India today.